Everything You Need to Know: Ravens vs. Steelers



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

TV: WJZ Channel 13 (Baltimore), WUSA Channel 9 (Washington, D. C.), CBS crew (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM/101.5 FM) and 98 Rock (97.9 FM), Ravens crew (Gerry Sandusky, Dennis Pitta); Sports USA, Josh Appel, Brandon Noble; WDCN La Nueva 87.7 on the Ravens app: (David Andrade, Gustavo Salazar, Ximena Lugo Latorre)


This rivalry game takes on added importance with first place on the line in the AFC North. The Ravens have won back-to-back division titles, but Pittsburgh has emerged as the biggest threat. A victory would put the Ravens back in control of their destiny in the divisional race. A Steelers win would keep them undefeated and make them the team to beat in the division.


Pittsburgh leads the all-time series, 25-23, including a 3-1 edge in the playoffs. However, Baltimore has won the three of the last four, including a two-game sweep last season. In Week 5 of last year, the Ravens won a 26-23 overtime decision in Pittsburgh that launched them on a 12-game winning streak. Marlon Humphrey forced a fumble by Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and made the recovery to set up Justin Tucker's game-winning field goal. In Week 17, with the Ravens having already clinched a No. 1 seed, Baltimore rested many of its starters but still prevailed over Pittsburgh, 28-10. Gus Edwards rushed for 130 yards on 21 carries as the Ravens set the single-season team record for most rushing yards (3,296).

Storylines to Watch

Which top defense will make the most plays?

The Ravens have given up the fewest points in the league, while the Steelers have given up the fewest yards per game and lead the NFL in sacks. Both defenses are adept at making game-changing plays, like Humphrey's forced fumble against Smith-Schuster last year. If this game is decided during the final few minutes, don't be surprised if a defensive play makes the difference.

What will Baltimore's offense look like after the bye?

The Ravens had a chance to do some self-scouting during the bye, and it would not be surprising to see some new wrinkles against the Steelers. Lamar Jackson did some extra throwing with receivers during the break and Baltimore's offense hopes to become more consistent and explosive. If the Ravens' offense looks good against the Steelers, that would be an excellent sign for Baltimore moving forward.

What impact will Yannick Ngakoue have in his Ravens debut?

The trade that brought Ngakoue to Baltimore adds another talented chess piece for Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale to deploy. Ngakoue is an elite pass rusher and he's had success against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Ngakoue's first game in Baltimore comes in a big spot, and the Ravens hope he delivers a few big plays.

Key Matchups

Ravens offensive line vs. Steelers defensive front

The Steelers have a wrecking crew up front lead by T.J. Watt, who has 5.5 sacks. In his only career start against the Steelers last year, Jackson was sacked a career-high five times. If Pittsburgh gets that kind of pressure on Jackson again, it will be hard for Baltimore to move the ball consistently. This might be the biggest test for the Ravens' offensive line all season, led by All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, playing his first game since signing his contract extension Friday.

Ravens secondary vs. Steelers wide receivers

Roethlisberger will throw to any of his wide receivers at any time, spreading targets among Smith-Schuster (32 catches), Diontae Johnson (24), Chase Claypool (18) and James Washington (17). Ravens Pro Bowl corners Humphrey and Marcus Peters are special talents, but they'll be under more pressure if veteran Jimmy Smith (Achilles) doesn't play or isn't 100 percent. Pittsburgh's receivers will make some plays, but Baltimore will need to limit their big plays.

Ravens pass rush vs. Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh's quarterback has been sacked just eight times. He gets rid of the football quickly, he gets solid protection and he can still throw well under duress due to his size and strength. But Roethlisberger will also take chances and he threw three interceptions against the Tennessee Titans last week. Even if the Ravens don't sack Roethlisberger often, they'll try to pressure him into mistakes with their blitz packages and a pass rush led by Matthew Judon, Calais Campbell, and now Ngakoue.

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