The nightcap to the National Football League Thanksgiving slate is a dandy with an AFC North rivalry bout featuring the Baltimore Ravens (6-4, 4-1 away) at the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0, 5-0). Pittsburgh won the first contest between these two teams earlier this month, 28-24, in Baltimore. Kickoff is at 8:20 P.M. Eastern at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers open as a 3.5-point favorite in the divisional showdown.
What to Know – Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore will try and get back on track during the short week after dropping two straight and three of their last four games. The Ravens have already doubled their loss total from last season with six weeks to go. Baltimore is coming off an overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans after taking an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Lamar Jackson has put together a quiet season compared to last year’s MVP campaign. Jackson looked rather pedestrian against the Titans, completing 17-of-29 passes for 186 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The always elusive quarterback added 51 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins tied his season-high with 15 carries for 70 yards and his third rushing touchdown of the season. The score was Dobbins’ first since he scored twice in the opening game of the season.
Tight end Mark Andrews hauled in five passes for 96 yards and a score, while Dez Bryant, who was activated from the practice squad on Saturday, made his 2020 debut with four catches for 28 yards. Sunday was the first NFL action Bryant has seen since the 2017 season.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Steelers
The only undefeated team in the NFL took care of business in Florida on Sunday with a decisive 27-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pittsburgh is now one of 26 teams in league history to begin the season with a perfect 10-0 record. The record gives the Steelers a three-game cushion in the division.
Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, fresh off a four-touchdown effort against the Cincinnati Bengals, completed 32-of-46 passes for 267 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The turnover was Big Ben’s first in four games.
Over the last few games, the Steelers have transitioned to a pass-happy offense and cut down on their rushing attack. James Conner accounted for 13 of the team’s 27 carries en route to 89 yards rushing. Conner was also targeted three times in the passing game, catching all three for ten yards.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson caught a career-high 12 passes for 111 yards. Johnson now has gone over 100 yards receiving two weeks in a row. Rookie wideout Chase Claypool and tight end Eric Ebron each caught touchdown passes in the victory.
The Pick is In
Baltimore committed four turnovers their last time out against the Steelers, and Pittsburgh’s defense continues to force mistakes with at least two turnovers forced in each of the previous four games. The Steelers’ emphasis on passing has created mismatches for opposing defenses with their depth and skill at wide receiver.
This game will be another slugfest featuring two teams with Super Bowl aspirations. It isn’t technically a must-win for Baltimore, but it sure feels like it.
The Pick: Baltimore Ravens +3.5