NFL Football Betting Preview
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5)
Sunday November 29th, 8:20PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Baltimore -1, 39 O/U
The Pittsburgh Steelers have dropped two straight games to fall back to a disappointing 6-4 mark on the season after losing to Kansas City last week 27-24 in overtime. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger posted huge numbers in the contest completing 32 of 42 passes for 398 yards with 3 touchdowns. However, the extra period seemed to be very costly for Pittsburgh as Roethlisberger suffered a concussion that has his status up in the air for this week’s match-up with the Ravens. Baltimore on the other hand just fell short of knocking Indianapolis off of the unbeaten ranks, but the Colts pulled out a close 17-15 victory over the Ravens.
The Ravens are now at the .500 mark on the season and they must get a win over Pittsburgh to get back in the playoff race considering a loss would be devastating to those chances. The game is actually just as important for Pittsburgh considering a loss would separate even more distance between them and Cincinnati for the lead in the AFC North. The Steelers conquered Baltimore in all 3 meetings last year and there will be plenty of spice on this rivalry when the two square off again Sunday night.
Good news for Steelers nation is that Roethlisberger is expected to be cleared to play this Sunday against Baltimore which is huge considering backup Charlie Batch injured his wrist and is out for 6 weeks. So needless to say there is very little depth at the quarterback position and the Steelers offensive line must protect their quarterback. With Roethlisberger on the field, the Steelers will surely attack through the air as they have all year averaging 268 passing yards per game.
Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes have combined for more yards than any other duo in the league behind Randy Moss and Wes Welker of New England. Both Ward and Holmes have tallied over 750 receiving yards a piece and combined for 6 scores. Another additional threat that has emerged in recent weeks is running back Rashard Mendenhall which is great for Pittsburgh considering they have not had much of any type of running game this season. However, if the Steelers are to post some big numbers it will be through the passing game.
Of course the featured rivalry contest this Sunday night will feature two of the league’s most feared defenses. However, the Ravens defense is not near as dominating as they were a year ago. The Steelers on the other hand rank 1st in total defense again holding teams to 277 yards per game. Therefore, the Ravens will have to find a way to capitalize on all the opportunities they get to score because they could come few and far between. Baltimore QB Joe Flacco is have a decent year completing 65%, but he does have 8 turnovers which have caused a little concern. Flacco had another solid outing last week against the Colts completing 23 of 35 passing for 256 yards and he will need to be strong against the Steelers as well.
Running back Ray Rice has emerged into a big utility player rushing for 733 yards and racking up another 515 yards receiving. WR Derrick Mason is not having the season he did last year, but is still a lurking threat on the outside. The key for Baltimore will be establishing the run and keep the Pittsburgh offense off the field. If they can do that and stay in Roethlisberger’s face then perhaps they can rattle him from his concussion sustained last week.
Pick – Ravens