The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) are looking for a rebound after a 30-6 Week 4 blunder in Houston. To do that, they’ll have to defeat the team alone atop the AFC North.

The Ravens (3-1) are traveling to Pittsburgh for their third divisional road matchup in the first five games of the season. Thus far, they’ve passed every test. In Week 2, they beat Cincinnati. They’re coming off an impressive performance in Cleveland against one of the league’s best defenses in Week 4.

Against the Browns, who were without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Ravens were fully in control. Lamar Jackson totaled four touchdowns, and the Ravens held the Browns to 166 total yards as they won 28-3.

With their second consecutive AFC North win, the Ravens took control of the division. The Steelers lost to the Texans, and the Bengals fell to 1-3 after a loss to the Titans.

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The Ravens left that contest with a few injuries, but none appeared to be too serious. And, since then, the injury outlook has only improved. Star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot), who has been out since mid-August, returned to the practice field this week, as did starting wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) and Rashod Bateman (hamstring). There’s hope left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and safety Marcus Williams (pectoral) will be back Sunday, too.

Baltimore doesn’t need any of those guys to win against an uneven Pittsburgh team, but having them only increases its odds.

Here’s our full preview of Sunday’s matchup.

Players to know

Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson can expect to see a lot of targets Sunday. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Kenny Pickett

The Steelers continue to receive good news regarding the health of their starting quarterback. Pickett, who sustained an elbow bruise in Week 4, expects to play against the Ravens. After being limited at practice Wednesday, Pickett practiced fully Thursday.

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Roquan Smith

The leader of the Ravens’ defense — who drew a Ray Lewis comparison from Jackson this week — Smith is in early consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. He’s been a top-10 defensive player in his first full campaign in Baltimore. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith is on pace to make 63 tackles resulting in a defensive stop with eight sacks. He also has the second-highest PFF coverage grade among linebackers.

Patrick Peterson

The veteran cornerback, playing his 13th season, might be a player Jackson targets often this weekend. Although Peterson is still a productive player, it’s clear teams don’t fear him as the shutdown threat the way they used to. In Week 4, Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud targeted him six times, and Peterson allowed five catches. Those catches averaged 18.8 yards per play and a total of 94 yards, per PFF, with 58 yards coming after the catch.

The Ravens’ passing game is looking up with Jackson likely getting back Beckham and Bateman to complement tight end Mark Andrews. Rookie Zay Flowers might get his first touchdown of the season, too. Peterson could get a lot of work in this game.

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What’s at stake

For the Steelers: Every division game has high stakes. This one is no different. At 2-2, the Steelers need a win to stay above .500 and in the AFC North race.

For the Ravens: After topping the Bengals in Week 2 and Browns in Week 4, a third road victory against a divisional opponent this early in the season would put the Ravens firmly atop the division.

What people are saying

“I don’t think you could possibly stand out in this craft as a football player unless there’s things about you that are very unique. Sometimes it’s the simplest things and just being great at those things – that is unique because the simplest things are sometimes the hardest things to be consistently great at, and that’s one of the things he does. He’s relentlessly chasing every detail of his craft, and he does with an enthusiasm and a demeanor and a confidence that you pretty much … you respect it when you see it, that’s for sure.” — Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Smith

“I felt like it was slo-mo when it was in the air – just the placement of it, the height of it, the spiral. It was an incredible ball. He’s [been] making throws like that over and over and over and over. It’s just nice that people are seeing it, and for us it’s just being there for him and making plays when they matter.” — Andrews on his back-of-the-end-zone touchdown catch from Jackson in Week 4

“I’ll be ready to go by Sunday.” — Pickett

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“Anytime you join this organization, and they talk about this game, it’s the game that defines you and makes you a Raven. When I was on their sideline, my rookie year, [Steelers coach] Mike Tomlin was looking at me [and] yelling at me, ‘You’re not a Raven. You’re not a Raven. You’re not supposed to be there. You’re not one of them,’ so every time I play them, it’s something personal.” — Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen

By the numbers

Steelers

Offensive DVOA: -25.9% (30th)

Defensive DVOA: -3.7% (15th)

Special teams DVOA: 1.7% (16th)

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Ravens

Offensive DVOA: 13.4% (10th)

Defensive DVOA: -22.1% (4th)

Special teams DVOA: -3.1% (26th)

On the air

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday

TV: CBS, Paramount+

Radio: 98 ROCK, WBAL 1090 AM

aron.yohannes@thebaltimorebanner.com

Aron Yohannes joined The Baltimore Banner in June 2023 as a reporter. He previously reported on trending topics in sports for The Oregonian. He began his career covering the Milwaukee Bucks from 2012-2016 for SB Nation before working for the Seattle Seahawks from 2016-2018. Aron is Eritrean and a native of the north side of Milwaukee.

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