Over the past two seasons, the Baltimore Ravens have claimed two division titles, their first since 2012, the year that they won the Super Bowl. They only reached the postseason once in between those appearances between 2012 and 2018. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in that one postseason game. And they are 3-1 against them in the regular season over the past two years.
Each of those three wins came with a different quarterback—Joe Flacco for their win in 2018, then Lamar Jackson for the first win in 2019, and Robert Griffin III starting the season finale while the team was resting starters.
One thing that we haven’t seen yet, though, is Lamar Jackson vs Ben Roethlisberger. Jackson took over the Ravens’ starting job in the game after the Steelers beat Baltimore in the middle of the 2018 season, when Flacco suffered a hip injury that kept him out for some time.
That was their second matchup of the year, and Roethlisberger would be out weeks before the two teams faced each other for the first time last season. Despite that, the Steelers did play the Ravens tough in Week Five. They were even leading when Mason Rudolph was given a concussion by Earl Thomas, and they ultimately lost in overtime.
In the regular season, Jackson has a 19-3 record as a starter. Two of those losses have come against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The only other game he lost was to the Cleveland Browns, in a game in which Nick Chubb rushed for three touchdowns. Jackson threw for three himself, and rushed for 66 yards, but was intercepted twice.
The Steelers intercepted him three times the following week in their overtime loss, accounting for five of the six interceptions that he threw all season. But he did beat Tom Brady. He did beat Russell Wilson. He did beat Deshaun Watson, and Jared Goff, and Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s beaten teams with good quarterbacks, to be sure. He’s beaten everybody he’s faced except for Mahomes.
How will a Roethlisberger-led Steelers team threaten him? The Ravens rarely played from behind last season, or if they did, it wasn’t for very long, and not by a significant amount. With Roethlisberger under center, at least in theory, Pittsburgh should have the firepower to put the pressure on him.
Interestingly, including the postseason, the Ravens lost all three of the games in which they gave up 24 or more points. The next-highest total they gave up was 23 to the Steelers, in the game in which they needed overtime to secure victory.
This might be an outlandish theory, but hear me out: it seems as though the key to beating a good team is to score a lot of points. Having a good offense with a legitimate starting quarterback should help the Steelers do that against the Ravens in 2020, which should put pressure on Jackson, and perhaps force him to commit errors they way he did in the majority of the games he lost or was taken to overtime.