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Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Pick with Analysis
John J. Raspanti
It’s payback time as the first place Steelers (6-2) meet the second place Ravens (5-2) in Pittsburgh. The current line has the Steelers favored by -3.5 with a total of 42 at betonline in what will me the marquee game of the week.
The last time these two teams met the Ravens annihilated the Steelers 35-7. The Raven defense forced seven turnovers including three Ben Roethlisberger interceptions. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw for over 200 yards and three touchdown passes.
The Ravens looked ready to play while the Steelers looked ready for another exhibition game. Since their impressive victory, the Ravens have been in search of offensive consistency. The Titans whipped the Ravens 29-14 in week two while the Jaguars of all people embarrassed them on national television. Last week they came back from a 24-3 deficit to nip the lowly Cardinals 30-27.
Since losing to the Texans in week three, the Steelers have won four in a row. Last week they dominated the New England Patriots on both sides of the ball. The Steeler defense held perennial MVP Tom Brady to 198 yards passing. Offensively Roethlisberger completed 36 of 50 passes for 365 yards and two scores. For the season, Big Ben has completed 64 percent of his passes and tossed 14 touchdowns. Running back Rashard Mendenhall has picked-up 421 yards on the ground. Wide receiver Mike Wallace is the Steeler deep threat. He’s averaging over 18 yards a catch and has scored six times. Antonio Brown has 34 catches, while old veteran Hines Wide has chipped in with 26. The Steeler defense ranks only behind the Ravens statistically. Free safety Ryan Clark leads the team with 50 tackles, while hard-hitting Troy Polamala has 48. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley has collected nine sacks, but his availability could be a game time decision. James Harrison status is uncertain at this time.
The Raven defense continues to sparkle while the offense struggles. 38-year-old Ray Lewis continues to amaze. Lewis leads the team with 55 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a interception. Torrell Suggs and cornerback Ladarius Webb are also playing inspired football. Quarterback Flacco has completed only 54 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Flacco played like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last week against the Cardinals. Booed after a fumble and interception, Flacco redeemed himself in the second half by throwing for almost 200 yards. Running back Ray Rice has gained 489 yards and caught 33 passes out of the backfield. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin is Flacco’s number one target with 34 catches.
The Steelers want some revenge and will likely feast on a struggling Raven offense. Roethlisberger and company should do just enough in leading the Steelers to victory. Steelers -3.5
***Note - the official Bettorsworld position on this game may differ from the author of this article. Be sure to check out our pick, available on our home page by Friday where we pick every game on the board.
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