The Baltimore Ravens are listed as five point underdogs for their Week 14 primetime matchup at Heinz field on Sunday night. The point total is set at 43.5, representing a Steelers victory of approximately 24-19.
Baltimore will enter the rivalry game on a three game winning streak, while Pittsburgh has won seven in a row, including back-to-back last minute field goal victories in their two most recent games. The Steelers handed the Ravens a 26-9 home loss in Week 4, mostly due to Le’Veon Bell’s 186 all-purpose yards. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series between these divisional foes with a 26-21 record, but John Harbaugh has managed Ravens wins in nine of the last 14 meetings.
This December showdown will pit the Steelers #4 passing offense against the Ravens #3 passing defense. On the other side of the ball, Baltimore’s 12th ranked rushing attack will face Pittsburgh’s 8th ranked rushing defense. The Ravens boasts a league leading +14 turnover differential, while the Steelers have a below average -1 differential.
The season long string of fortuitous luck will continue for the Ravens, as Pittsburgh’s impressive rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will serve a suspension in Week 14. Top corner Joe Haden will also miss the game due to injury, safety Mike Mitchell is questionable to play and star linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a scary injury during the physical Monday night game in Cincinnati. Baltimore will be without stalwart blocker Marshal Yanda, as well as shutdown corner Jimmy Smith.
Quarterback Joe Flacco is aiming to build upon his strong performance against Detroit last Sunday. He has fared reasonably well against the Steelers, accumulating a 83.2 passer rating with a 21:11 touchdown to interception ratio in 18 regular season games. Pittsburgh has allowed an average of 264 passing yards since Week 8.
As for gambling trends, Pittsburgh is 9-3 as a home favorite and 8-6 against AFC North competition against the spread since 2015. The Ravens have beat the spread in three of their last four versus the Steelers, but have covered just three of their last eight as a medium sized road underdog.
Other Week 14 games that could potentially impact the AFC playoff race include the Jaguars as field goal home favorites against Seattle, the Chiefs laying four at home against Oakland and the Chargers favored by six at home versus Washington. Tennessee is favored by a field goal in Arizona, while the Patriots are listed as 11 point favorites in Miami on Monday night.