Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Prediction: Will Ben Roethlisberger Go Out With a Win?

The Steelers and Ravens aren't yet eliminated from the postseason and should be playing to win in this AFC North matchup.
Ben Gretch |
Fri, January 7, 6:09 PM EST | 3 min read
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens Prediction: Will Ben Roethlisberger Go Out With a Win?

Key Stat: Over the past six weeks, Pittsburgh is sixth in the NFL in rushing success rate, after ranking 29th in the league through Week 11. For the season, Baltimore has allowed the fewest rushing yardage of any team in the NFL. 

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Prediction

Pittsburgh heads to Baltimore for a matchup between hated division rivals that are both unlikely to make the postseason this year, but are not mathematically eliminated. However slim their hopes — and both need the Colts to lose to the Jaguars Sunday so their hopes do seem slim — they are still likely to be playing to win. 

The Ravens will start Tyler Huntley at quarterback, as Lamar Jackson has been ruled out. Huntley has shown promise in his three starts, leading the Ravens to a win over the Bears his first time out, as well as one-point losses to both the Packers and Rams, two teams who are in the top four in current Super Bowl odds. 

The Steelers have gotten healthier over the past week, and on Friday activated No. 1 wide receiver Diontae Johnson from the reserve/COVID-19 list. They were down multiple defenders in their 26-14 win over the Browns last week, but both of these teams have limited numbers of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of their final regular season game. 

That sets us up for what should be a fun matchup. The last time these teams met, the Steelers won 20-19 after the Ravens were unable to convert a 2-point attempt to win it with 12 seconds left. That game started a five-game losing streak for Baltimore that has featured four losses of one or two points. That losing streak took them from 8-3 to 8-8, but they are still favored here. 

I’m taking the points with Pittsburgh. The over/under is low, and while there are paths to this game shooting out a bit, the game seems likely to be a low-scoring affair. Over the past six weeks, the Steelers have established something of a running game, ranking sixth in the NFL in success rate, and culminating with Najee Harris rushing for 188 yards last week. While the Ravens have allowed the fewest rushing yardage of any defense in the league this season and I expect a pass-happy Steelers side, there’s at least the possibility of more offensive balance for Pittsburgh which hasn’t been there for much of the season. 

But practically, this just feels like a game that could be decided by a field goal either way. Huntley has played good quarterback, but he’s facing a tough Pittsburgh pass defense. The Ravens will likely try to exploit a weak Pittsburgh rush defense, but they haven’t had the same dynamic rushing attack this season that we’ve seen in prior years, and have relied on key aerial targets like Mark Andrews time and again in big spots. That’s not a great setup for a huge Baltimore offensive performance, and if this game does stay close and low-scoring, you have to like getting Pittsburgh with three and the hook.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Pick

  • Steelers +3.5 (-110)

Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch

Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.

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