Robert Griffin III is making first start in nearly three years against a formidable Pittsburgh Steelers' defense.
The veteran quarterback has even christened them with a new nickname.
“The goal is to go out and execute at a high level," he said. "It's a very, very, very good defense, great defense, not only statistically, but they're what you call a ‘That Dude Defense.’ They have that dude and that dude and that dude and that dude, so I know they're not going to come into ‘The Bank’ [M&T Bank Stadium] and lay down. They have everything to play for, and they have great players. So, really the focus is just on executing at a high level."
RG3 is making the start for Lamar Jackson, who is among several regular starters getting the day off. Baltimore has already clinched the top seed in the AFC North and has nothing at stake in this game.
The Steelers need to win and Tennessee to los to make the postseason.
Pittsburgh's strength is its defense, which is ranked fourth overall, allowing 304.1 yards per game. T.J. Watt is establishing himself as one of the top pass rushers in the league and leads the team with 14 sacks. Bud Dupree (10.5 sacks) and Cameron Haywood (eight sacks) also create matchup problems.
In the backend, the Steelers made a shrewd move by trading a No. 1 pick to the Dolphins for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who leads the team with five interceptions. He is the perfect compliment to cornerback Joe Haden (four interceptions).
Rookie linebacker Devin Bush has also been a game-wrecker.
Still, Griffin is confident he can execute the offense. Right guard Marshal Yanda is one of the players getting the day off, so the versatile James Hurst could step into that role.
The Ravens beat the Steelers 26-23 in overtime on Oct. 6. Pittsburgh held Baltimore to 277 yards and Jackson was sacked five times. Expect this rematch to be another physical affair.
"I'm going to have some young guys out there with me, and we're trying to go execute each play that 'G-Ro' [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] calls and just have fun with it." Griffin said. "So, it's going to be a physical game; it always is between the Ravens and the Steelers. That's kind of what we're focusing on. I'm not really focusing on this being a stepping-stone game or anything like that. It's not about that. It's about going out and trying to win a game.”