Baltimore (2-1) at Pittsburgh (1-1-1)
With Bell out, the Steelers’ offensive strategy has become, “Let Ben Roethlisbergerthrow the ball as many times as possible.” Through three weeks, Big Ben has thrown for 1,140 yards (380 yards per game), which is the fifth-highest total OF ALL TIME through three weeks. I don’t think Bell’s coming back, so I fully expect Roethlisberger to be putting up huge numbers every week and I especially expect him to put up a huge number this week and that’s because he’s playing the Ravens. Last season, Big Ben threw for 506 yards in a game against the Ravens and I’m fully convinced he can hit that number again this season since the Steelers have basically ripped the rushing portion out of their 2018 playbook.
However, one streak I do like is the Steelers’ winning streak in primetime. In their past 11 night games, the Steelers have gone 11-0, including Monday’s win over Tampa.
The pick: Steelers 33-30 over Ravens
Expect the respective passing attacks to decide this contest, both receiving corps have favorable individual matchups. Furthermore, Pittsburgh has attempted 139 passes compared to 70 just runs while Baltimore ranks 31st in yards per rushing attempt.
Five most memorable moments in Ravens-Steelers history - Lisa Redmond
Mike Tomlin Interference (Week 13, 2013)
Ravens fans will never forget this one.
During a punt return from Jacoby Jones, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin found himself conveniently standing with his foot along the same sideline Jones was running down. Tomlin didn’t get out of the way until Jones was about to take him out, stalling Jones’ return and giving his defender the added time he probably would have needed to stop him.
Tomlin insisted he didn’t realize he was that close to the field which is hard to believe as he was watching the play happen on the big screen at M&T Bank Stadium. He followed it all up with a smirk, but was fined $100,000 for the interference. The Ravens would go on to win that matchup.
Torrey Smith’s Game Winner (Week 9, 2011)
On a third-and-10 on the 26-yard line with 16 seconds in the fourth, Joe Flacco hit Torrey Smith in the corner of the endzone for the game winning touchdown.
It was a prime time game under the lights at Heinz Field, much like what we’ll be seeing this Sunday.
Lardarius Webb’s punt return touchdown in the 4th quarter of the 2011 playoffs would have been another memorable moment if it wasn’t spoiled by a highly questionable holding penalty.
What the Steelers Are Saying About the Ravens - Ryan Mink
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
On his relationship with fellow long-time AFC North coaches John Harbaugh and Marvin Lewis: “There’s a professional relationship, and those things are based on the here and now. The matchups, the strategies, some of the assistant coaches and things change, core players have changed, so it’s changed elements of the matchup. On a personal level, I just think there’s a level of respect there between men who have competed for the same things for an extended period of time, and I think we’re all capable of separating the two.”
QB Ben Roethlisberger
On if Suggs is at the top of his personal rivalries: “We’ve played so many years against each other. I was blessed – I say ‘blessed’ because he’s a Hall of Famer to play against – Ray Lewis, and I know Ed Reed is going to get in the Hall of Fame, too, for a good amount of years. I’ve been going on 14 years [playing] against Suggs and he’s a first ballot guy for me. I’m not just trying to pump him up because we’re about to play him. I truly feel that way. I would think … I know he does a lot of talking about me too, but I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there between each other. There’s a little bit of talking on the field – I wouldn’t call it trash talking – but there’s some mutual respect trash talking if you will that goes on. It’s a special rivalry he and I have.”
In 30 career games against the Steelers, Terrell Suggs has posted 20 sacks and three interceptions.
Week 4 NFL picks, predictions - David Steele
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1)
A “throw the record books out the window” classic. All things considered, the Ravens have handled themselves well, as last week’s win over the Broncos made the flat performance in Cincinnati on a Thursday night look more like an aberration. It’s hard to tell which of the Steelers’ games so far reflects their reality. Joe Flacco is benefiting from his new group of receivers and his sturdy running game. The Steelers’ defense has been the most consistent part of the team so far: consistently vulnerable. Prediction: Ravens, 30-28
According to Football Outsiders analytics, the Steelers defense ranks 19th in defensive DVOA. The Ravens defense ranks 5th.
Baltimore Ravens: The offense has improved enough to let the defense shine. You might not realize it, but the Ravens just set an NFL record on offense, becoming the first team to score touchdowns on its first 12 red-zone possessions to open a season. Joe Flacco remains hit-and-miss as a quarterback, but this marker of success reflects the impact of Baltimore’s upgrades, including running back Alex Collins (picked up last season) and free-agent receivers John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead. I think the offense will finish right around its current rank (13th), which would be the Ravens’ best ranking since 2014. That kind of showing would allow the defense (currently ranked No. 1) and special teams to drive a serious playoff push.
A divisional win on the road in Pittsburgh would obviously help the Ravens odds of snapping their current postseason drought.
Week 3 NFL defensive line rankings - Austin Gayle
DEFENSIVE LINE RANKING, WEEK 3: 13th
Baltimore edge defenders Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith both currently rank inside the top-15 in pass-rush productivity at 15.6 and 20.8, respectively. The team’s defensive line, largely because of Suggs’ and Smith’s efforts, ranks third in pass-rush productivity (13.4). A lack of pass-rush from their interior defensive linemen keeps the Ravens from finishing higher on this list, as second-year defensive interior Chris Wormley leads the group with just six total pressures on the season.
The Ravens have missed the disruptive presence of Willie Henry on the interior, unfortunately he has still not returned to practice following hernia surgery.