The Steelers won by three, as we predicted. Sadly, I had the score 30-27 in this article last week, but 27-24 on my weekly NFL picks article. Regardless, the Steelers came through and are sitting at 6-0 going into a crucial divisional matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
Week 7 recap
The Steelers got out to a great start against Tennessee on Sunday. They controlled the tempo throughout the first half, hindered Derrick Henry, and pressured Tannehill thoroughly. However, as the game went on, the Titans began to claw their way back in. With the Steelers up 27-7 in the third quarter, the game seemed like it may slip away as the Steelers made crucial turnovers late.
After a few big Titans plays, including a 73-yard touchdown reception by AJ Brown, the Titans were driving late to tie the game. Just as it seemed the Steelers collapse was complete, Stephen Gostkowski’s roller-coaster season rolled on as he missed a field goal in the final seconds, securing the Steelers’ sixth win of the season.
It was a problematic second half for the Steelers, but we should all be encouraged with how the first half went. Dionte Johnson returned and provided the Steelers with explosive plays through the air, while TJ Watt was a menace on defense. The team was balanced, the defense was solid, and the Steelers truly looked like the best in the AFC.
Steelers vs Ravens Preview
The Ravens are coming off a bye, and though they haven’t looked like the world-beaters they were in 2019, they’re still dangerous. Early in the season, the Ravens fell behind early and went into pass-heavy mode against the Chiefs. Aside from that game, their defense has been incredible, and their offense has been good enough to get the job done.
The key here will be the Steelers run defense against the Ravens’ dynamic rushing attack. It’s a strength on strength matchup, and it’s going to be the pivotal matchup to decide this game.
The Ravens are 14th in passing yards surrendered per game, 11th in rushing yards allowed, but first in points allowed per game (17.3). They truly are the epitome of a “bend but don’t break” defense. Offensively, they aren’t the hyper-efficient team they were in 2019. The Ravens have done this weird thing this year, where they average 5.4 yards per carry as a team, but move away from it at the worst times.
Most teams try to establish the run to set up the pass. For the Ravens, they seem to do the opposite. Even when their run game is working, they are out there trying to throw the ball inexplicably.
The Steelers run defense has been amazing, and it’s going to have to be amazing again this week. The Ravens are coming off a bye. Something to consider when teams come off a bye is, they tend to reflect upon their season in the bye week. They take a closer look at what’s worked to this point. They also tend to make more adjustments. What’s interesting in this matchup is whether the Ravens will fall back on their strengths (the running game) or whether they try to take advantage of the occasional defensive mix-up in the Steelers secondary.
Week 8 Steelers prediction
I believe the Steelers are going to struggle in the Red Zone against the Ravens. I think if last week is any indication, Roethlisberger has made some mistakes around the goal line and could struggle again. If the Titans gave him trouble around the red zone, imagine what the Ravens might do. I think this game will be on the lower scoring end.
I like the Steelers to mix the run and pass well and move the ball fairly well. I expect the Ravens will get back to what they do, running the ball frequently and searching for big chunk plays downfield from Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown. I don’t anticipate either team moving the ball particularly well throughout the game, nor do I expect to see a lot of offensive consistency from each side. I think the Ravens will pull it out with a late field goal.
Final Score: Ravens 26 Steelers 23