Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Prediction, Preview, and Odds

The Pittsburgh Steelers, clinging to slim playoff hopes, travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in a classic AFC North matchup. The Steelers are 7-8 and are not only trying to earn a playoff spot but also trying to keep head coach Mike Tomlin’s streak alive without a losing season. Baltimore, meanwhile, is 10-5 on the season as they continue to make due without star quarterback Lamar Jackson. They are a game behind Cincinnati for the lead in the AFC North but have clinched a playoff berth with two weeks left. The opening kick is scheduled for 8:20pm EST.

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Tomlin is certainly not concerned about his own personal streak of not having a losing season but he would happily see the streak continue if it earns his team another playoff berth. Last week, with the city of Pittsburgh mourning the loss of Steeler legend Franco Harris, the Steelers found a way to come from behind and pull out a win over the Raiders in a 13-10 defensive struggle. Las Vegas led 10-3 at the half and the score held into the fourth quarter before the Steelers made their move. Quarterback Kenny Pickett went 26-of-39 in the game for 244 yards with an interception and a touchdown. The touchdown, a 14-yard strike to rookie receiver George Pickens with under a minute to go, gave the Steelers their first and only lead of the game. It was a fitting end to a night that included the retirement of Harris’ legendary #32.

“We dedicated this to Franco,” Pickett said. “Felt like he was with us tonight.”

Pittsburgh, which has endured numerous injuries including to both their running back and quarterback this season, is ranked just 29th in the NFL in scoring offense. They are 18th in rushing offense and just 24th in passing offense. The passing game has improved by nearly 25 yards per game over the last three games with the return of Pickett in particular and the continued development of rookie wideout Pickens. Defensively, the Steelers are ranked 13th in scoring defense this season. They are also sixth against the run, including allowing less than 100 yards per game over their last three games. The Steelers are 23rd in the NFL in pass defense, but have allowed just an average of 141 yards passing over their last three games.

Key Injuries: DB Tre Norwood (hamstring), the rest of the Steelers on the list participated fully by the end of the week.

Will he or won’t he?

The Baltimore Ravens come into Sunday night’s matchup still holding out hope that they can win the AFC North and earn themselves a home game in the playoffs. The road would be much easier if quarterback Lamar Jackson were available but that looks less and less likely. Jackson has yet to practice this week and his coach has been vague on his availability. Last week, without Jackson, the Ravens squeaked out a 17-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons and clinched a playoff spot. Tyler Huntley threw a touchdown pass and the Ravens’ defense forced Atlanta into three field goals to pick up the win. Interestingly, the Ravens earned their spot when the team they are chasing for the division lead, the Bengals, defeated New England.

“Are we?” Harbaugh asked before receiving confirmation. “Oh ok. It feels great. Yeah, great. Good. Congratulations to our guys. To clinch the playoffs with two games left is pretty remarkable. It’s not something that’s done too often.”

Baltimore is 15th in the NFL in scoring offense but has averaged just 12 points per game in their last three games. They are 2nd rushing the football but have fallen all the way to 28th in passing offense, including just 111 yards per game in the games that Jackson has missed. Defensively, Baltimore is ranked 3rd in the NFL in scoring defense including allowing just 12 points per game in their last three games. The Ravens are third against the run, although they have allowed over 111 yards per game in their last three games. Baltimore is also 24th against the pass this season.

Key Injuries: Jackson’s availability seems unlikely given that he’s missed practice all week. EN Calais Campbell looks to be out a well, missing practice all week.

Best bets for this game

Full game side bet

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Without Jackson, the Ravens are more one-dimensional than ever before and rely heavily on their ground attack. Unfortunately for Baltimore, they are facing a Steelers team that has become increasingly stingy against the run. Pittsburgh has allowed under 100 yards per game on the ground over the last three and will likely force Huntley to beat them through the air. When the Ravens throw, they look to TE Marc Andrews. The Steelers are ranked 10th in the NFL against the tight end in terms of production. For Pittsburgh, they will likely need to win this game through the air. In the last three games, the Steelers’ passing attack has been the most productive that they’ve been all season. Look for Pickett to exploit the Ravens’ secondary, particularly with his wideouts as the Ravens have struggled against quality wide receivers this season. Expect this game to be a smash-mouth affair between two teams that know each other perhaps better than any two teams in the NFL. Pittsburgh is better equipped to pull out this win.

Take Pittsburgh +2.5

Prediction: Pittsburgh +2.5

Full game total pick

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This will be a tightly contested game between two teams that are not allowing a ton of points lately. Pittsburgh has allowed just 14 points per game in their last three games. Baltimore, meanwhile, has allowed just 12 points per game in its last three games. The under has gone 6-2 in the last eight meetings in Baltimore between these two teams. The Ravens have hit the under in four straight games and Pittsburgh has gone 6-1 to the under in their last seven games following a straight-up win. This one will go down to the wire and it will be a low scoring affair.

Take the under, 35.5 points.

Prediction: Under 35.5

Written By
Mark Ruelle, “Mark Ruelle”

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.

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