The Ravens will try to ride the advantage in the run game and keep the special teams Their slim playoff hopes Survive in his regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s who got the lead at each stage:
Ravens Passing Game Vs Steelers Pass Defense
Lamar Jackson sidelined for fourth straight game with ankle injury, Tyler Huntley will start the fourth season, Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards and completed an interception in the team’s 20–19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He was disappointed by the offense’s inability to finish the drive in the end zone, especially in the fourth quarter. The Ravens have relied on short, fast throws with Huntley and Josh Johnson at quarterback. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Huntley averages 7.5 air yards per effort, compared to 9.6 for Jackson. Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews (99 catches for 138 goals, 1,276 yards, 9 touchdowns) set a new single-season receiving yard record against the Rams and set the Ravens’ single-season mark for reception with five catches against the Steelers Did. He averages 103 yards in the last five matches. Marquis Brown (88 catches on 138 goals, 981 yards) may reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his three-year career, but has served as a low target with Huntley at quarterback. Rookie Rashod Bateman caught seven passes for 10 goals against the Rams and finished first in 28 of his 44 receptions this season.
The Ravens’ offensive line struggled to protect Huntley from the Rams’ talented defensive front and would face another tough test with the arrival of the league’s best pass rusher, TJ Watt, into town. Watt (21 sacks, 36 quarterback hits in 14 games) was the best player on the field in Pittsburgh’s 20-19 win over the Ravens last month and could break Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record of 22 . Cameron Hayward (9 sacks, 16 quarterback hits) presents almost as big a problem on the interior as Watts does from the sidelines. If the Ravens allow seven sacks as they did in Week 13, they will have to work hard to win. The Steelers are 12th in pass defense and weak in the secondary, where players like cornerback Cameron Sutton and safety Minka Fitzpatrick have not played up to their 2020 standards.
Steelers Passing Game Vs Ravens Pass Defense
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could end his 18-year career on Sunday. He now relies on getting rid of the ball quickly (a league-best average time of 2.37 seconds) rather than advancing plays and is 29th in yards per attempt. But he still had enough in the tank (21 of 31, 236 yards, 2 touchdowns) to rally the Steelers to the Ravens in Week 13. His top goal, wide receiver Deontay Johnson, led Pittsburgh with 105 yards and two touchdowns in that victory. And will play after a short stint in the reserve/covid-19 list. Roethlisbergers often hit hard, leaving behind Pat Freiremuth (54 catches on 70 goals, 7 touchdowns) and Nazi Harris (70 catches on 90 goals, 444 yards) as down options. His main deep threat, Chase Claypool (15.2 yards per catch), struggled through a wildly inconsistent second season. The Steelers placed wide receiver James Washington on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.
The Ravens sacked Roethlisberger just once and forced no turnover in the Week 13 matchup. They hope to build on their performance against the Rams, with safety Chuck Clark picking up two passes and linebacker Tyce Bowser snatching Matthew Stafford into the red zone. Those turnovers, rare for most of the season, put them in trouble. The Ravens are 32nd in the pass defense and will face Roethlisberger with a battered secondary. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey last suffered a season-end injury while playing for the Steelers, and cornerback Anthony Everett’s situation is up in the air when he hurt his ribs in Week 16. Experienced Jimmy Smith started and played every defensive snap against the Rams after play. At least most of the season. Bowser leads the team with seven sacks, and the Ravens expect rookie Odafe Owe to join him for the regular season finale after the Rams missed a game with a leg injury.
Ravens Running Game Vs Steelers Run Defense
Devonta Freeman produced one of his best games of the season against the Rams, running 14 times for 76 yards and breaking a 32-yard run to kick-start a fourth-quarter scoring drive. Huntley (6 carries, 54 yards) also hurt the rams with his feet and has averaged 6.3 yards per carry in the season. Fullback Patrick Ricard and tight end Nick Boyle were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, possibly costing the Ravens two of their best interceptors for another week.
The Steelers have dropped to 31st in the run defence, and the Ravens were dissatisfied with the 107 ground yards they managed against them in Week 13. Many teams, from the Minnesota Vikings to the Tennessee Titans, have done better to take advantage of this weakness. With middle linebacker Devin Bush struggling and several internal veterans injured, the Steelers simply haven’t stuck to the traditional field of strength.
Steelers Running Game Vs Ravens Run Defense
Harbaugh called Harris “one of the great young backs in this league”. The rookie is coming off his best game (28 carries, 188 yards) as a pro on Monday night against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers rely on Harris as their only significant running threat, and his offensive line didn’t give him much room to work with for most of the season. The Ravens held him for 71 yards on 21 carries in Week 13, but he scored them on Pittsburgh’s go-ahead scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens still lead the league in the Rush Defense. Their best interior lineman, Calais Campbell, returned to a full charge against the Rams. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stated that Patrick Queen (10 tackles for a loss) may be the best inside linebacker in the AFC North, although Queen delivered a subpar, one-tack performance against the Rams.
Ravens Special Team vs Steelers Special Team
The Ravens rank first in the Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA. Justin Tucker has made 33 field-goal attempts out of 35 and is headed to his third straight Pro Bowl. Pro Bowl returner Devin DuVernay missed Week 16 with an ankle injury but played against the Rams. Punter Sam Koch (40.7-yard net average) is finishing another solid season.
The Steelers are ranked 19th in the special teams DVOA despite excellent work from kicker Chris Boswell, who made 33 of 37 field-goal attempts, including eight of nine for 50 yards or beyond. They attempted to address their struggles elsewhere after week 15 by bringing in a new punter, Corliss Weightman.
Ravens Intangibles vs Steelers Intangibles
Both the teams will go into the playoffs with slim hopes of reaching it. Many Steelers fans will find their way to M&T Bank Stadium to celebrate Roethlisberger’s final bow. Will this feeling last for the players? The Steelers have struggled to get the ball moving and stop for the most part of the year, but Tomlin still has over .500, and has won three in a row against the Ravens.
Meanwhile, Harbaugh has kept his team competitive in the face of a serious injury. The Ravens have lost five in a row, but four of those five – including their previous game against the Steelers – have come by a combined five points. They are tired of coming in less time and are desperate to finish this tough season at the highest level.
This isn’t your typical Ravens-Steelers heavyweight slugfest. Both teams are dragging themselves to the finish line after a difficult season. Ben Roethlisberger’s swan song will remain in the headlines, but the Ravens will take advantage of the run game and on special teams to pull out low-scoring street fights. Ravens 23, Steelers 17