Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers (12/11 @ 1:00 PM EST)
Spread: Steelers -2
Money Line: Ravens +115 / Steelers -135
Overview and Betting Info
The Baltimore Ravens (8-4) are heading to Pittsburgh on Sunday to renew their rivalry with the Steelers (5-7). The Steelers lead the overall series 32-34 and have won the last four contests. The Ravens are currently tied with the Bengals to lead the AFC North, making this a critical game.
The Ravens are 4-7-1 against the spread on the year, including going 4-2 on the road. They have gone over the total four times this season.
The Steelers are 6-5-1 against the spread and have covered three of their last four. They have gone over the total five times, three of which came in their last five games.
The Ravens have won five of their last six games, averaging 360.2 yards and 23.8 points per game. They have done well, but the Ravens will be without Lamar on Sunday. Tyler Huntley will start against the Steelers, a team that held him to 141 yards and 2 interceptions last season. While his arm is a work in progress, he’s a talented rusher who has gone for over 40 yards in all six of his career starts. Huntley will rely on a group of receivers that have struggled to make big plays all season. Tight end Mark Andrews leads the teams with 654 yards and five touchdowns, but he has not eclipsed 63 yards or scored a touchdown since October 16th. The Ravens have a pair of deep threats with Demarcus Robinson and Desean Jackson but expect Huntley to focus more on Devin Duvernay. The possession receiver has been a popular target on shorter routes, averaging just 6.4 yards per catch over his last five games. With an inexperienced quarterback under center, we see Andrews and Duvernay dominating the receptions on Sunday.
Lamar Jackson’s absence will also be felt in the running game, as he leads the team with 764 yards and three touchdowns. Huntley is an effective runner, but the Ravens may also get JK Dobbins back on Sunday. Dobbins was considered the future of the Baltimore backfield, but he has played just four games this season. While he missed again last week, there is hope he’ll be ready to return on Sunday for this crucial game. If he can, expect him to mix in with Kenyan Drake (421 yards, 3 TDs) and Gus Edwards (195 yards, 3 TD).
The Raven’s defense is allowing 350.3 yards and 19.7 points per game. They’ve been fantastic recently, allowing just 14.7 points over their last five games. Their success is primarily due to their stout run defense, which is second in the NFL by allowing 82.5 yards per game. They are led by the talented trio of Justin Houston, Calais Campbell, and Patrick Queen. Houston leads the team with 9 sacks, followed by Campbell with 5.5. Queen has been a playmaker all over the field, with four sacks to go along with a team-high 85 tackles and eight tackles for loss. The Baltimore secondary is also stacked with talent, led by Marcus Williams (3 INT) and Marlon Humphrey (3 INT).
The Steelers are in last place in the AFC North but have won three of their previous four games. They have an offense that averages 333.6 yards and 17.8 points per game, making them one of the worst in the NFL. They are led by rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett who has 1,797 yards to go along with four touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine games. While he hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five games, he’s only managed two touchdowns during that time. This may result from an offensive line that has improved, allowing five sacks in their last three games. The rookie quarterback is supported by tight end Pat Freiermith, who leads the team with 597 yards and one touchdown. The Steelers also have a pair of talented receivers in Diontae Johnson (565 yards, 0 TD) and George Pickens (512 yards, 2 TD) that we expect to see heavily involved on Sunday.
Najee Harris leads the Steelers with 671 yards and four touchdowns despite dealing with injuries. He is currently questionable with an oblique injury, but was able to play through it last week, so we expect him to be ready on Sunday. He’s helped by Kenny Pickett, who can be an effective rusher, and fellow running back Benny Snell Jr, averaging 4.8 yards per carry in his last (and only) two games. This unit will be up against an elite Baltimore run defense, so Harris’s health will be a significant factor.
The Steeler’s defense is allowing 374.4 yards and 23.1 points per game. A big reason for their success is their ability to generate turnovers, as they are second in the NFL with 14 interceptions and fourth with eight fumbles recovered. They are led by an incredible season from Alex Highsmith, who leads the team with ten sacks (5th in NFL), eight tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles (Leads NFL). His play has been needed as TJ Watt has been dealing with injuries and is failing to make the impact he did last season. The secondary is aggressive, thanks to the play of Minkah Fitzpatrick (4 INT, 8 PD) and Levi Wallace (3 INT, 11 PD). We expect this unit to have a big day against a Ravens team without Lamar Jackson.