On Sunday, the Ravens will take on the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Ravens (8-6) kept their slim playoff chances alive with a win over the Eagles in week 15. Meanwhile, if the Steelers take care of business this week, they’ll clinch the AFC North title and a ticket to the playoffs. This game will kick off at 4:30 PM. ET.
Last week against Philadelphia, the Ravens eked out a one-point victory. Raven’s quarterback, Joe Flacco had another shaky performance. He threw another interception and barely completed over 50 percent of his passes. Flacco did, however, manage to pass for two touchdowns. The passing attack of the Ravens has struggled all season to find consistency. The Ravens rank 11th in passing in according to NFL Stats. However, in terms of scoring, the Ravens rank 18th with a mere 19 receiving touchdowns on the season.
Unfortunately for Baltimore, the Steelers rank 13th in terms of pass defense according to NFL Stats. Flacco will need to challenge the Steelers secondary, but that requires a strong effort from the Ravens offensive line. The Ravens have a better than average offensive line. If they have any chance of pulling off the upset, then the entire offensive unit will need play with a playoff like intensity. Luckily for Baltimore and fans alike, Baltimore and Pittsburgh tend to bring out the best in each other.
The Steelers are in the driver seat for AFC North title. Pittsburgh has won five straight contests. Last week against the Bengals, Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 286 yards and a touchdown on his way to a 24-20 victory over the Bengals.
While the offense has been consistent over their winning streak, it’s the effort of the Steelers defense that’s truly helped their playoff surge. The Steelers rank 7th in total yards according to NFL Stats. In comparison, the Ravens rank 5th in the league this season.
Despite the Steelers offensive prowess, expect a low scoring affair all around. In terms of scoring, the Steelers rank 9th in terms of points allowed per game, while the Ravens rank 7th according to NFL Stats. If one of these defenses have a weakness, it’s the Ravens pass defense. On the season, Baltimore has allowed 24 passing touchdowns. Those stats bode well for Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ receivers.
Both the Steelers and Ravens have exceedingly strong run defenses. The Steelers rank 5th in terms of rushing defense according to NFL Stats, while the Ravens rank 2nd in the league this season. Last week against the Bengals, Le’Veon Bell rushed for 93 yards on 23 carries. He also chipped in five catches on eight targets for 38 yards. Bell is one of the best backs in the league, but facing a Ravens run defense that allows an average of 3.5 yards per rush is a challenge for any rusher. Expect Bells biggest contributions to come in the passing game this week.
The odds makers favor the Steelers in this game by 6 points, and that seems about right. The Ravens have been a strong defensive team, but most of their wins have come against sup par opponents. While the Ravens are certainly an inconsistent team, they’ve consistently played well against the Steelers on the road. Going back to 2014, the Ravens are 5-1 in the regular season and playoffs when facing the Steelers. If the Ravens pull off the upset on the road, they will have swept their division rivals in back to back seasons.
Steelers Vs Ravens Betting Lines
Right now, the Steelers are far and away the superior team on paper. But, games aren’t won on paper. The Ravens are an opportunistic opponent. While it’s safe to expect the Steelers to control the game, don’t count on them running away with it. Flacco will rise to the occasion and keep this game close till the end. The Steelers will get the victory, but expect Baltimore to cover the spread.
Play: Ravens +6 @ BetOnline.ag