Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH – The series between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers is typically noted for the hard-hitting defenses on both sides, but both offenses will be in the spotlight in Sunday night’s matchup at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. The Ravens rank fifth in the NFL in scoring while the Steelers feature the league’s No. 2-rated passing attack.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already thrown for 1,140 yards in the first three games, but he pointed out the only one number matters. “It’s about winning and losing,” said Roethlisberger. “We didn’t put up any goals this year, in terms of points or yards or where we wanted to rank. We just wanted to win football games. So, to have only one win, I would say offensively we’re not doing our job.” Roethlisberger’s counterpart, Joe Flacco, also is off to a strong start but he echoed a defensive mindset on how Baltimore is approaching the matchup against its bitter AFC North rival. “It’s more than just winning and losing a game,” said Flacco. “It’s beating a division opponent up a little bit, so they feel the effects the next week.”
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Steelers -3. O/U: 50.5
ABOUT THE RAVENS (2-1): Flacco threw for only 196.3 yards per game in 2017 but is averaging exactly 100 yards more in the first three games while getting solid production from the trio of wide receivers signed in the offseason. Michael Crabtree has a team-high 15 catches while John Brown and Willie Snead have 12 apiece, but Baltimore needs to get its running game going. Alex Collins, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season, is averaging only 38.7 yards but ran for a season-high 68 yards and a TD in last week’s 27-14 victory over Denver. The Ravens lead the NFL in total defense (273.0 yards) but linebacker Terrell Suggs missed practice again Thursday.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-1-1): Antonio Brown has surpassed 100 receptions in each of the past five seasons and is on pace for another with 24 catches, but JuJu Smith-Schuster has emerged as a force with team-high totals of 27 receptions and 356 yards. Roethlisberger rebounded from a five-turnover season opener with his second straight three-touchdown performance to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. James Conner had a magnificent season opener before turning in a dud in Week 2, but he ran well in the fourth quarter to close out last week’s 30-27 win over Tampa Bay. The Steelers rank 29th overall defensively but are tied for second in the NFL with 11.0 sacks.
1. Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,125 yards and 11 TDs in the last three home matchups versus Baltimore.
2. Collins rushed for 202 yards and a TD on 27 carries in the two meetings against the Steelers in 2017.
3. Nine of the past 13 meetings have been settled by four points or fewer.