The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in it, thanks to the New England Patriots, but they’ll need a win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football to keep it going.
What will be the keys to this week’s game? Let’s dive in.
KEY TO VICTORY: Keep J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards from taking over.
The Steelers have faced the Ravens twice in a row with Tyler Huntley starting at quarterback. In both of those games, the Ravens ran for over 200 yards, without Huntley being a significant part of the rushing total. Unlike with Lamar Jackson in the fold, the Ravens haven’t been pushing the quarterback run and have been content to let J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards carry the load.
Since getting torn up by that duo in Week 14, the Steelers run defense has dominated D’Onta Foreman and Josh Jacobs in back-to-back weeks. They’ll need to keep that momentum rolling, shut down the Baltimore backs, and force Huntley to be the one to beat them this time.
BOLD PREDICTION: Diontae Johnson finally gets his touchdown.
Kenny Pickett has been looking Diontae Johnson’s way an awful lot lately. Over the last five weeks, Johnson has been targeted 44 times in the Pittsburgh passing offense.
He’s caught over 70% of those targets and has 353 yards in that span, but has yet to find the end zone on the season.
With Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters out for this game, Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald will have to choose who Marlon Humphrey covers. In the first game between the teams, Humphrey took George Pickens.
That could leave Johnson with a juicy matchup.
OVERLOOKED MATCHUP: Tyler Linderbaum vs. Montravius Adams, Steelers NTs
Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum gave the Steelers all they could handle in the first game, and even with the Steelers playing in base defense for almost the entire afternoon, having a nose tackle right over Linderbaum did little to slow him down.
Linderbaum dominated Montravius Adams and Tyson Alualu. The Steelers tried Cam Heyward in there and gave up a huge 40-yard run. The Steelers are probably going to play a lot of base and heavier packages, but those are mostly predicated on the nose tackle being able to win one-on-one against the center.
Steelers 24, Ravens 20
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