The Pittsburgh Steelers will be hoping to turn one win into two wins as they get ready for an AFC North rivalry game with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. The action gets underway at 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 6 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Fans in select markets can watch the game on CBS.
Current betting odds have the Ravens as 3-point favorites on the road with an over/under of 44.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of this week’s NFL betting odds.
The Steelers took a big sigh of relief after disposing of the Bengals 27-3 on Monday night to earn their first win of the season. Obviously, sitting at 1-3 a quarter through the season isn’t ideal, but two of those three losses came by four points or less. For a team that’s being forced to play its backup quarterback, those close losses to the Seahawks and 49ers are a sign that all is not lost.
Pittsburgh is also a little fortunate in that both the Browns and Ravens have started the year 2-2, so they’re only a game off the pace in the AFC North. The Steelers also get to play four of their next five games at home, giving them a great opportunity to string some wins together and put themselves in a position to make the playoffs. Of course, after losing three in a row to start the season, Pittsburgh’s margin of error is small, so this week’s game is vital.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are in danger of losing three games in a row. Baltimore started the year brilliantly with a blowout of Miami and a home win over Arizona. However, they’ve stumbled the past two weeks against the Chiefs and Browns. Losing by five points in Kansas City is nothing to worry about, but they were pushed around on their home field by the Browns last week, losing 40-25 and getting out-gained by over 100 yards.
The good vibes of that 2-0 start are all but gone, and the Ravens could find themselves close to panic mode if they drop a third straight game. This is the second of three straight games the Ravens will play against their AFC North rivals, so this game counts for a little extra, especially since they’ll be tied with Pittsburgh if they lose.
This rivalry has been as even as any in the NFL over the past decade. The Ravens have a slight edge, winning 11 of the last 20 meetings. However, the Steelers have taken four of the last five games between the two. Of course, the Ravens and Steelers have split the last 10 games played at Heinz Field, so home-field advantage doesn’t always hold true.
These two teams are trending in different directions at the moment, which makes it tough to go with the Ravens as road favorites. Baltimore has had some flaws exposed the past couple of weeks and I think the Steelers are good enough to take advantage. Remember, two of Pittsburgh’s three losses were close, so they’re a little short-handed but they’re not a bad football team. I’ll take the Steelers and the points at home.
It’s the Pittsburgh defense that is going to keep the Steelers in the playoff hunt this season. There’s no excuse for the poor performance in Week 1 against New England other than the fact that they were playing the Patriots. But that unit has turned things around the past couple of weeks. Rookie Devin Bush is starting to play as expected and Minkah Fitzpatrick has turned out to be a nice addition to the secondary. The Steelers also had eight sacks last week against the Bengals, so they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.
Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson was a different quarterback in Weeks 3 and 4 than he was in Weeks 1 and 2. His accuracy is fallen off a cliff, particularly on passes down the field, which has long been a concern for him. Jackson also threw two interceptions last week and has taken seven sacks in the last two games. Also, keep in mind that the Ravens have scored most of their touchdowns in the last two weeks while behind multiple scores. They’ve struggled to move the ball consistently and create explosive plays with the defense playing straight up.
As for the Pittsburgh offense, things are looking up after last week’s win. Running backs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels took the lead as both runners and receivers. Relying too much on their backs could hinder the Steelers, who remain limited at wide receiver outside of JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, Mason Rudolph looked comfortable throwing short passes, completing 24 of his 28 passes on Monday. To be fair, that was against the Bengals. But the Baltimore defense has looked vulnerable the past two weeks, especially against the run. If that continues this week, Rudolph can continue to feel comfortable in the pocket and make accurate throws.
I don’t want to jump the gun after two losses, but I’m starting to cool on the Ravens. The defense has been a disappointment the last two weeks and Jackson isn’t yet an accomplished downfield passer. Going on the road against a Steelers team reinvigorated by last week’s win figure to be a tricky game. I feel more comfortable taking Pittsburgh and the points.