Key matchup: OLB Jason Worilds vs. LT Eugene Monroe

Patrick Smith

Assume Jarvis Jones (game-time decision) is unable to play, this is a huge game for Jason Worilds. He's going against an opponent against whom he has history, LT Eugene Monroe.

Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds won't have to look far to find motivation for this game.

Not only is it against a divisional rival - one he's been a part of since 2010 - but after the Steelers drafted Jarvis Jones in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he saw the starting position he had until Jones came along taken away, and he's not under contract for 2014.

Jones suffered a concussion against the Jets in Week 6, and is a game-time decision to play Sunday. Worilds may end up getting the start, but the two split snaps anyway. If Worilds does get the full compliment of reps, which will happen if Jones cannot play, he's got a chance to show his worth.

Not just to the Steelers and the Ravens, but to the entire NFL.

Worilds' long-term future is Pittsburgh is unclear, but barring a disaster, he'll play somewhere in the NFL next season. He has a chance today to increase the projected amount of money he'll earn with that next contract.

Similarly, though, Baltimore left tackle Eugene Monroe is facing the same issue. Baltimore traded with Jacksonville for Monroe's services the remainder of this season. He's a free agent in 2014, and he fits a big need for the Ravens. The size of that contract, though, will depend on how he does the remainder of this season - one in which the Ravens are struggling to run the football.

Monroe and Worilds have a history. They grew up roughly 30 miles from each other in New Jersey - Monroe in Patterson and Worilds in Caderet. They faced each other for two years in college, Monroe at Virginia and Worilds at Virginia Tech. Worilds, as a defensive end, notched two tackles-for-loss and a sack against Monroe's Cavaliers in 2008. Monroe would go on to be the eighth overall pick by Jacksonville in the 2009 NFL Draft, while Worilds was selected in the second round by Pittsburgh in 2010.

Interesting, but meaningless as the two head into this game. What's fairly certain is Baltimore's advantage in rushing off the edge against Pittsburgh's tackles. If Worilds, along with left OLB LaMarr Woodley, can apply equal pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco, the Steelers may be able to stifle Baltimore's passing game.

And Worilds may be able to tack on a few bucks to his next contract.

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