Sunday night's game between the Steelers and the Ravens is one of the best rivalries in the NFL and has two of the best head coaches today. Mike Tomlin is fighting to continue his streak of never finishing a season below .500 and fighting to clinch a playoff berth with a new era of players.
John Harbaugh is trying to set his team up for a matchup with the Bengals to win the division. This is a playoff showdown slate, and there’s no concern about teams giving up earlier to prepare for the following week.
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Vegas Line: Ravens -2
Over Under: 35
IR: S Marcus Allen, CB William Jackson III, S Karl Joesph, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, DT Chris Wormley.
OUT: DB Tre Norwood.
QUESTIONABLE: OLB Myles Jack, DT Larry Ogunjobi
IR: WR Rashod Bateman, WR Devin Duvernay, WR Tylan Wallace, DB Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB Kyle Fuller, OT Ja’Waun James, DT Michael Pierce.
OUT: CB Marcus Peters, QB Lamar Jackson
QUESTIONABLE: TE Nick Boyle, DE Calais Campbell, S Geno Stone
Data to Know Provided by Sports Info Solutions
Steelers Pass Offense vs. Ravens
- Kenny Pickett got hurt on the eighth snap of the game the last time these teams played. Before leaving with an injury, he had run for 16 yards
- Pickett looks more comfortable each week as a starter, but the Ravens will throw plenty of different looks at him
- In their first matchup, the Ravens ran five different coverages at more than a 12% rate
- Marcus Peters is not playing in this matchup, leaving George Pickens or Diontae Johnson with Brandon Stephens, who was a free safety
- That is the matchup Pickett has to attack, and they will need to figure out how to get one of their players isolated with Stephens in coverage
- Pickens, Johnson and Pat Freiermuth are the three players that will see the majority of routes
- Najee Harris will dominate the running back routes, and Steven Sims will operate as their third wide receiver
- If the Ravens follow the same coverages they played last week, they will utilize a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3 coverage
- Johnson gets targeted most frequently against these coverages, while Pickens makes the most plays down the field
- The Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL at defending tight ends but one of the worst at defending wide receivers
Steelers Rush Offense vs. Ravens
- The Ravens allow less than four yards per carry and have only allowed seven running back rushing touchdowns
- Harris showed off his receiving ability last week. He had six receptions and has had five rushing touchdowns in the previous six games
- Harris has always been a volume-based player, and if the Steelers are winning, he will get the volume
- Without having the touchdown equity, it’s hard to imagine he finds himself as the multiplier spot
- Jaylen Warren will be the primary backup and will get targeted out of the backfield
Ravens Pass Offense vs. Steelers
- The Steelers played Cover 1 or Cover 3 at 87.5% of the time in the first matchup with the Ravens
- Tyler Huntley averages 5.9 yards per attempt, has thrown one touchdown and two interceptions
- Against Cover 1 or Cover 3, Huntley averages 4.9 yards per attempt, has been sacked five times and has eight rushing attempts
- Demarcus Robinson leads the team in targets per route with Huntley at quarterback at a 31.6% rate
- Mark Andrews only averages one yard per route against these coverages with Huntley at quarterback
- In Andrews’ career, he has one game with more than 10 fantasy points against the Steelers, and it took 15 targets
- Sammy Watkins tied for the most routes in the wide receiver room with DeSean Jackson and Robinson
- Josh Oliver ran the second most routes last week and more routes than starter Isaiah Likely
- This passing offense doesn’t have much to offer, but with the way the Steelers are going to defend, they will need one of the wide receivers to win deep to open up the running game
Ravens Rush Offense vs. Steelers
- The Ravens got the best of the Steelers' run defense in their first matchup running for 215 yards and averaging 5.1 yards per carry
- After playing the Ravens, the Steelers held their next two opponents to less than 60 yards rushing
- J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards will both see 15 or more carries in this matchup, and if the Steelers stop the run, they can put themselves in a spot to win this game.
- The Trenches Tool gives the Ravens an advantage in the run game but not significantly.
The passing attack is how Pittsburgh can move the ball, but it’ll be up to the offensive line to protect Pickett long enough so he can get the ball to his playmakers. Harris is a scary player to trust. The Ravens linebackers can limit him out of the backfield as a pass catcher, and without the touchdowns, he won’t be the multiplier. I think Pickens is more likely to see Stephens in this matchup because Stephens has the size to be physical with him, which is the matchup to win with the Steelers.
The Ravens’ offensive line’s ability to run block will dictate how efficient they are as an offense. The Steelers were bullied in their first matchup, but they responded in a big way against the Panthers and Raiders. If the Ravens force turnovers as they did in their first matchup, it will be a big game for the running backs as they wear down the Steelers' defensive line.
Overall, I believe this is a game the Steelers come out and win. I believe their wide receivers make enough plays for them to force Huntley into passing situations.
- WR Diontae Johnson
- WR George Pickens
- RB J.K. Dobbins
- QB Tyler Huntley
- QB Kenny Pickett
- WR Demarcus Robinson
- RB Gus Edwards
- K Justin Tucker
- K Chris Boswell
- WR DeSean Jackson
- WR Sammy Watkins
- TE Josh Oliver