Defensive tackle Calais Campbell has a team-leading four sacks for the Baltimore Ravens. Photo from @Ravens (Twitter)
- The Baltimore Ravens are 4.5-point home favorites over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a showdown for first place in the AFC North.
- John Perrotto Betting Record: 4-4 (-0.4 units lost)
- The Ravens and Steelers are tied for the NFL lead with 64 quarterback hits.
First place in the AFC Central will be on the line and one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL will play out when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Baltimore Ravens at 1:00 p.m. Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
At 6-0, the Steelers are the last unbeaten team in the NFL and match the 1978 team for the best start in franchise history. That ’78 team went on to win Pittsburgh’s third Super Bowl title in a five-year span.
The Ravens have won three games in a row to improve their record to 5-1 and are favored in this matchup.
Steelers vs Ravens Odds
|Pittsburgh Steelers||+176||+4.5 (-110)||Over 46.5 (-105)|
|Baltimore Ravens||-210||-4.5 (-110)||Under 46.5 (-115)|
Odds taken Oct. 31 from FanDuel
The Steelers are also 5-1 against the spread while the Ravens are 3-3.
The Ravens won both meetings last season on their way to the best regular season record in the NFL at 14-2.
They beat the Steelers 26-23 in overtime at Pittsburgh as a three-point underdog. In the final game of the regular season, the Ravens rolled to a 28-10 victory as a one-point home dog despite resting most of their starters with the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs in hand.
The best rivalries are those where the two sides are actually competitive with each other and it doesn’t get much better than Steelers vs. Ravens. pic.twitter.com/uxnpRCw52v
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 28, 2020
While Lamar Jackson won NFL Most Valuable Player in 2019, he had one of his worst game of the season in the overtime win. The Steelers had three interceptions and five sacks. He sat out the rematch.
While the Ravens swept the season series a year ago, the teams split their two games in each of the previous three seasons from 2016-18.
Bringing The Pressure
The games are usually physical when the Steelers and Ravens meet. That should be the case again this season as both have fierce pass rushes.
The Steelers lead the NFL with 26 sacks through six games. The outside linebacking tandem of T.J. Watt (5.5) and Bud Dupree (five) have combined for 10.5 and five players have at least three.
Pittsburgh has a sack in 63 straight games, a streak that dates to 2016 and is the third-longest in league history.
This Steelers defense is really good at generating pressure…
Most QB Pressures This Season
Joey Bosa 17
Bud Dupree 14
Myles Garrett 14
Aaron Donald 13
T.J. Watt 13
Cam Heyward 12
Khalil Mack 12
Stephon Tuitt 12#HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/SKsVBfORLD
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 24, 2020
The Ravens’ 22 sacks are tied for fifth. Tackle Calais Campbell has a team-leading four after being acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars in an offseason trade.
Furthermore, Baltimore traded with Minnesota for end Yannick Ngakoue while on its bye last week and he will make his debut Sunday. Nagkoue had five sacks in six games for the Vikings after also being acquired from the Jaguars.
An updated look at the Ravens’ front seven when fully healthy:
OLB: Yannick Ngakoue
DE: Calais Campbell
NT: Brandon Williams
DE: Derek Wolfe
OLB: Matt Judon
ILB: Patrick Queen
ILB: L.J. Fort
Plus one of the best secondaries in the NFL 🔥
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 22, 2020
The Steelers and Ravens are also tied for first in the league with 64 quarterback hits.
Watt (16), end Stephon Tuitt (14) and Dupree (10) are in double digits in that category for the Steelers. The Ravens are topped by outside linebacker Matt Judon’s 11 and Campbell has 10.
The Steelers lead the NFL in total defense, allowing 286.3 yards a game. The Ravens are ninth with a 339.8 average.
Both quarterbacks will spend the afternoon trying to avoid the pass rush.
The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger has been as good as ever this season at age 38. He has fully recovered from the elbow surgery that limited him to two games last year.
Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,446 yards and 13 touchdowns while being intercepted four times. He has been sacked just eight times.
These are the plays Ben Roethlisberger makes I’m going to miss the most when he retires. Stuff very few QBs can do. Even five yard completions are exciting. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/wjLfUvozAr
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) October 25, 2020
Jackson has already been sacked 15 times in 2020 after being taken down 23 times all last season. He also has 1,135 yards passing and 10 TDs with just two picks.
The Ravens are next-to-last in the NFL in passing yardage, though, and Pittsburgh isn’t much better at No. 23.
Toe to Toe
This game has the feel of a heavyweight boxing title fight with both teams slugging it out for 60 minutes and the outcome in doubt until the end. It should be a good ballgame.
The Pick: Steelers +4.5 (-110)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.