The Rivalry: Matchup of the day

The AFC North blog will take a look at a matchup each day leading up to Sunday night's game between the NFL's biggest rivals -- the Ravens and Steelers -- and get a take from Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.


WHO: Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Steelers LBs Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons

BREAKDOWN: Rice was once again a big part of the Ravens' offense after getting only eight carries in Jacksonville. He ran for 63 yards and scored a career-high three touchdowns in a comeback win over Arizona. Rice has been hot or cold against the Steelers. In the past five meetings, Rice has gained over 100 yards twice and has been held under 33 yards rushing three times. The Steelers are juggling their linebackers because of injuries. Foote is expected to replace James Farrior at inside linebacker again, and Timmons might move back to the inside if James Harrison or Jason Worilds can play. Pittsburgh ranks No. 8 in run defense, giving up 99.1 yards per game.

WILLIAMSON'S TAKE: "I guess this depends on where Timmons lines up -- either at inside linebacker or outside linebacker. Timmons is a great player with a ton of ability, but he hasn't played as well this year and is MUCH better at inside linebacker than on the outside. Tough to comment on this matchup overall since we really don't know who will be playing where. [Coach Mike] Tomlin also mentioned that they might have to play a lot of 4 DL sets (4-2-5) because of their linebacker injuries. That would make Troy Polamalu even more of a wild card and even closer to the line of scrimmage with more regularity."