All eyes are on Ben Roethlisberger this week as Pittsburgh heads to Baltimore. Will he play or will he not? That is the question. This Game is a crucial one. Pittsburgh is 4-3 and leads the AFC North. Baltimore is 3-4 after losing Four straight and is in third place. The Steelers are desperate to have Roethlisberger back. The Ravens are desperate for a win. On top of all of that, these two have one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL.
Roethlisberger has been taking first-team reps in practice, and he is one of the toughest in the Game. An injured meniscus is no injury to rush back from, but my guess is that he will play this weekend. That would be a welcome sight to Pittsburgh fans as Roethlisberger’s 7.5 yards per attempt has been replaced by LAndry Jones’ 5.9 yards per attempt.
Le’Veon Bell has come back strong from his suspension. He’s run the ball for 344 yards on 69 carries so far. Bell’s 5.0 yards per carry average is the highest of his career to this point.
Bell has added to an already dynamic passing attack as well. He, Antonio Brown and Sammie Coates are combing for over 205 receiving yards per Game.
Baltimore’s defense ranks 4th overall, 6th in pass and 4th in rush in terms of yards allowed per Game. My guess is that this will prove to be one of their toughest tests of the entire season should Roethlisberger be on the field.
Joe Flacco is still pacing well at a projection of about 4,200 passing yards this season, but he’s been abysmal when it comes to touchdown to interception ratio. Flacco has only thrown five touchdowns in the team’s first seven Games. That’s to go along with six interceptions as well.
Steve Smith has been listed as “questionable” for this Game. He’s been averaging over 60 yards receiving per Game. Mike Wallace has been good as well. He’s averaging 70.0 yards per Game. OUtside of these two, though, there just hasn’t been a lot of help.
Terrance West and Justin Forsett have been adequate but not scary for opponents. They will need to help out, especially if Smith does not play.
Pittsburgh has been below average defensively this year. They are giving up 390.1 yards per Game — 283.4 through the air and 106.7 on the ground. Flacco should be able to take advantage of their coverage unit, but I don’t know that he has enough help at wide receiver as a whole.
**Note – Rothlisberger is likely to play.
Our Pick – Steelers -2.5