NFL Picks: AFC North Powers Collide in Baltimore

Pittsburgh Steelers

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 1:50 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2017 1:50 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Steelers will hit the road this weekend to take on their chief rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams are coming off stunning losses as we analyze this pivotal showdown to determine which side will cover the number in our NFL picks.

Shake it Off

The Steelers, like the Ravens, were the victims of an unexpected loss and both are hoping to shake it off as they meet at M&T Bank Stadium this this weekend. Pittsburgh traveled to Soldier Field last week for a date with Bears and was installed as seven-point road chalk in a game that turned out to be a 23-17 outright loss, sending any and all Pittsburgh suicide pool entries into the dust bin.

The Ravens traveled to London to take on the upstart Jaguars and were never competitive. The NFL odds makers tagged them as 3 ½ point neutral site favorites but they couldn’t have been more wrong. The absence of All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda proved to Joe Flacco’s undoing as he was swarmed by a relentless Jacksonville pass rush throughout the day while the Baltimore defense was thunderstruck by Blake Bortles and the Jags aerial attack. When the dust settled, the Ravens were dismantled in a 44-7 defeat.

 

Steelers Get Healthy – Maybe

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt and linebacker TJ Watt were sidelined for last week’s game against the Bears but both could be in uniform for this pivotal showdown against the Ravens. That would be a huge boon to the Steelers’ defense while Pittsburgh’s right tackle Marcus Gilbert may return after missing last week’s game. If these starters return for the Steelers then this game is setting up as a big check mark in the win column for Pittsburgh. Even if all three don’t return, we still see the Pittsburgh defense eating the porous Ravens offensive front alive.

The Ravens possess merely a pedestrian rushing game and if Flacco can’t get time in the pocket then the passing attack will be more of a mild affront. On the flipside, the Pittsburgh offense is loaded with potential and if Antonio Brown gets loose then he alone could win the game for the Steelers as long as Big Ben gets him the ball. Le’Veon Bell is always dangerous in the backfield and his presence alone allows Roethlisberger time to focus on his targets as opponents must heed both the rushing and passing attacks, which is why a multidimensional offense is so crucial in today’s NFL.

Emotionally, this will be a tough game for the Ravens. Of course they have home field advantage but after getting pummeled last week by a team many perceive as one of the weak sisters in the league, it will be hard to face a legitimate contender like the Pittsburgh Steelers. These clubs split last year’s regular season meetings but this year is different and I believe the visitors own all the advantages in this matchup except the venue. Back Big Ben and the Steelers in your NFL picks this weekend.

Free NFL Pick: Steelers -2 ½ (-126)Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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