Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Steelers

P Sam Koch, K Justin Tucker


Kickoff: 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

TV: WJZ Channel 13 (Baltimore), WUSA Channel 9 (Washington), CBS crew Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst), Evan Washburn (sideline)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM) and 98 Rock (97.9 FM), Ravens crew Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Femi Ayanbadejo (analyst)


The Steelers lead the all-time regular-season series, 28-23, and are looking for their second straight season sweep. In Week 13, Pittsburgh scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to edge the Ravens, 20-19, at Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Diontae Johnson, who had eight catches for 105 yards. Lamar Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins with 12 seconds to play, but the Ravens' attempt for a game-winning two-point conversation failed when Jackson's pass went off the fingertips of Mark Andrews and fell incomplete.


Both teams need a victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Ravens have made the playoffs the past three seasons and are trying to avoid their first losing season since 2015. Pittsburgh has never had a losing season under Head Coach Mike Tomlin, but the Steelers are in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Key Storylines

Can theRavenssomehow make the playoffs after a chaotic season?

A five-game losing streak has left the Ravens with a 3% chance of making the playoffs according to ESPN's Football Power Index. Perhaps that is fitting, because it seems the odds have been stacked against Baltimore all year. The Ravens have shown admirable resolve, fighting through devastating injuries that started in training camp and have continued throughout the season. The NFL's first 17-game campaign has given the Ravens a chance for one more victory, while watching the scoreboard hoping that other outcomes work in their favor.

How will Big Ben's swan song play out?

Roethlisberger is expected to retire, making this his last game if the Steelers don't reach the playoffs. It's fitting that the opponent is the Ravens, a team that has faced Roethlisberger more than any quarterback in an intense rivalry unlike no other. Roethlisberger is headed to the Hall of Fame, and part of his greatness is his ability to deliver in dramatic moments. With both teams clinging to playoff hopes and old nemesis Terrell Suggs in the building, Roethlisberger would relish a win in this setting, while the Ravens will try to deny him.

Can T.J. Watt set the single-season sack record?

Watt had 3.5 sacks against the Ravens earlier this season and had four sacks Monday night against the Browns. That's a full season's worth of sacks for many players, but Watt is no ordinary player with 21.5 sacks, just one short of Michael Strahan's all-time record for most in a season. It's a difficult record to break and knowing he's this close, watching the Ravens block Watt will be part of the game within the game.

Matchups to Watch

Ravens RT Patrick Mekari vs. SteelersOLBT.J. Watt

Von Miller of the Rams recently called Mekari one of the best tackles in the league, and after recently signing a contract extension, he will face the ultimate assignment in Watt. Expect the Ravens to double-team Watt often, but he is great at adjusting to whatever offensive lines throw at him. In key moments, the Ravens must do a better job against Watt than they did earlier this season.

Ravens CB Jimmy Smith vs. Steelers WR Diontae Johnson

The 33-year-old Smith has no desire to play for another team and could be wrapping up his career after 11 seasons in Baltimore. Smith proved he still has more left in the tank last week, playing every defensive snap against the Rams and making plays as a pass defender and run-stopper. Johnson just came off the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, but and he's Pittsburgh's main weapon in the passing game with 100 catches. Johnson is one of the league's rising stars, but Smith is a savvy and physical corner who never backs down from a challenge.

Ravens ILB Patrick Queen vs. Steelers RB Najee Harris

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin gave Queen high praise this week, saying he might be the best linebacker in the AFC North. Queen will be keying on Harris, who's coming off a career-best 188-yard performance against the Cleveland Browns. Queen's tackling has improved since early in the season, but that will be put to the test against the physical Harris, who gains most of his yards after contact.

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