It’s one of the fiercest rivalries in the National Football League and, despite it still being early in the season, a lot is riding on the match between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Having been used to seeing Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger lock horns for many years, the new generation of quarterbacks takes centre stage as Lamar Jackson goes head-to-head with Mason Rudolph.
There’s always a lot riding on the games, where the Steelers and Ravens meet, however, even more is riding on this one as a lot could change in the AFC North depending on the result in this one and the game between the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.
Baltimore’s Running-Game Leads Way In NFL
After back-to-back losses, against the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, Head Coach John Harbaugh will be looking for a reaction from his Ravens team when they go into Heinz Field.
In those two defeats, this new-look Baltimore defense gave up more than 500-yards of total offense, which is a worry for a franchise, who pride themselves on their elite defense, but that hasn’t been the case in recent weeks.
Only two other teams in the league have gave up more passing yards per game and yard per attempt than Baltimore. Nevertheless, on the other side of the ball, the Ravens lead the NFL with the most rushing attempts (140) and yards per carry (5.9).
The acquisition of Mark Ingram has bolstered their running game in 2019, with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill also posing a threat. Jackson has also shown his ability to run the ball at times, in the first four weeks, despite admitting that he’d rather stand and throw to his receivers.
Last season in Pittsburgh, the Ravens won 26-14 and Flacco completed 28 of his 42 attempts for 363-yards and two touchdowns. Jackson completed his only pass of the game that day, but this will be the first time he has started against the Steelers.
Steelers Looking To Make Home Advantage Count
Pittsburgh are going into the game with the Ravens with a bit of confidence after they snapped their three-game losing streak by beating AFC North the Bengals in Week 4.
Despite going up against a struggling Cincinnati side, the pass rush for the Steelers was in full effect as they managed to sack quarterback Andy Dalton eight times.
The game may have a different look to it with Rudolph taking over the quarterback position for the Steelers after Roethlisberger picked up an injury, which has now ruled him out for the season.
Baltimore struggled with the run game of the Browns last week, so James Connor could have a big game, but so could Juju Smith-Schuster as the Ravens secondary have given up some big plays in the first four weeks of the season.
Pittsburgh could go top of the division with a win over the Ravens, but only if the 49ers beat the Browns. They looked down and out in Week 3, but a win against the Bengals has lifted them and another divisional win will put them back in the picture.