After suffering embarrassing losses last Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens meet up for the next installment of this NFC North rivalry. Game time from Baltimore is set for 1:00 from M&T Bank Stadium. The game can be viewed on NFL Sunday Ticket or in select markets on CBS.
Both of these teams had opportune chances to go into this classic showdown 3-0. But the Steelers were stopped by the Bears of all teams, and the Ravens were flat-out wrecked by Jacksonville across the pond.
Pittsburgh has had problems getting each major piece of its offense going simultaneously. When QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown find a groove, it seems LeVeon Bell can’t do the same. And when the prized running back finally made it into the end zone last week, Roethlisberger’s quarterback rating dropped from 77.2 the week before to 26.
For Baltimore, they’re just trying to find any consistent resemblance of an offense. They’re dead-last in passing by over 45 yards per-game. They’re fourth in rushing thanks to the recent boost by Alex Collins, but they’ve gotten little production from Javorius Allen or Terrance West. It also doesn’t help that they’ve lost do-everything back Danny Woodhead to a hamstring injury.
The Ravens are field goal underdogs as of now, with the over/under score set at 42.
The best bet for this game would be to pick the under on 42 total points. The Ravens must answer a lot of issues on offense, starting with the synergy between QB Joe Flacco and his receivers. The quarterback has been noticeably on edge and is running the worst offense in the NFL. He’s had to do without Woodhead and has thrown an interception in nine straight games dating back to last year.
Unless Collins takes control of this game—and he probably won’t with the Ravens wanting West to play and help the passing game—then there’s no way Baltimore puts up their half of the over. They’re looking at 17 points, and unless they start early like in the first two games, they may not score more than 10.
They’ve been dreadful down the stretch in games, and reversed the quick start of their first two games with minus-1 yard in the first quarter last week. The Steelers are the third-best scoring defense in the league and have given up no more than 18 points in regulation. Don’t expect the Ravens to be the ones to change that figure.
Pittsburgh is getting healthier on defense too. LB T.J. Watt is back, as should fellow LB Bud Dupree in a larger capacity. Stephon Tuitt will also return on the line, even if he’s limited by his biceps injury.
On other side of the ball, Pittsburgh is still looking for an all-around performance. The line continues to be one of the NFL’s best, and should be able to combat a talented front seven of the Ravens. Roethlisberger has only been sacked six times this season. This may not be the game where Bell breaks out, but he will get a full load of carries.
As long as Roethlisberger doesn’t burn the defense with Brown or Martavis Bryant, it’ll remain a tight, low-scoring game through-and-through. But the Ravens secondary made a sup-par NFL QB like Blake Bortles look good last week, so they’ll need to clean up a lot by Sunday.
The Steelers will get the win, but the under is definitely still the best bet on Sunday.