3 reasons why the Steelers can upset the Ravens in Week 5
Steelers’ Nation is down in the dumps. After having their second loss of the season by three scores, this time against a team who was picking towards the top of the draft in 2022, there is very little to be encouraged about moving forward when it comes to the Steelers.
But with a new game comes a new opportunity.
Yes, the Steelers face the AFC North division-leading Ravens in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Ravens are coming off a big win themselves by handing the Cleveland Browns a 28–3 shellacking. Baltimore is a team that is trending up after their embarrassing defeat in overtime to the Indianapolis Colts where the Steelers are still in the aftermath of their latest loss which came in a blowout.
There aren’t many who are giving the Steelers much of a chance to pull this game out on Sunday. I had been one of those many people. When looking how the Ravens are ranked towards the top of the league in so many statistical categories while the Steelers are at the bottom, I’m shocked that the spread is only three points regardless of the game being in Pittsburgh. But after reviewing some other numbers, I’m coming around and think that Steelers could very well pull off this upset.
Here are three significant reasons why the Steelers could very well win this game on Sunday regardless of what the matchup says on paper.
Coming off a big loss
I must admit, I didn’t think to look up these numbers until I listen to Jim Wexell on the Steel City Insider podcast which can be found on Steel Curtain Network’s Wednesday podcast lineup. During the show, one where Jim and co-host Jeremy Hritz had guest Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Mr. Wexell brought up how the Steelers typically bounce back the week following a big loss.
I decided to check the numbers, and it appears this has been the case more often than not. Under Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh just experienced their 21st loss by 14 points or more. Of those previous 20 games, one game was to end the season in 2019 so the Steelers did not have a game in the same season which followed the loss. Of the other 19 games, the Steelers are 14–5 the next game after losing by 14 points or more. Additionally, the Steelers have won their last five games following a loss of 14 or more points.
But let’s not stop there. Both of the Steelers losses this season have been by more than 20 points. In looking at the losses where the Steelers fell in defeat by at least 21 points, there have been 12 such games since 2007. In those games, the Steelers have gone 10–2 the following game. Even last season when the Steelers lost blowout games to the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, their next game (although the game following the Eagles came after the bye) the Steelers were victorious.
Taking it one step further, the Steelers loss to Houston last week falls into another special category as not only did the Steelers lose by more than 20 points, it was a game they were favored to win. This has happened two other times since 2007 and the Steelers have bounced back to win both games the following week.
Week 5 vs. Week 4
This statistic I looked up for something that may not have been obvious to look into. After thinking about how the Steelers lost their game to the Jets in 2022 that they should have won during Week 4, I started to think about how long it has been since the Steelers were victorious during said week of the season. Looking back, even with the Steelers 11–0 start in 2020, they had their bye weak thrust upon them in Week 4 and did not play. It was 2019 the last time the Steelers were victorious in Week 4 with a 27–3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals led by Mason Rudolph for their first win of the season.
In order to get this information, I researched all the Week 4 games under Mike Tomlin. What stood out to me was how few “W’s” were listed. Including the Steelers game last week, their record in Week 4 since 2007 is 5–10.
That’s right, I said 5–10.
The next worst record of any week in the NFL season by the Steelers since 2007 is Week 3 that comes in at 8–9. After that, there is one week of the season where the Steelers are .500 which is Week 14 with an 8–8 record.
For some reason, whether it be the very end of September or, in this case, the first day of October, the Steelers don’t play their best football with this time.
So what week of the season sees the most success for the Steelers?
The top of the list comes at the very end of the season where since 2007 the Steelers are 13–3 in Week 17 and 2–0 in the last two seasons where the regular season now goes to Week 18. But after that, the next best record is a three-way tie at 11–3 in Week 5, Week 6, and Week 9.
Taking into account these numbers of both coming off a big loss and being Week 5 versus Week 4, perhaps this Steelers team is ready to put some things together. And they will need to because this week…
It’s the AFC North
When we’re talking AFC North football, throw the records and ranks out the door. It doesn’t matter if one team is 10–0 and the other is 0–10, there’s still no guarantee in the projected outcome in these match ups. That means it doesn’t matter if one team is ranked at the top of the NFL in most statistical categories while the other is ranked at the bottom, all these things are irrelevant when these teams take the field.
Perhaps it’s me as a Steelers fan living in Maryland, but it seems like when the Steelers play the Ravens it takes AFC North football to an even higher level. So this week it’s not just AFC North football, it’s AFC North football on steroids. And when that occurs, all bets are off.
I’ve seen games between these two teams that nobody expected to be close coming down to the wire, and I’ve seen games where one team is supposed to run away with it only to find themselves falling in defeat. It’s what happens when it’s Steelers versus Ravens. And if you’re going into a matchup as the underdog in an “anything can happen game,” then look for anything to happen being something in your favor.
So there I just outlined for you the three reasons why I am looking for the Steelers to upset the Ravens this Sunday at Acrisure Stadium. If I looked harder, I could probably find so many more reasons as to why they won’t. I guess we’ll just have to tune in Sunday to find out.