With the season potentially on the line, the Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to face AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens. For the third straight time, they will face backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, as former MVP Lamar Jackson is out with an injury once again. Here are five stats to look for in the Steelers’ Week 17 matchup.
18%. There is a scenario that sees the Steelers’ playoff odds jumping from 3% to 18% going into Week 18 according to Fivethirtyeight. This starts and ends with them beating the Ravens, as they are instantly eliminated with a loss. Mainly, they need the New England Patriots to beat the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks to beat the New York Jets. While 18% isn’t a lot, it looks much better than 3%, and gives them plenty to play for in the season finale.
200. In four of the past six matchups between the Steelers and Ravens dating back to the 2019 season finale, the Ravens have rushed for over 200 yards. This includes both games that saw Huntley starting, and each of the last three games the Steelers played at M&T Bank Stadium. After giving up 215 to Baltimore, the Steelers’ run defense has been stout. The Steelers’ record in the four games where the Ravens rushed for over 200 yards is 2-2, and 2-0 when the Ravens do not, making the key to victory clear.
1. In the last two games, the Steelers rank have the lowest run success rate allowed, while the Ravens rank have the highest success rate on run plays according to rbsdm.com. The Steelers held the league’s leading rusher in Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs to 44 yards, and the Carolina Panthers (who rushed for over 200 yards the game before and over 300 yards the game after) to 21 yards on the ground. On the other side, the Ravens ran for 138 on 13 carries against the Cleveland Browns, and 184 yards on 34 carries against the Atlanta Falcons. This will be a big test for the Steelers’ front, and it’s one they must be up for to keep the season alive.
0.081. Since Week 10, the Steelers have an offensive EPA of 0.081, which ranks eighth in the league in that span. They also rank fourth in run success rate, and tenth in total drop back success rate. Compare this with their first ten games, when they ranked 26th with -0.056 EPA per play, 22nd in total drop back success rate, and 19th in run success rate. The offense improved immensely after the bye week, and they must put together a strong performance against a tough Ravens’ defense.
7.7. According to PFF’s premium stats, Huntley throws a turnover-worthy pass on 7.7% of his throws when he is blitzed, which is the highest rate in the league among quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks. The Steelers’ defense ranks first in the league with 17 interceptions, and has the sixth-most blitzes called in the league. They must take advantage of Huntley’s mishaps.