2015 NFL Preview- Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

This Thursday, October 1 the 0-3 Baltimore Ravens will try to get their first win of the season against the 2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s true that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season with a torn ACL, but that doesn’t mean that the Steelers are out of this game. After all, Pittsburgh does have Michael Vick as a their backup. The Ravens are presently in last place in the NFC North while the Steelers are in second.

Baltimore Offense vs. Steeler Defense

Baltimore’s QB Joe Flacco (4 TDs, 4 INTs, 2 Sacks) has completed 65.1% of his passes and has a rating of 82.2. His top receivers are Steve Smith Sr. (25 REC, 14.0 AVG. 2 TDs) and Crockett Gilmore (10 REC, 15.1 AVG, 2 TDs). Smith has big play potential. RB Justin Forsett (39 ATT, 3.2 AVG, 0 TDs) is the primary ground gainer.

The Raven offense must deal with a tough Pittsburgh linebacking unit and frontline. The Steelers have held opponents to 52 points, which is third least in the NFC and fewest points allowed in the division. LB Ryan Shazier, TE Stephon Tuitt, and LB Bud Dupree have combined for 5.5 sacks, more than half of the Steeler total. In the secondary, SS Will Allen has been effective. Baltimore will have a difficult time putting points on the board against this crew.

Pittsburgh Offense vs. Baltimore Defense

QB Ben Roethlisberger had been performing well before he was injured in last week’s game. With a QB rating of 113.1, Roethlisberger was doing a lot right. Veteran Michael Vick replaced him, and although he did not dazzle, he did play well. The Steelers will use Vick to set up the run and for short and mid-range passes. Look for RB DeAngelo Williams (42 ATT, 4.9 AVG, 3 TDs) to get the ball a lot and for Vick to toss outlet passes to top receivers Antonio Brown (29 REC, 15.0 AVG, 2 TDs) and Darius Heyward-Bey (11 REC, 14.0 AVG, 1 TD).

Pittsburgh’s 76 points equals fairly solid offensive output especially when put in contrast to Baltimore’s defense, which has allowed 84 points, the fourth most in the AFC. Like the Steelers, the Ravens are fairly sound against the run. Baltimore LB C. J. Mosely, with 17 solo tackles, 4 assists, and 2 sacks, is one tough competitor.

However, the Raven D may have trouble containing Williams who is off to a great start. Vick will try to find some holes in the Baltimore pass defense, which includes the crafty and skilled play of CB Jimmy Smith (3 PDs, 2 INTs). It won’t be easy for the Steelers to do so, but they will utilized determined effort to cross the goal line a few times.

Other Considerations

The Ravens have lost two games by 4 points and one by 6. In a way, they are due for a win. But that doesn’t mean they’ll get a “W,” especially against a club like Pittsburgh. Between a close loss by 7 to the Pats and tight win by 6 against the Rams, Pittsburgh blew out San Francisco 48-13.

If it comes down to field goals, then Baltimore has an advantage with the almost perfect Justin Tucker hitting from just about anywhere. Pittsburgh’s Josh Scobee had some problems in the first game, but since then has been more accurate. However, there are concerns about him when he’s kicking from 40 yards out and beyond.

Best Bet

The Ravens are favored at minus 3. That may be a bit optimistic for a club that has struggled up to this point. Although Roethlisberger is out for the duration, the Steelers offense does have a solid veteran ready to step up and into the pocket. Plus, their running game has been very effective. Take the Steelers in this one and the under at 44 points looks like a smart bet.

October 1, 2015 by : Posted in NFL, Sportsbook No Comments

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