Steelers look to stay hot as Ravens visit with Jackson hurt
BALTIMORE (8-4) at PITTSBURGH (5-7)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, CBS
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Steelers by 3
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Ravens: 5-7; Steelers 6-5-1.
SERIES RECORD: Steelers lead 32-24.
LAST MEETING: Steelers beat Ravens 16-13 in OT on Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore.
LAST WEEK: Ravens beat Broncos 10-9; Steelers beat Falcons 19-16.
RAVENS OFFENSE: OVERALL (14), RUSH (3), PASS (26), SCORING (12)
RAVENS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (2), PASS (25), SCORING (9)
STEELERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (16), PASS (24), SCORING (28)
STEELERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (24), RUSH (7), PASS (28), SCORING (19)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Ravens plus-6; Steelers plus-3.
RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Roquan Smith. Since acquiring him in a trade from Chicago, Baltimore has held three of its past four opponents to 13 points or fewer. Smith had 11 tackles last weekend against Denver, two for a loss.
STEELERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Najee Harris. The second-year back is starting to heat up behind an offensive line that is starting to gel. Harris is averaging a healthy 4.6 yards per carry over Pittsburgh’s past four games while running with a physicality designed to wear defenses down over time. The going figures to be tougher against the NFL’s second-ranked run defense.
KEY MATCHUP: Ravens offensive line against Pittsburgh’s defensive front seven. Steelers star LB T.J. Watt has been hampered by a rib issue since returning from a torn left pectoral that forced him to miss seven games. Baltimore could lean on the run even more heavily than usual with QB Lamar Jackson likely out with a knee injury. If the Steelers want to extend their winning streak to three the front seven will need to make Tyler Huntley put it in the air.
KEY INJURIES: Huntley is expected to make his fifth career start in Jackson’s place. Huntley went 1-3 as a starter last season when Jackson was unavailable. ... Baltimore T Ronnie Stanley (ankle) was able to practice this week after missing the past two games. … Ravens LB Patrick Queen was carted off last weekend, but his injury turned out to be just a bruised thigh and he was back at practice. ... Harris (oblique), DT Larry Ogunjobi (toe), RT Chukwuma Okorafor (shoulder) and OLB Malik Reed (back) missed at least one day of practice this week. Harris is expected to play.
SERIES NOTES: Pittsburgh has won four straight meetings, tied for the second-longest winning streak by either team in the series. ... With both offenses limited, expect another close game in a string of them. The Ravens and Steelers have had 16 games decided by three or fewer points since 2008, the most of any division rivals. That includes two Pittsburgh wins last season. ... This will be the 32nd meeting (including playoffs) between coaches John Harbaugh of the Ravens and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers. Only Curly Lambeau and George Halas (49) had more head-to-head matchups.
STATS AND STUFF: Rookie P Jordan Stout landed five punts inside the 20 last weekend for the Ravens. ... Baltimore has outrushed opponents by an average of 75.3 yards per game this season. ... Justin Tucker is one point and three field goals behind Matt Stover for the Ravens’ career lead in those categories. ... Baltimore DL Calais Campbell needs one sack to reach 100. ... The Ravens haven’t trailed by more than seven points at any point this season. Cleveland and Tampa Bay both led by a touchdown in games Baltimore ultimately won. ... The Ravens have scored in 331 consecutive games, which is the NFL’s longest active streak. They were last shut out by the Buccaneers, 25-0 on Sept. 15, 2002. ... The Steelers need to win four of their final five games to avoid their first losing season in Tomlin’s 16-year tenure. A loss would effectively end any legitimate shot Pittsburgh has of reaching the playoffs. ... The Steelers are averaging 157.8 yards rushing over their past five games, topping 100 yards each time. Pittsburgh hasn’t rushed for 100 yards against the Ravens since 2018. ... Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett has gone four straight games without throwing an interception after tossing eight in his first five appearances. ... Pickett is developing a solid rapport with second-year tight end Pat Freiermuth. Freiermuth’s 597 yards receiving lead the team. ... Watt has just 1/2 a sack in four games and none in his past two after returning from a torn left pectoral. Watt hasn’t gone three straight games without a sack since 2018.
FANTASY TIP: Justin Tucker is never a bad option at kicker, and his importance may increase in a game where touchdowns figure to be hard to come by. Tucker has made all 34 of his extra-point attempts and 50 of 52 field-goal attempts in 20 games against the Steelers.
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