Steelers Stats for Success: Steelers vs Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Ravens Week! The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday, January 11th. It will be the first matchup between these division opponents. Going into the game the Steelers are 5-7 and have won two straight games, while the Ravens are 8-4. Baltimore will almost certainly be without MVP Quarterback Lamar Jackson in this one. Leaving Tyler Huntley face the Steelers.

We were 2/3 last week on our Steelers Stats for Success in the win over the Atlanta Falcons. Let’s try and take a little from that and figure out our Stats for Success versus the Ravens.

Turnover Differential: +2

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had a turnover for four straight games. Per Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot, this is the first time in basically team history that that has occurred. The Steelers are 5-1 in games where they don’t turn the ball over. We’ve highlighted this for a few weeks in this series. But it isn’t fair or realistic to expect zero turnover every week.

Therefore this week let’s keep the differential at +2. Pittsburgh has forced seven turnovers in the last four games. Going against a backup quarterback for an offense that was barely treading water should make taking the ball away probably. Even if the Steelers give the ball away in this one, keeping the turnover battle in their advantage is the true key to winning.

Points: 23+

Last week the Steelers scored less than 20 points for the first time since their Week 8 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. They need to get back on track offensively against the Ravens. Baltimore is 7-0 when they hold their opponents to 22 points or less. Any AFC North game, especially between these two teams, is not usually a shootout. But Pittsburgh has to put a respectable number of points on the board in this one if they want a chance at the win.

Rushing Yards: 100+

A big key to scoring points will be Pittsburgh’s ability to run the ball. Pittsburgh has won three of their last four games in part because they have found their running game. Their three highest rushing totals have come in those three wins for an average of 181 yards per game.

I’m only looking for 100+ here because a total number of yards doesn’t equate to much with the Ravens. Baltimore has allowed 86, 125, 83, and 38 rushing yards in their four losses. But in their last six games they are 5-1 and have only allowed over 100 rushing yards once (one of the wins). This Ravens defense is much improved from early in the season when they allowed over 100 yards on the ground in three of their first six games.

If Pittsburgh can keep some semblance of a ground game going against the second best run defense by yards per game not only will it help their offense, but it will keep the Baltimore defense on the field, and the struggling offense to fewer scoring opportunities.

The Steelers have a great opportunity here playing the Ravens without Lamar Jackson. But Baltimore’s improving defense is still a tough matchup. If Pittsburgh can manage a respectable score through their rushing attack and winning the turnover battle, they could steal a big divisional win here in the second half of the season.

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