The Baltimore Ravens They’ve clinched a playoff spot, but hope to win the AFC North and a home playoff game in two weeks. Can put pressure on Baltimore Cincinnati Bengals By winning Sunday night vs Pittsburgh Steelers — and deletes its archive in the process. A Ravens win ensures Baltimore will play for the AFC North title in Week 18 against Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh is still alive in the AFC wild-card race, but a lot has to happen in the final two weeks — including a chance to clinch the final playoff spot in the conference. Pittsburgh needs to win Miami Dolphins To lose in the final game. The New England Patriots And then lose Buffalo Bills In the 18th week of New York Jets to lose and Jacksonville Jaguars And Tennessee Titans Can’t build in 18th week.
Got all that? Here are the playoff projections for each team heading into this clash. Here’s what you need to know in what’s set to be another exciting matchup between the Steelers and Ravens.
How to see
Date: Sunday, January 1 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
TV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (try it for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Contradictions: Ravens -2, O/U 35 (Courtesy Caesars Sportsbook)
The Ravens defense offsets the offense
The Ravens have allowed 12.7 points per game and 284.4 yards per game since Week 9, Roquan Smith’s team debut. While the defense has been good, the offense needs to be better in terms of performance to make up for it. Lamar Jackson — who is out — has played 10 snaps since Week 13 and Baltimore has averaged just 11.5 points per game over that span (worst in the NFL).
Baltimore has just three touchdowns in the last 15 quarters and has the second-worst red zone offense (39% conversion rate) after Week 4 (17 touchdowns on 44 red zone drives). Part of the offense’s woes stem from a lack of wide receivers to catch passes, with the Ravens averaging 94.9 yards per game — last in the NFL.
Tyler Huntley has completed 34 of 59 passes (57.6%) in his three starts, with one touchdown and one interception for a 72.8 rating. The Ravens are averaging just 12 points per game in their starts, going 2-1 in the stretch.
While the overall numbers aren’t impressive, Pickett has improved in one notable area. The rookie quarterback hasn’t turned the football over in his last seven games — including just one giveaway in the stretch. Pickett had nine turnovers in his first five starts, including eight interceptions. He has just one interception since the bye week (Week 9).
Pickett has completed 62.5% of his passes for 1,079 yards with three touchdowns and one interception since the Steelers’ bye week, compiling an 84.4 passer rating (seven games). The Steelers’ turnover margin has improved overall, with a plus-six (+6) margin over that stretch (Pittsburgh is 5-2).
As head coach Mike Tomlin is two wins from avoiding a losing streak for the first time in his career, Pickett’s gifts have dwindled, helping the Steelers win games.
Special game | Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Prediction: Ravens 20, Steelers 16
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