Steelers-Ravens Game Preview
This is our week 8 Steelers-Ravens Game Preview. The top two teams in the AFC North division will play for sole possession of the division lead.
Once again the Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing in the NFL’s biggest game of the week. This is the first renewal of the best rivalry in the NFL. Baltimore won the AFC North division last year while the Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger for the majority of the year.
In 2020, the Steelers are trying to prove that with Roethlisberger they are still the kings in the north. Baltimore, with their MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, is trying to show that they are the top dog in the division.
How the Steelers can win:
The Steelers have to stop the run game and force Jackson to throw the ball. When he is back to throw it will be up to the front seven to play him the right way. With a quarterback like Jackson, the Steelers pass-rushers have to be smart.
If they over-pursue Jackson he can hit a seam and beat the defense with his legs. Pittsburgh will have to find the right balance of putting pressure on Jackson, but also not letting him escape in the run game.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Steelers need to establish their own run game. During the 2020 season, the Steelers offensive line has done a great job of opening run lanes for their running backs. If they can establish the run game Sunday it could lead to another great offensive day.
How the Ravens can win:
Baltimore needs to find a way to slow down all of the Steelers’ weapons. Pittsburgh has a plethora of receivers who can make big plays. Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and James Washington can beat the defense on any play. For the Ravens, they will have to find a way to slow them down, which has been an impossible task for opposing defenses so far this year.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Ravens need an MVP performance from Lamar Jackson. Jackson is the Ravens leading rusher this season. It will be up to Raven’s offensive playcalling to put him in positions where he has the option to run or throw. It may be Jackson’s stat line that determines who the victor is on Sunday.
Out: S Jordan Dangerfield (quadricep), ILB Ulysees Gilbert (back), DT Chris Wormley (knee)
Questionable: FB Derek Watt (hamstring), CB Mike Hilton (shoulder)
Questionable: CB Jimmy Smith (Achilles), S Anthony Levine (abdominal)
Pittsburgh heads into this week 8 match-up as a four-point underdog to the Ravens. The over/under is currently sitting at 46 points.
Best bets (Record 5-4):
Steelers Spread – It isn’t very common for these rivalry games to be blowouts. The Steelers and Ravens typically play very closely matched games. If I can get +4 on the Steelers I feel pretty confident, because even if they do lose you are still covered by more than a field goal.
Over – 46 points don’t seem like enough for this match-up. Yes, both defenses are doing a great job to start the season, but I don’t think this game lands under this number.
Under Lamar Jackson Rush Attempts – This number is currently set at 10.5. The Pittsburgh front seven defensively has been very good to start the year. They have a difficult match-up against the quick Jackson, but I feel like they will be able to stop Jackson from beating them on the ground.
As a lifelong Steelers fan, I can’t pick against this team right now. Yes, the Ravens are a good team and the game is being played in Baltimore. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers come away with a huge win this week and take on an even bigger lead in the AFC North division.
Steelers 27 – Ravens 20