The Baltimore Ravens (10-5) have clinched a playoff spot while the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) still have slim hopes of joining them. The two rivals will meet on Sunday Night Football, a game that was flexed despite the fact that it could be another game between the two where a backup quarterback has to start.
Lamar Jackson’s status remains up in the air. The Ravens are 3-1 since Jackson’s injury, but every game has been a grind. That includes a 16-14 win in Pittsburgh in Week 14. Can the Ravens complete their first sweep of the Steelers since 2019?
The Ravens are a 3-point home favorite with a total of 36 points at many of the top-rated sportsbooks. Let’s review the NFL odds for this Sunday night matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, January 1, 2023 – 08:20 PM EST at M&T Bank Stadium
Week 14 Recap: Ravens 16 - Steelers 14
These teams met three weeks ago in Pittsburgh, and the Ravens led wire to wire thanks to rushing for 215 yards and finishing plus-3 in the turnover department.
It was an odd game though as both starting quarterbacks, Kenny Pickett and Tyler Huntley left with concussions. Pickett was knocked out early and Huntley was injured in the second half. Both are back now, but Huntley is Lamar Jackson’s backup, so it still may not be the ideal quarterback matchup for Baltimore if Jackson is inactive again.
In Week 14, the Steelers got a good performance out of backup Mitch Trubisky. He was accurate and aggressive, finishing 22-of-30 for 276 yards and a touchdown while only taking one sack. The problem was three interceptions, all of which were thrown in Baltimore territory on drives where it looked like the Steelers would get points.
That was really the difference in the game. Chris Boswell also missed a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter when the Steelers trailed 13-7, which is not like him. The Ravens turned that into a long drive for a field goal and a 16-7 lead, which the Steelers answered quickly with a touchdown drive from Trubisky. The defense was unable to get the ball back as the Ravens ran out the clock on the ground with third-string quarterback Anthony Brown in the game.
Even though the Steelers allowed a season-high 215 rushing yards to Baltimore, they only allowed 16 points. That game was more than winnable if not for three Trubisky interceptions, something we can count on not seeing this week since Pickett is the starter.
Is Kenny Pickett Improving?
The last we saw Kenny Pickett on Saturday night against the Raiders, he engineered the first real clutch, game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes. His 14-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens came in the final minute to put the Steelers on top for good.
It was Pickett’s first game in really cold weather, and he responded well in a game where he was asked to throw 39 passes. He is still struggling to throw touchdown passes as he has just five on 333 attempts this year, which is one of the lowest touchdown rates (1.5%) for a season in NFL history.
Pickett is doing a reasonable job of avoiding sacks and turnovers since the bye week. His last sack taken in the past three games was the one against Baltimore that led to his concussion.
He has only thrown one pick in his last 168 pass attempts. If he can continue being decisive and avoid the turnovers and injuries, then he should be fine in this matchup where we know the winning team is unlikely to score more than 20 points anyway. It might even be first to 14 at this point.
Lamar Jackson’s Shaky History with Pittsburgh
With the Ravens having clinched a playoff spot, there may not be much motivation to rush Lamar Jackson (sprained PCL) back into action before the playoffs. With head coach John Harbaugh giving the “we’ll see” response to if Jackson will practice this week, it probably is a good bet that Tyler Huntley will get the start in this game.
In a way, it may be for the best given the way Jackson has underperformed against Pittsburgh’s defense. In three starts, Jackson is 1-2 against the Steelers and has eight turnovers and 16 sacks in those games.
The Ravens really just need to protect the ball and play it safe with the run in this one. The Steelers rarely score a lot of points, so it does not take much to beat them. This Baltimore team is uniquely qualified to win low-scoring games right now.
The 2022 Ravens are 5-1 (.833) when scoring fewer than 20 points, tied with the 1986 Giants and 2004 Steelers for the best record in any season since 1930 (minimum five such games). It is the best record period since the 2014 Seahawks were 4-0.
Best Bets and Prediction
Baltimore’s 16-14 win in Pittsburgh looks like a shootout compared to the scores in their other three games since Jackson’s injury. None of the last four Baltimore games have gone over 30 points, and it wasn’t that long ago when the Panthers lost 13-3 to the Ravens.
Three of the last four Pittsburgh games have also been under 36 points, so the under feels like the safest bet for your NFL picks in this matchup. Not to mention it is Steelers-Ravens and we are used to 13-10 and 16-13 types of scores with these teams.
The Steelers can certainly pull this one out if Pickett plays well and avoids the turnovers Trubisky did not, but we’ll still side with the Ravens’ moneyline due to playing at home with the better defense and more consistent running game now that J.K. Dobbins is back in the mix.
This game is as likely as any in Week 17 to end in a push when it comes to the spread, but we’ll back the Steelers to keep it close enough for another cover after losing 16-14 last time.
Don't forget that PA locals can use one of these Pennsylvania betting sites to make their bets.
Score Prediction: Ravens 17 - Steelers 15
NFL Pick: Steelers +3 (-110) at Bovada
NFL Pick: Under 36 (-110) at Bovada
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.