HARRISON VS JAMES HURST
James Harrison has made a career of haunting the Baltimore Ravens and are things setting up for one last big performance from Harrison vs the Ravens?
While for the Steelers, Le’Veon Bell has been officially ruled out, a significant injury for Ravens is losing starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, still sidelined with a foot injury. Monroe like Bell has also been ruled out for Saturday night.
Undrafted rookie James Hurst will get the start at left tackle for the Ravens. Hurst has made 5 starts at left tackle and appeared in 386 snaps this season (total at both tackle positions), allowing 3 sacks, 6 QB hits and 7 QB hurries, per Pro Football Focus.
Harrison had 2 sacks and 4 QB hits in a week 9 matchup vs the Ravens as Monroe had a lot of trouble containing Harrison.
The Ravens will also start rookie John Urschel, who will make his fourth NFL start, playing right guard for the second consecutive game as Marshal Yanda has shifted over to right tackle.
POLAMALU TO START
Troy Polamalu has been a hot topic all week as to whether the Steelers would consider keeping Will Allen in the starting lineup over Polamalu who has been the last two games.
There is no chance of that and has been more of a media narrative than anything.
Polamalu has taken all of the first team reps and will start at strong safety. Steelers players and coaches have come to Polamalu’s defense, in regards to critics saying the Steelers defense is better without Polamalu. The truth is the secondary has improved because Cortez Allen and Ike Taylor have been off the field.
As for Taylor, he is available to dress this week and for the Steelers sake, it’s not likely Taylor will be given much of an opportunity to have another playoff meltdown. Taylor has been bumped to 4th on the depth chart at cornerback this week and it’s not certain the coaching staff will make him active.
WHAT ROLE WILL BEN TATE HAVE?
Josh Harris will start at running back and will get an opportunity to carry the load, with Will Johnson more involved in pass blocking situations.
Ben Tate’s role is expected to be limited but the Steelers have 8-10 snaps planned for him, which could increase based on circumstances, but his limited knowledge of the playbook could become problematic.