Steelers face tough task dethroning Ravens

Despite having Ben Roethlisberger back and a strong defense, the Steelers still face an uphill battle in dethroning the Ravens in the AFC North this year.

Video Transcript


MIKE FLORIO: "PFT on Yahoo Sports." Peter King, Mike Florio, big stories in the National Football League. And the Baltimore Ravens, Peter, picked up exactly where they left off last year in the regular season, not the playoffs, regular season. Another win. Now 13 in a row in the regular season. A trashing of the Cleveland Browns to atone for their last regular season loss, which was at home to Cleveland, week four of last year. The Steelers though, get the win on Monday night against the Giants. Can the Steelers rise up and challenge the Ravens this year in that division?

PETER KING: Well, Mike, I think, I still think Baltimore should be seen as the favorite, and probably the significant favorite in that division. Because, and look, this isn't because of what we saw in the game. It's the injuries that the Steelers have taken. Now they probably are going to have to do some major repair work on that offensive line. They played without DeCastro, and then obviously, you saw the injuries they suffered, and we'll see how serious they are going forward.

But I would look at the Steelers and basically say that at least in my opinion watching that game on Monday, what I saw was Bud Dupree taking over to me as the biggest damage causer on that defense. And look, I have total respect for TJ Watt, Cam Hayward, how do you not? But the guy who wrecked that game Monday night was Bud Dupree. Made three or four great plays either at the line or behind the line on Saquon Barkley in the run game. And then obviously, in the past game.

What's amazing about the play that he made, you know, to deflect the ball, to deflect Daniel Jones' arm so Cam Heyward could come up with the interception on that third quarter drive, Mike, at the time, that's a 6 point game and this is the 19th play of the drive. Just imagine you know, that a guy can be as fresh and seemingly shot out of a cannon the way Bud Dupree was on that play. So to me, I think Dupree right now just adds another element to a defense that's already dangerous. And so I think the Steelers are going to be a playoff team. But I do think that they're going to have some trouble keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright.

MIKE FLORIO: Bud Dupree going to make himself a lot of money if he keeps playing like he did last night. Franchise tag this year, $15.8 million, 20% raise or the open market next year, Peter, and you know, the Steelers may regret not getting a long-term deal with him done. Then again, maybe he wouldn't be as dominant if he wasn't chasing that long-term deal he has yet to get. Either way, the Steelers chasing the Ravens. And they are going to have their work cut out for them. They get together for the first time week seven in Baltimore. So they have some time to get ready.

But the Ravens were just incredible. Lamar Jackson, MVP form all over again. John Harbaugh told me after the game that they've seen growth from Lamar Jackson in the passing game, that he played about as well as he could have possibly played. I don't know where his ceiling is, but he's getting close to it. And the reality is, Peter, he's got 23 total career starts.

As he sees more, as he plays more, he's going to get better. So many of these great quarterbacks today in the NFL are early in their careers and they don't have that breadth of experience. And they haven't seen all these defenses and all these looks and they aren't as comfortable as they're going to be. They're only going to get better. And that's going to make it harder for the Steelers or anyone else to keep up with the Ravens.

PETER KING: I think the one thing about the Ravens that I really like right now, is that they have invested where they're strong. OK, so let's talk about the running game. The Ravens have one of the best running games in NFL history last year, and so what do they do? They take JK Dobbins in the second round. He makes that running game great for the long haul, Mike. They're not just concerned about this year. I like how Eric DeCosta of the Ravens is always having an eye on the future.

MIKE FLORIO: Yeah, I agree with you completely. And they are going to be a huge factor this year, as will the Steelers. Maybe three games this year between those two teams by the time it's all said and done. That's it for "PTF on Yahoo Sports." We'll see you next time. Have a great day.