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Ravens vs. Steelers NFL Week 5: Kenny Pickett now likely to play in always close rivalry

On Sunday when he went down with a knee injury in a blowout loss to Houston, the Pittsburgh Steelers feared that QB Kenny Pickett had suffered a season-ending issue. On Monday, the news came back pretty good that it was a bone bruise, and Pickett would miss some time but it wasn’t season ending. Here were Thursday and Pickett expects to play at home against vs. Baltimore on Sunday with the #RavensFlock at -4.

This series is always close as there have been six straight meetings decided by five or fewer points, tied for the fifth longest such streak in any matchup in league history. Pittsburgh won five of those six. An #NFL-high 22 meetings have decided by five or fewer points since 2007, seven more than any other matchup.

That spread had reached as high as -5 at some books when it appeared Mitchell Trubisky would be Sunday’s starter under center. It got down to -3.5 at a few yesterday with the Pickett update and could get back there if/when he’s fully cleared, although clearly he will have little mobility if so. Pickett, who was a limited participant Wednesday, added he's been wearing a knee brace in practice but isn't sure if he'll wear one in the game. "I’ll be ready to go by Sunday," Pickett said of playing.

Kenny Pickett may not have much mobility Sunday.

He will face a Baltimore defense that’s fourth in the NFL with 15 sacks, sixth with 30 quarterback hits and fifth with 59 blitzes on the season. There’s no question Pickett has taken a huge step back from the second half of last season when he truly was a different QB. He has four turnovers already this year compared to one in the final eight games of 2022 and his QB rating of 76.3 is 29th in the league.

The #Steelers are looking to avoid losing record through five games for a third straight year but have never finished with a losing record overall under Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh lost by 23 in Week 1 to San Francisco and by 24 to Houston last Sunday. Those are two of the nine largest losses in Tomlin’s coaching career. The last team to make the playoffs after losing two of its first four games by at least 23 points was the 2002 Jets. Pittsburgh is 4-0 ATS in its past four after a loss dating to last year and is: 5-1 SU & ATS in past six as a dog overall.

The total for Sunday has dropped from an open of 41 to 38. The under has hit in five straight meetings with an average of just 32.0 points scored per game. Neither team has topped 20 in that stretch.

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