Ravens-Steelers in prime time could be decided in trenches


Sunday, 8:20 p.M. EST, NBC.


AGAINST THE SPREAD: Steelers 8-6-1; Ravens 7-8.

SERIES RECORD: Steelers lead 32-25.

NFL STATS CENTRAL: The latest NFL scores, schedules, odds, stats and more.

LAST MEETING: Ravens beat Steelers 16-14 on Dec. 11, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

LAST WEEK: Steelers beat Raiders 13-10; Ravens beat Falcons 17-9.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Steelers plus-2; Ravens plus-8.

STEELERS PLAYER TO WATCH: Rookie QB Kenny Pickett missed most of the first meeting of the season between the longtime AFC North rivals after sustaining a concussion in the first quarter. Pickett returned last week against the Raiders, guiding the Steelers on a late 76-yard touchdown drive that allowed them to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Patrick Queen. The Ravens defense took off when they acquired Roquan Smith in a trade with Chicago, but Queen, their other standout inside linebacker, is having a fine season as well. He has already set career highs in tackles (106), sacks (five) and interceptions (two).

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KEY MATCHUP: Baltimore’s offensive line vs. Pittsburgh’s defensive front. The Steelers have been solid against the run this season, and with quarterback Lamar Jackson out the past few weeks, the running game has become even more important to the Ravens. If the Steelers can win the line of scrimmage, Baltimore’s offense won’t have many good options.

KEY INJURIES: Pittsburgh S Terrell Edmunds (hamstring) could return after sitting out against Las Vegas. … CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) returned to practice this week and could return from injured reserve. … Pittsburgh placed special teams ace Marcus Allen on IR with a biceps injury. … Jackson (knee) has missed the past three games for Baltimore, and with the Ravens already assured a playoff spot, there’s less reason to rush him back. … Baltimore DE Calais Campbell (knee) and CB Marcus Peters (calf) missed last weekend’s game.

SERIES NOTES: The Ravens ended a four-game losing streak to Pittsburgh three weeks ago thanks in large part to intercepting Steelers backup QB Mitch Trubisky three times, all in Baltimore territory. … Pittsburgh has won two straight in Baltimore, including a 16-13 overtime victory in Week 18 that helped the Steelers sneak into the playoffs last season. … Expect another tight game. Seven of the past eight meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer.

STATS AND STUFF: The Steelers need to win out and get some serious help to make the playoffs. A win by Miami earlier Sunday would eliminate Pittsburgh from contention. … Pittsburgh has won five of seven since a 2-6 start, but still needs to beat Baltimore and Cleveland in Week 18 to avoid the first losing season in coach Mike Tomlin’s 16 seasons. … Pittsburgh’s run defense has responded after getting gashed by the Ravens on Dec. 11. Pittsburgh gave up 215 yards on the ground in the loss even though Baltimore was without Lamar Jackson and backup QB Tyler Huntley left in the second half, forcing the Ravens to turn to undrafted rookie free agent Anthony Brown. The Steelers allowed just 21 yards rushing in a win over Carolina and limited the Raiders to 58 yards last week. … This will be the 33rd meeting (including playoffs) between Tomlin and Baltimore’s John Harbaugh. Only Curly Lambeau and George Halas (49) had more head-to-head matchups. … This is the 10th meeting between the Ravens and Steelers on Sunday Night since 2006, the most of any teams in the AFC … Pittsburgh is 30-27 on Sunday night, including 16-17 on the road. … Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, a Pro Bowler in 2021, is still looking for his first touchdown of the season but has been a bigger contributor of late. Johnson has 26 receptions for 304 yards over Pittsburgh’s past four games. … The Ravens trail Cincinnati by one game atop the AFC North. A victory by Baltimore this weekend would ensure the division comes down to the Ravens-Bengals matchup in the final week. … Baltimore has won seven of its past nine games. … The Ravens are 19-2 at home in prime time under Harbaugh. … Baltimore has had multiple sacks in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. … The Ravens are one of four teams in the NFL — along with the Rams, Vikings and 49ers — who haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. … Baltimore has outrushed its opponents in 14 consecutive games, the most since the 2015-16 Carolina Panthers did it in 15 straight. … The Ravens have scored 17 or fewer points in five of their past six games, and they’ve allowed 14 or fewer in six of their past seven.

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FANTASY TIP: If you’re still playing a meaningful fantasy game at this point in the season, congratulations! You probably didn’t reach this point by relying too much on the Baltimore or Pittsburgh offense, but the Ravens defense forced three turnovers in the previous meeting with the Steelers and has been opportunistic all season.

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