Date/Time: November 28th, 8:30 PM ET
Spread: Ravens -3
It hasn’t been the best season in the world for either the Baltimore Ravens or the Pittsburgh Steelers. One though, will get back to .500 on the season and seize control of the last Wild Card slot in the AFC on Thanksgiving Day night when they meet at M&T Bank Stadium.
Pittsburgh is one of these teams which could be really sneaky if it gets its act together. We remain pessimistic, though. The Steelers are playing better defensive ball, and save for one horrid half of football against the Detroit Lions, they have been tremendous on that side of the ball since getting rocked by the New England Patriots a few weeks back. That said, this is still a team which has lost to the Oakland Raiders and has been dominated by teams like the Minnesota Vikings, and these three covers in a row don’t have us convinced. The ground game is still in shambles, and averaging 77.3 rushing yards per game, third worst in the league, is a telltale sign that something is still majorly wrong. Pittsburgh also ranks just 24th on the other side of the ball when it comes to the run, and no one on the team has more than a total of three forced turnovers. These are the calling cards that the Steelers won championships off of in the last decade, and they aren’t pulling them off here in 2013.
Color us pessimistic about the Ravens as well. They have had exactly one game where they have been able to run the football effectively essentially all season long, and that was a game that ended up being lost to the Chicago Bears. Baltimore has played well defensively, but against who? The only team that is even remotely reasonable that has challenged the men in purple and black of late is the Cincinnati Bengals. That win in overtime was one of the best wins of the season, but for as bad as the rest of the AFC is, we aren’t so sure what QB Joe Flacco and the gang have accomplished. Speaking of Flacco, he’s upset about how the Wildcat makes his team look like a “high school offense,” and that can’t be good for morale either. What else isn’t good? The fact that one of the highest paid players in football has predictably crashed this season. Joe Cool is back to his old ways, as he has 14 TDs and 14 INTs, numbers which are going to get him slaughtered in the media and perhaps in his own locker room as well.
These two teams are just brutal to watch, and with the weather threatening for high winds on Thursday night, the possibility is definitely there that this could be an ugly game when push comes to shove. Go with the ‘under’ in this one, knowing that there hasn’t been a game in this series in a year and a half that couldn’t be argued that it should have stayed ‘under’ the ‘total’.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens Pick: Under 40.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.