There is a big showdown in the AFC North this week between the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) and the Baltimore Ravens (5-1).
A Pittsburgh victory would further put the Steelers in the driver’s seat in the division, but a Ravens win would really muddle the top of the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns at 5-2.
Who will win the game, which is set for 11 a.m. (Arizona time) on CBS?
Check out these picks and predictions for the Week 8 NFL game.
Baltimore is a 3.5 to 4-point favorite at home.
NFL.com: Steelers 26, Ravens 24
Gregg Rosenthal writes: “These teams are so good that it’s hard not to focus on the imperfections. The running game should be the foundation of the Ravens’ attack, but it’s hard to imagine it working consistently against a Steelers defense that represents Baltimore’s toughest challenge this season by far. The way to beat Pittsburgh is over the top, with big passes against some vulnerable cornerbacks. Lamar Jackson and friends are capable of exploding at any moment, but I haven’t seen it enough yet to trust them this week. Pittsburgh’s formula of young wideouts making plays after the catch buoyed by an improving James Conner feels more sustainable.”
Frank Schwab writes: “It’s even harder to have a strong lean since this series usually produces close games. Since the Ravens moved to Baltimore in 1996, their games against the Steelers have been decided by a field goal or less 21 times. At the height of the rivalry between 2009-2013, an amazing nine of 11 games were decided by a field goal or less. The point spread is Ravens -4, and I’m not sure either team should be favored by more than a field goal. That’s why I’ll pick the Steelers. This should be another classic, a coin-flip game, and I’ll blindly take either team if you’re giving me more than a field goal. This should be a great game.”
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CBS Sports: Steelers 27, Ravens 24
Pete Prisco writes: “This is the game of the week. The Steelers are playing consecutive road games, while the Ravens are coming off a bye. Big edge to the Ravens. But the Steelers always seem to play tough against Baltimore, even on the road, and I think they will here in this one. The Steelers will take a tough road game by limiting Baltimore’s run game and stay undefeated.”
New York Times: Ravens will win, cover vs. Steelers
Benjamin Hoffman writes: “The Steelers (6-0) were forced to sweat a little at the end of last week’s win over Tennessee, but they survived to become the N.F.L.’s last remaining unbeaten team. That status should be tested, heavily, by the Ravens (5-1), who are coming out of a bye week and are likely relishing the chance to flex their collective muscle against a fellow heavyweight. This is the 25th time that Coach John Harbaugh has faced Coach Mike Tomlin, which will set a record for the Super Bowl era, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. And just as it has been in so many of those games, the matchup is a case of strength against strength: Pittsburgh has the N.F.L.’s most effective run defense, and Baltimore, despite results this year that are a bit below its typical standards, has the most fearsome collection of runners this side of the 1948 San Francisco 49ers. The Steelers minimized the mighty Titans running back Derrick Henry last week, proving how tough they can be, but it’s worth noting that the last player to top 100 yards rushing against Pittsburgh was Gus Edwards, who is effectively the third or fourth option for Baltimore on any running play but may have an increased role this week if Mark Ingram is forced out with an ankle injury. The teams excel at defending both the run and the pass. They both pass the ball and run the ball fairly well. And they both are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. That this game is wasted in a 1 p.m. time slot, while a putrid N.F.C. East matchup between Philadelphia and Dallas is in prime time, is unforgivable. But it should at least give Sunday an exciting start.”
Will Lamar Jackson lead the Baltimore Ravens to a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season? (Photo: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Bender writes: “Lamar Jackson threw three interceptions in his only start against the Steelers last season, but the Ravens still won 26-23. Baltimore had an extra week to get ready, and they take advantage in what should be the best game of the weekend.”
Sportsnaut: Steelers 24, Ravens 20
Vincent Frank writes: “Two legit AFC title contenders. Pittsburgh looking to put two games between itself and the defending AFC North champion Ravens. Strength against strength. A rivalry that has withstood the test of time. We couldn’t ask for a better matchup as the NFL season reaches its midway point. There’s a whole heck of a lot to look at here. Can Lamar Jackson finally solve the Steelers? He’s thrown one touchdown compared to three interceptions in three career starts against the team. That’s the biggest question given that points will be hard to come by in this one.”
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It writes: “The jury is also hung on Sunday’s highly anticipated AFC North matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, in which Baltimore is laying a tricky four points. Indeed, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Alejandro Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Hilton have all been out of practice for the Steelers, while Baltimore has had a chance to rest up. And with extra time to prepare (Week 1, post-bye or coming off a Thursday night game), the Ravens have won eight straight games by an average margin of 36-11. So don’t look for John Harbaugh’s squad to lay down in this spot. Still, Baltimore might not have running back Mark Ingram II for a matchup with a run defense that ranks No. 1 in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders. This won’t be easy either way.”
Vinnie Iyer writes: “The Ravens get the benefit of a bye to prepare for the perfect Steelers (6-0). They should fix some things offensively in terms of getting more receivers involved for Lamar Jackson and streamlining the traditional running game. The Ravens will get some big plays from Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews is a tough red zone cover for the Steelers as Jackson’s running neutralizes the Steelers’ pass rush a bit. The Ravens’ tough defensive backs will contain what Ben Roethlisberger can do to counter after slowing down the running game.”