Week 4 has been circled on the calendar since the NFL schedule was released, as Ravens-Steelers is always a must watch showdown. The Baltimore Beatdown staff outlines bold predictions for the matchup.
- The Ravens will win the turnover battle.
Through three games, Baltimore has three interceptions on the season to Pittsburgh’s four. The Ravens have forced just one fumble (failing to recover the football), while the Steelers have forced four fumbles and recovered two of them. Expect the Ravens to intercept at least one of Ben Roethlisberger’s pass attempts, as he has already thrown four picks on the year to Joe Flacco’s two.
- Baltimore’s run defense will contain James Conner.
Last week, Conner rebounded from his disappointing Week 2 performance, averaging two more yards per carry. However, do not anticipate him to match his explosive 135 yard, two touchdown showing from the Steelers Week 1 tie with the Browns. Despite allowing an average of 103.7 rushing yards, Baltimore’s run defense will take advantage of the fact that Conner has never been the number one back in the rivalry, and Le’Veon Bell’s absence will be felt.
- Marlon Humphrey will hold Antonio Brown below 50 yards receiving.
Humphrey nearly shut out Brown last December, and Antonio has been out of sync with Ben Roethlisberger this season. This is a prime opportunity to let Marlon shadow Brown and put the defensive personnel in position to succeed.
- Justin Tucker will kick a game winning field goal with less than a minute remaining.
Flacco has produced some of the best games of his career in Pittsburgh, including comeback wins in 2010, 2011 and 2015. Joe will drive down the field in the 4th quarter and allow the most clutch kicker in NFL history to secure the victory.
- John Brown will have 150+ receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Brown is off to a strong start this season. Through three games, he leads the Ravens with 222 receiving yards, which ranks 20th in the league. His 18.5 yards per catch average is reflective of his big-play ability. The Steelers defense has struggled in pass coverage this season, and Brown should be able to get loose for a couple of big gains. Getting his first taste of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry in prime time, look for “Smokey” to have a huge performance.
- Hayden Hurst leads all tight ends in catches and yards in his regular season debut.
The Ravens first round pick returned to practice this week and is looking to make his debut on Sunday night. If he suits up, it should not take long for Hurst to make an impact. Although the Ravens tight end room is crowded, Baltimore drafted Hurst for a reason. He is a legit pass-catching threat with sure hands and crisp route-running ability. Look for him to get acclimated quickly and outproduce Mark Andrews, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle.
- Alex Collins will rush for 150 yards.
Throughout the first three weeks, Collins has yet to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game. Pittsburgh currently has the 24th ranked run defense, and Baltimore will use that to their advantage by fully unleashing Collins. In the last meeting between these two teams, Collins rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 18 carriers. Expect an even better performance on Sunday night, with Collins rushing for 150 yards.
- Matthew Judon will have three sacks.
The third-year edge rusher has started this season slower than many had hoped. However, Judon will make his presence felt against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s right tackle Marcus Gilbert could potentially miss the game, which Judon will take advantage of, racking up at least three sacks, similar to his performance against Tennessee last season.