Week 12: Ravens-Steelers, Preview, Analysis, Prediction

Baltimore underdogs for first time this season.
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Week 12: Baltimore Ravens (6-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)

When

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, at 8:20 p.m. at Heinz Field

Spread

Ravens: plus-3 (BetOnline)

Series History

The Steelers lead the all-time regular-season series 26-23, also going 3-1 in the playoffs. Under John Harbaugh, Baltimore is 14-14, including the playoffs. Baltimore has won the last two matchups at Heinz Field. However, Pittsburgh beat the Ravens 28-24 in Week 8. 

By the Numbers

2-0 – The Ravens’ all-time record when playing on Thanksgiving, including home victories in 2013 vs. Pittsburgh and 2011 against San Francisco.     

Notable

Baltimore is 3-0 all-time on Thursday night games against Pittsburgh. One of these contests occurred at Heinz Field, when Baltimore prevailed, 23-20, in Week 4 of 2015.     

Player Spotlight: Patrick Queen

Entering Week 12, the Ravens rookie inside linebacker is the NFL’s only defender with at least 40 tackles, five tackles for a loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble returns. 

Ravens Game Plan

Offense

The Ravens will be short-handed after running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins tested positive for COVID-19. This means Gus Edwards and Justice Hill will have to carry the load against the Steelers. Edwards had 87 yards on 16 yards with a touchdown in the previous game against Pittsburgh. Overall, Baltimore ran for 265 yards. It will be a challenge to repeat that performance with the depleted group of running backs. 

Lamar Jackson had four crucial turnovers — two interceptions and two fumbles — that allowed Pittsburgh to take control of the game in Week 8. He threw a pick-six on the Ravens' first possession and also fumbled on the Steelers 4-yard run line that killed a potential scoring drive. Jackson has to avoid those types of mistakes for the Ravens to have any chance of winning this game. The turnover battle will be crucial. Jackson will also need to make plays in the middle of the field because of his struggles throwing outside the numbers. The Ravens (457) outgained Pittsburgh (221) in total yards in Week 8, but the Steelers’ plus-3 turnover margin proved to be the difference. 

Defense

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers effective spreading the Ravens out. Roethlisberger completed 21 of 32 pass attempts for 182 yards with two touchdowns (101.3 rating). He was sacked twice. JuJu Smith-Schuster led the team with seven receptions for 67 yards, followed by rookie Chase Claypool who caught five passes for 42 yards. Baltimore's secondary needs to do a better job tackling after a poor performance last week against Tennessee. The Ravens held Pittsburgh to just 48 yards rushing on 16 carries. However, that performance will also be difficult to repeat with nose tackle Brandon Williams out of the lineup and defensive end Calais Campbell likely sidelined.

Prediction

The Ravens are short-handed because of injuries and have lost three of their past four games. The Steelers are riding high and playing with a lot of confidence, which is reflected in their 10-0 record. Baltimore simply cannot make any critical mistakes to win this game, but that still is likely not enough to overcome this challenge.

Final score: Steelers 30, Ravens 24