Point spread: Pittsburgh -3
The Baltimore Ravens will be looking for the season-series sweep against the Pittsburgh Steelers when the two AFC North rivals square-off this Sunday night at Heinz Field in a prime-time showdown for the lead in the division. Game time is set for 8:20 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
Baltimore’s season is at a crossroad as it heads into its second game against the Steelers this year. It is currently a half-game behind its nemesis at 5-2 straight-up (4-3 against the spread) and can not only take the outright lead with a win, but also secure the primary tie-breaker for the playoffs. A loss could put it back in the familiar position of battling for a wildcard spot.
The problem with the Ravens continues to be overall consistency. One week they knock-off Houston 29-14 as seven-point home favorites and the next they lose to Jacksonville 12-7 as 10-point road favorites. This past Sunday, they struggled to get past 1-6 Arizona with a 30-27 win as 12-point home favorites.
Pittsburgh also finds itself in a very familiar position as it knows that a win on Sunday night sets the stage for stretch run to another division title. It comes in at 6-2 SU (4-4 ATS) after posting a huge 25-17 victory over New England this past Sunday as a rare three-point home underdog. The total stayed ‘under’ the 52-point line and is now 4-4 on the year.
The Steelers dominated the Patriots in just about every aspect of the game except on the scoreboard. If there is one concern with this team moving forward, it would be their ability to put teams away. Their defense is ranked third in the NFL in points allowed, but their offense has struggled to put points on the board at times and is only averaging 22 points a game.
Baltimore is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games following an ATS loss. The total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of its last 14 games against the AFC North.
Pittsburgh is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following an ATS win. The total has gone ‘over’ in five of its last seven games against the AFC North.
Head-to-head in this series, the Ravens are 2-5-1 ATS in the last eight meetings and the total has gone ‘over’ in six of the last eight games played in Pittsburgh. Stick with the Steelers to avenge their opening-day 35-7 beatdown in Baltimore with a convincing win of their own.
The Free NFL Pick: Pittsburgh 24 Baltimore 13
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