The Pittsburgh Steelers are clinging to postseason hopes. The Baltimore Ravens are already in. Neither of those things will matter because this is still the best rivalry in pro football. Here’s everything you need to know as the Black and Gold head to Baltimore!
What: Pittsburgh Steelers 7-8 at Baltimore Ravens 10-5
Where: M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, Maryland
When: 8pm January 1st, 2023
Weather: Partly cloudy and 50 degrees at kickoff
Wagering Information: Steelers +2.5 O/U 35
Last Week: The Ravens defeated the Atlanta Falcons 17-9 in Baltimore while the Steelers pulled out a last-minute win at home over the Raiders by the score of 13-10.
TV: NBC Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analysis), Melissa Stark (sideline)
TV Coverage in Your Area: This is a National Broadcast. Enjoy!
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Craig Wolfley (analysis), Missi Matthews (sideline),
Max Starks (sideline)
Westwood One Radio: Ryan Radtke (play-by-play), Mike Golic (analysis)
Head Official: Land Clark. He’s a Building Official in his private life. He’s in his third year as a head official. The Steelers saw Clark in their week two loss to New England. There were ten accepted penalties in that game.
Key Injuries/Game Status (courtesy steelers.com) PIT: DB Tre Norwood (Hamstring) – Out, LB Myles Jack (Groin/Not Injury Related – Personal) – Questionable, DL Larry Ogunjobi (Toe/Not Injury Related – Personal) – Questionable BAL: DE Calais Campbell (Knee) – Questionable, TE Nick Boyle (Illness) – Questionable, S Geno Stone (Hamstring) – Questionable
QB Lamar Jackson (Knee) – Out, CB Marcus Peters (Calf) – Out
Injury Notes: Peters out at one corner could be significant. Marlon Humphrey covered George Pickens a lot in the first matchup and if that happens again then Diontae Johnson could have some big opportunities. The Baltimore O-Line, which dominated in the first game, gets Kevin Zeitler back to make it even stronger. If Ogunjobi can’t play then that’s a significant blow to the Steelers’ run defense.
2022 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 29th BAL 15th Passing Offense: PIT 24th BAL 28th Rushing Offense: PIT 18th BAL 2nd
Total Defense: PIT 13th BAL 3rd Passing Defense: PIT 23rd BAL 24th Rushing Defense: PIT 6th BAL 3rd
AFC North Rankings: Cincinnati 11-4, Baltimore 10-5, Pittsburgh 7-8, Cleveland 6-9,
This Week in the AFC North: Cleveland at Washington 1pm Sunday, Buffalo at Cincinnati 8pm Monday
What You Need to Know: Mike Tomlin is 16-15 all-time against the Ravens…Pittsburgh has the second best record in the NFL in the month of December since the merger in 1970 winning almost 60% of their games… The Steelers went 4-0 versus the NFC South and 0-4 against the AFC East… Pittsburgh is 6-0 when they lead after one quarter and they’re 5-2 when ahead at the half… Conversely, they are 1-6 when trailing at the half… Sunday Night’s game will be the 10th time the two teams have played on “Sunday Night Football.” No other AFC matchup has met more often… The Steelers are 30-27 all-time on SNF and they’re 16-17 in SNF road games.
Baltimore Ravens Names to Know: QB Lamar Jackson, QB Tyler Huntley, RB J.K. Dobbins, RB Gus Edwards, TE Mark Andrews, CB Marlon Humphrey, LB Patrick Queen, LB Roquan Smith
What’s at Stake: Ever get tired of hearing the phrase “must-win game?” Well, this one is a MUST-WIN GAME for the Steelers who must win in order to keep their slim postseason hopes alive. The truth is that by the time this one kicks off the Steelers could already be eliminated. For the Ravens, it’s about positioning. They want to go into next week’s finale in Cincinnati with a chance to win the AFC North.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead 32-25. Series is tied in Baltimore 13-13
Postseason History: Steelers lead 3-1
Steelers Game Highs vs BAL: Passing 2017 Ben Roethlisberger 506 yards Rushing 2017 Le’Veon Bell 144 yards Receiving 2017 Antonio Brown 213 yards Sacks 2021 T.J. Watt 3.5 Interceptions 2002 Brent Alexander (most recent) 2
Last Meeting: October 2022 in Pittsburgh. Ravens 16 Steelers 14
Check out the latest Steel City Blitz Steelers Podcast for more on the Steelers.
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
1. Run vs Run. These two defenses have been good against the run. For Baltimore, that’s been most of the season. For the Steelers, it’s been better of late after some struggles earlier on. I tend to side with the unit that has been more consistent throughout the season. So advantage Baltimore. This is where things get dangerous for the Steelers. If Matt Canada abandons the run too soon then that puts way too much pressure on Kenny Pickett AND it allows the Ravens’ D to tee off on him. Canada has to be patient. Find some things that work with either Najee Harris and/or Jaylen Warren and stay with them. It isn’t always about how many yards you run for, it’s about how efficient you run it and that’s what Canada is aiming for.
2. Getting Your Kicks. So many times these games come down to the kickers and as we saw in the first matchup that rang true. While Justin Tucker had a couple of hiccups following that win, he almost never misses against the Steelers. He understand the rivalry as well as anyone and is typically locked in. Chris Boswell has battled injuries this season and his kicking has been lees than stellar. He missed two kicks last week and missed one from 40 yards in the 16-14 loss to Baltimore. Pressley Harvin III notoriously had a 17-yard punt which was immediately followed by J.K. Dobbins’ long run leading to the Ravens’ only TD that day. Bottom line? If the Steelers don’t tidy up their kicking issues then they’re in serious trouble.
3. Pickett Has to Shine. This is truly Kenny Pickett’s introduction to AFC North football. He did not play in road games at Cincinnati and Cleveland and played briefly before leaving with a concussion in the first matchup. Now he goes on the road. Baltimore is not an easy place to play and this rivalry always brings out more intensity than usual from the fans. Establishing a running game early will help his situation but regardless, he has to make good decisions and he has to trust his receivers. By this point, he knows what George Pickens can do and he has faith in both Pat Freiermuth and Diontae Johnson. He has to rely on that. Trusting his legs has never been a problem for Pickett, when to use them is always a question. He really needs to build on last week and play well in Baltimore.
Prediction: One big question I have is what is the feeling inside the Steelers’ locker room? Last week was emotional and draining. The offense was awful for the first 57 or so minutes and the kicking game has me feeling like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. The fact that this is the Ravens should provide all the motivation the team needs but will it be enough? I say “no.”
Ravens 19 Steelers 13
Season Record 9-6