With a battle in Baltimore only three days away, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still determining who to start at quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger practiced sparingly Thursday, indicating that he is still not entirely recovered from his sprained right shoulder and dislocated rib. Suffered in an overtime win against Kansas City, these injuries forced the two-time Super Bowl winner to watch from the sidelines as Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch took control of the offense for the past two weeks.
The Steelers struggle notably without Roethlisberger, especially when facing the Ravens. Since 2004, including playoffs, the Steelers are 9-4 against the Ravens, with Big Ben at the helm. Without him, however, they are an atrocious 0-6.
Confronted with these appalling numbers, Pittsburgh fans would most likely love to see Roethlisberger suited up and ready to throw on Sunday. Yet, Mike Tomlin will not allow his star quarterback to rush back into action. Big Ben played on a hurt ankle in San Francisco last season and barely made an impact in a weak 20-3 loss. He sat out the following week and never regained momentum, a lesson none of the Steelers want to repeat.
Roethlisberger distinguishes himself in the NFL due to his gritty attitude and physical toughness. But the strength of his arm must be called into question, especially against a formidable Baltimore defense that has allowed only four passes over 40 yards this season.
The matchup between these two teams is always a defensive brawl, and Baltimore will be ready to pass rush. Recording 12 sacks in their past three games, this defense will look to exploit a disarrayed offensive line. The Ravens do not know which Steelers quarterback will be under center at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, but expect them to be prepared.