In the wide open AFC North, two teams that aren’t used to being 5-6 at this stage still have an excellent chance of making the postseason, with a lot more pressure on the defending Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who currently hold the head-to-head advantage.
It wasn’t the prettiest of affairs when the two teams met in October, as the Ravens won 19-16 thanks to a Shaun Suisham field goal that won the game as time expired. It was a rare no interception performance in that game from both Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger, as the Steelers got a big game from Le’Veon Bell, running for 93 yards in one of his first impressive performances for the team.
Bell, a rookie out of Michigan State, still hasn’t topped that performance in terms of yards, but has been crucial in the Steelers’ improvement, getting teams to respect their running game again. he gained 80 yards on 23 carries in the 27-11 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Another big reason for their win and their recent three-game win streak has been the defense.
Since losing to the New England Patriots by 24 points on November 3, the Steelers have allowed only 4.97 yards per play. Luckily for them, they’re facing one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens are ranked 31st in the NFL, averaging just 4.54 yards per play, which includes rushing for only 82 yards a game as Ray Rice is averaging only 2.9 yards per carry this season.
The Ravens still have a very strong defense to rely on, as they showed in the 19-3 win over the New York Jets. Corey Graham picked off the rookie quarterback twice, and Smith completed only 40.9% of his passes. At home, the Ravens are 4-1, allowing only 10.8 points per game. The only unhappy person coming out of that win was Joe Flacco, as Baltimore used backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the wildcat formation a few times and lining up as a receiver on a few other plays.
Prediction – The last four games between the two teams have been decided by three points, so don’t expect fireworks and big numbers. Right now, the Steelers seem to have a bit more confidence in their offense, which will be enough to squeak out a win.