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Connect four: Top player matchups for Week 4

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Associated Press


1. Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Ravens OT Michael Oher

These two franchises started playing against each other in 1950, when the Ravens were known as the Cleveland Browns. The two cities (Cleveland and Pittsburgh) are located just over 125 miles apart. I'm not sure some fans don't still see this rivalry in that old Browns-Steelers context. This is a battle between teams that love defense.

To beat Pittsburgh, you have to be able to pass effectively. In order to do that, you must block Harrison and his counterpart, LeMarr Woodley. Michael Oher is a second-year player, who earned all-rookie honors on the right side last season. He was moved to the left side entering the 2010 campaign. It will be his job to stop Harrison.

Oher, the subject of the wildly successful movie, The Blind Side, is an outstanding person on the field, but is just as exceptional between the lines. He is great at redirecting pass rushers, and his great strength and long arms give him an advantage as a blocker.

Over the past three years, Harrison has had six sacks against the Ravens at Heinz Field.

Harrison is a natural leverage player, who excels at getting under blocks. He is equally effective against the pass and run. He is a very good blitzer and knows how to hit the gaps, but he can also play well in space and make open-field tackles.

Bonus matchup: Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor. Boldin is the fastest to 600 catches in NFL history (98 games). He caught three touchdown passes last week, but it won't be easy this week against Taylor, who has the height and bulk to match up with him.


Oher-Harrison Vick-McNabb Turner-Willis Ryans-McFadden


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