With their hopes of winning the AFC North fading fast, the Pittsburgh Steelers will try to gain ground in the division race when they host the first-place Baltimore Ravens at 4:25 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Ravens (8-3) hold a one-game lead over the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4), who thumped the Steelers 41-10 last Sunday. Then come the Cleveland Browns (6-6) and Steelers (5-5-1).
Though they have six games remaining, this is a must-have game if the Steelers are going to defend their division crown.
The Steelers won the AFC North last season thanks largely to sweeping the season series from the Ravens. The Steelers won 28-24 in Week 8 at Baltimore and 19-14 at home in Week 12 at Heinz Field.
The second game was notable for two reasons. It was pushed back from Thanksgiving night to the following Wednesday afternoon because of a COVID-19 outbreak with the Ravens. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the game after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Here are the lines for Ravens-Steelers at Barstool Sportsbook:
Spread: Ravens -4 (-113), Steelers +4 (-108)
Moneyline: Ravens -210, Steelers +170
Over/Under: 44 O (-112), U (-109)
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Steelers Betting Preview
The Steelers are reeling as they have lost two games in a row and gone winless in their last three to fall back to .500. That comes on the heels of a three-game winning streak that pushed their record to 5-2-1.
Some retired Steelers players have been calling out their former team’s effort this week both on social media and in the traditional media. In particular, the defense has taken the brunt of the heat after giving up 41 points in each of the last two weeks to the Los Angeles Chargers and Bengals.
The Steelers have been gashed for an average of 180.5 yards rushing over their last four games. The Bengals’ Joe Mixon ran for a career-high 160 last Sunday.
The Steelers are 28th in the league in run defense and that could prove problematic this Sunday. The Ravens, coming off back-to-back wins, have the second-best rushing offense in the league spearheaded by Jackson.
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Jackson has 707 yards, and two touchdowns on 123 carries this season. He has 383 yards more than any of the Ravens’ running backs.
The Steelers have had success against Jackson in the past. In last year’s win in Baltimore, they forced him into four turnovers – two interceptions, two lost fumbles. They also intercepted him three times at Heinz Field in 2019, though the Ravens won in overtime.
However, the Steelers are weaker on that side of the ball in 2021.
Steelers Bets We Like
Steelers +4 (-108) Barstool Sportsbook
The Steelers’ season appears headed on the road to nowhere – and quite quickly. However, the Ravens rarely blow teams out as six of their eight wins have been by six points or less.
Playing at home, look for the Steelers to keep it close.
Lamar Jackson over 66.5 yards rushing (-115) Draft Kings
The Steelers have given Jackson problems in the past, but this year’s version of the defense is a shell of previous years. Look for Jackson to have his share of chunk plays on the ground.
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This season, the Ravens are 6-1 in games decided by six points or less and have won 12 of their last 13 games in December, dating to 2018. It will be hard for the Steelers to buck those trends as their season continues to slip away.
Ravens 23, Steelers 21
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