Lamar Jackson has schooled the Ravens' AFC North rivals over his career with one exception: the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jackson has not had as much success against the Steelers as he has the Cincinnati Bengals or Cleveland Browns, two teams he's already beaten this season.
The Ravens have a chance to sweep their AFC North rivals on the road Sunday at Acrisure Stadium, and they'll need their offensive leader to turn around his fortunes against the black and gold to do so. Jackson admitted Wednesday that it is different playing against the Steelers.
"Out of the Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, this one is like, the atmosphere is different," Jackson said. "It's more intense, more aggressive."
As a starter against the Bengals and Browns, Jackson holds a combined 14-3 record. He's thrown 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, holds a career 96.9 quarterback rating against them, and has scored eight more touchdowns on the ground.
Against the Steelers, Jackson holds a 1-2 record. He's thrown four touchdowns to six interceptions, has a 67.4 quarterback rating, has averaged 43 rushing yards per game, and has yet to find the end zone with his legs.
Jackson has missed a bunch of Steelers games. He sat out a meaningless regular-season finale against them during his 2019 MVP season. He was forced out of the 2020 game in Pittsburgh when he was on the COVID-19 list. He was injured down the stretch the past two years, missing one Steelers game in 2021 and both last season.
"I've only played against them three times," Jackson said. "I don't think I've played my best against them yet, but we're going to see Sunday."
The Steelers defense enters Sunday's Week 5 game against the Ravens ranked 30th in the league – out of character for what's long been seen as one of the NFL's best defenses. They've given up nearly 150 rushing yards per game and more than 250 passing yards per contest. Pittsburgh's defense is playing without veteran defensive line leader Cameron Heyward. They overhauled their inside linebacker room.
The strength of Pittsburgh's defense remains its pass rushers, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Watt already has 6.0 sacks and two forced fumbles, and Highsmith has one sack, one forced fumble, and a pick-six. Contending with them will be Jackson and the offense's biggest challenge, especially with Morgan Moses (shoulder) not at practice at the start of the week. Ronnie Stanley (knee) could return, however.
The Ravens don't care about the stats though. Tight end Mark Andrews said it's the Steelers' defensive front and physicality that always stand out.
"At the end of the day when you have two teams like this, when you have that rivalry, you've always got to bring your lunch, because it's a tough game," Andrews said. "No matter if the teams are doing real well one year or not, it's going to be a good game."
The Ravens gashed the Browns' top-ranked defense last week with four touchdowns. They're looking to continue to build on that in Pittsburgh. Andrews said it will take "elite focus" to keep improving as an offense.
"Obviously the Ravens-Steelers game is one of the best rivalries in the world," Andrews said. "If you're not ready for this, what are you doing?"