As we heard for most of the offseason, Mike Tomlin holds a rather impressive distinction in the modern-day NFL. Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007, and the franchise has never finished below .500. That was expected to come to an end this year with the Steelers selecting a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft to start rebuilding, and the Steelers were 2-6 at the midway point of the season. However, they have since won five of their last seven games and can get to 8-8 with a win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
The most intense modern-day rivalry in the NFL was flexed to Sunday Night Football for the penultimate week of the regular season. The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North slobberknocker on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.
NFL Week 17 Betting Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5
Baltimore Ravens -3.5
Money Line: Steelers +161, Ravens -186
As of Thursday morning, the Baltimore Ravens are 2.5-point home favorites by the NFL betting odds against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Originally, Baltimore was a four-point favorite, but action has come in on Pittsburgh as it looks like Lamar Jackson might sit out another week with a knee injury. That has also resulted in the total of this game dropping from 36.5 to 34.5 points.
Rookie Kenny Pickett has played well under center for the Steelers over the last two months. Pickett needed some time to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL and threw two touchdowns against eight interceptions in his first five starts in October. However, he has since settled down with three touchdown passes against just one interception in his last six games. Pickett was knocked out of Pittsburgh’s first meeting with Baltimore on the first drive of the game three weeks ago, resulting in Mitch Trubisky entering and tossing three interceptions. There were holes in Baltimore’s secondary that Trubisky did exploit, but the turnovers cost them the game.
Diontae Johnson and George Pickens combined to catch nine passes for 160 yards for Pittsburgh in defeat. Johnson is questionable to play this week with a toe injury, but Pickens is ready to suit up and continues to dazzle in his rookie season. Tight end Pat Freiermuth should play a big role, yet the biggest question for the Steelers is whether Najee Harris and the ground game can get something going. Harris averaged less than 3.0 YPC against the Ravens three weeks ago, while Baltimore had 42 carries for 215 yards and a TD.
Along those lines, Pittsburgh’s defense must do a better job of stopping the run. The Steelers have been able to shut down most teams’ ground games, but they have struggled with Baltimore, especially if Lamar Jackson is lined up under center.
We haven’t seen Lamar Jackson in action since he injured his knee in the first quarter of a 10-9 victory over Denver back on December 4. Jackson was having another fine season, but he was injured at roughly the same point he was during the 2022 campaign, and Tyler Huntley was unable to pilot the team to the playoffs. Huntley has performed a little better this time around for Baltimore, but he is completing 67% of his passes for just 5.8 YPA with one touchdown and two interceptions in five games, and he is only averaging 3.1 YPC compared to Jackson’s 6.8 YPC.
Tight end Mark Andrews hasn’t been nearly as effective since Huntley became the starting quarterback either. Andrews is one of the top tight ends in the conference, but he has just eight receptions for 93 yards on 18 targets over Baltimore’s last three games. The silver lining for this franchise is that J.K. Dobbins has been effective upon his return, and the ground game has taken a good deal of pressure off of Huntley’s shoulders.
This Baltimore defense has been one of the best in the NFL over the second half of the season. The Ravens really struggled in the secondary through the first two months, but they have since picked up their play. They are third in the NFL in scoring defense (18.1 PPG) and 10th in the league in total defense (327.0 YPG) now, but starters Calais Campbell, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Marcus Peters are all questionable to play this week.
Steelers at Ravens Free Pick
If Jackson is able to play, Baltimore is the pick. However, if Huntley gets the start, Pittsburgh will avenge an earlier defeat and play a much more controlled game to knock off the Ravens.
BookMaker offers play-by-play betting odds for live sporting events every day! The user-friendly wagering interface on your smartphone provides an easy way to place bets on the go. Mobile betting lines are updated by the minute, so click here to start gambling on thrilling live action at BookMaker Sportsbook!
Check out the latest odds at BookMaker