Baltimore Ravens -3.5 @ Pittsburgh Steelers Over/Under 40.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) host their second prime time game in 6 days after losing perhaps their most important player in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in a narrow win Monday night. If they want to remain competitive in the AFC North the Steelers must accomplish a feat not yet achieved since Big Ben joined the club in 2004: defeat their bitter rival the Baltimore Ravens (7-2) minus the 6’5’’ signal caller. Pittsburgh is 0-4 versus the Ravens in this spot.
Roethlisberger left the contest versus Kansas City with a shoulder injury and underwent extensive testing. Further analysis revealed he dislocated a rib; a dangerous injury because the rib could cut into his aorta. There is no timetable for his return, but the 9th year vet does not believe the injury will keep him out for the season.
That means the Steelers are leaving their fate to Byron Leftwich who has not made a start since 2009 and has not won since October 6, 2006 while with the Jaguars.
Leftwich, who completed 7 of 14 attempts for 73 yards in relief on Monday, will have running back Rashard Mendenhall back in the lineup to help shore up the running game.
While the Steelers scraped by in OT the Ravens enjoyed their most comfortable win of the season, posting a club record 55 points to Oakland’s 20.
Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns leading a Ravens squad that scored on six of its first seven possessions and posted two special teams touchdowns.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers Under 40.5 (betting prediction)
These are two teams looking to get their running games back on track. Pittsburgh’s running back duo of Dwyer and Redman were held to a combined 77 yards on 27 carries last week. The ground attack had a minimum of 140 yards and 4.5 per carry in each of the previous three games. Combine Mendenhall’s return with the injury to Big Ben and things add up to big reps for the ground game.
Ray Rice is having another good year, but it hasn’t been the career year many pundits were predicting. Rice has 657 rushing yards and 7 TDs this year but has run the ball 47 times for 175 yards in Baltimore’s last three contests. Look for the Ravens to get him going early and often on Sunday night.
This AFC North battle is always slug fest and although both defenses are not what they used to be, they need no extra motivation to get up for this huge game.
The line opened at 45 and quickly dropped to -40.5. It is -40 at a lot of shops so get the hook while you can.
Play: Under 40.5 (5dimes.eu)
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