Line: Ravens -2

The 0-3 Baltimore Ravens travel to Pittsburgh to take on the 2-1 Steelers in a game that will be played without Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben sprained his MCL in the 3rd quarter of lasts week road win over St. Louis by a score of 12-6. The Ravens meanwhile are still winless after their third defeat in a row by less than 7 points losing 28-24 to the Bengals. Roethlisberger’s is out indefinitely and the Steelers haven’t yet given a date for his return. This is the first time Joe Flacco’s has ever started out 0-3 and what’s worse is they had to chances to win in all 3 games.

The loss of Ben Roethlisberger is huge because he has thrown for over 900 yards and has completed over 75% of his passes in 2+ games. Michael Vick is the backup and while he did go 5-6 for 38 yards on Sunday, The Steelers can’t expect Vick to duplicate Roethlisberger’s numbers. Fortunately, the Defense is coming off a monster game in which they only allowed 6 points and 73 yards rushing. They held Nick Foles to 197 yards and 0 touchdowns while also making an interception. Offensively Levean Bell and Antonio Brown both had huge games. Bell had 70 receiving yards while also rushing for 62 more and touchdown. Brown had 11 receptions for 108 yards. The only other negative in this game besides losing Ben is that the offensive line allowed 3 sacks and Le’veon Bell was the only Steeler to rush for more than 2 yards.

While there were several things that went wrong last week for the Ravens, their lack of running of a running game has to be at the top. As a team they ran the ball 18 times for a total of 36 yards with a fumble. Starting running back Justin Forsett is the most surprising as he ran the ball 10 times and only picked up 13 yards. Overall offensively they were solid with Joe Flacco throwing for 362 yards and 2 touchdowns. His favorite target was Steve Smith Sr. who had a monster day with 13 receptions for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively they struggled with to contain Andy Dalton who threw for 383 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for another. They also allowed AJ Green to rack up 227 yards and touchdown. They did however limit the Bengals to only 86 rushing yards and were able to force a fumble and pick off Dalton.

This is a must win game for the Steelers as only a handful of teams made the playoffs after starting the year 0-4. They are fortunate Roethlisberger is out and should be able to contain the now 35 year old Vick who has thrown only 6 passes all year so far. However, this is the first time in recent years Vick is able to play with 2 absolute superstars in Bell and Brown who carry most of the offense.

Pick: Ravens -2

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