PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to build on their first win of the season, a convincing 27-3 dismantling the Cincinnati Bengals. They’ll get the opportunity this Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens, coming off a division loss to the Cleveland Browns, visit Heinz Field.
The Steelers aren’t the same team without Big Ben, whose injured elbow has sidelined him for the season. Mason Rudolph continues under center in a reined-in Steelers offense that still managed to top the win-less Bengals. Rudolph seems to be settling in, going 24-28 for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Though let’s remember that his performance came against the Bengals and included mostly short passes, often behind the line of scrimmage. The Steelers defense erupted for eight sacks against Andy Dalton, holding him to just 171 yards passing and no touchdowns.READ MORE: North Fayette Township Rallies Together To Support 4-Year-Old Zoey Bair's Battle With Anaplastic Ependymoma
The Baltimore Ravens are looking for a bounce-back game. After starting the season in convincing fashion — with two wins over the sub-par Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals — they fell to earth in Week 3. The Kansas City Chiefs have a way of doing that to teams. A disappointing 40-25 loss to the uneven Browns followed that.
The Ravens find themselves at 2-2, tied with the Browns for the lead in an AFC North that’s just there for the taking. The Steelers, at 1-3, await them in the next installment of what CBS Philadelphia’s Don Bell describes as “…the preeminent rivalry in that division for a long time now.” A Steelers win would pull them into a three-way tie for the division lead, if the Browns lose to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.
Easier said than done. The Ravens are a better team than the Bengals. Lamar Jackson is an up-and-coming, dual-threat NFL star. He’s put up 300-plus yards of offense in every appearance this season. The offense can pile up points under his leadership, as they proved in Week 1. And the defense can be one of the better units in the League, when it shows up.READ MORE: FEMA Program To Reimburse Families' Funeral Expenses For COVID-19 Related Deaths
Further still, the Ravens will be looking to redeem themselves. “The Ravens are particularly angry after their last two weeks,” says Bell. “The way they played, obviously a loss to Kansas City and then a loss last week as well. They’re better than this. They’re better than 2-2.”
Their loss to the Browns was extra embarrassing. Baker Mayfield picked them apart, going 20-30 for 342 yards. Nick Chubb amassed 165 yards and three touchdowns on just 20 carries.
The Ravens will be ready for the first of two games against the Steelers this season. Looking back, “the Steelers typically have a difficult time beating the Ravens with Ben Roethlisberger,” notes Bell. “I think it’s going to be very difficult to do it without him.”
While Bell likes the Ravens over the Steelers, oddsmakers see them as just 3.5-point favorites. That’s a slim margin, if Rudolph continues to thrive for the Steelers in the starting role.MORE NEWS: Multi-Vehicle Crash On I-376 Westbound Shuts Down All Lanes
The Steelers play the Ravens Sunday @ 1:00 ET on CBS.