Last Sunday the Ravens took on the Detroit Lions and it was an ugly one. The Ravens destroyed the Lions 44-20 while the offense combined for a season best 361 yards!
While the Steelers played on Monday Night Football and beat the Cincinnati Bengals by a field goal that came in the last few seconds of a thrilling game filled with injuries and penalties.
With that being said let’s review what truly is in stake for this matchup. If the Steelers win in Heinz Field then they will have clinched the division and guaranteed playoff chances. While if the Ravens win they make a possible division pennant more feasible, but makes a wild card chance very reasonable.
Something that makes this matchup even more exciting is the history of this rivalry and how it is coming together on the nation stage of Sunday Night Football. These two teams have history of thrilling games and every time they meet its always a fun game.
A win for the Ravens would be great for the teams confidence as well as morale and playoff chances.
LB Za’Darius Smith: Doubtful
SS Mike Mitchell: Questionable
Middle Linebacker C.J Mosley scared some people after missing two days of practice with a neck injury. But, luckily he has been a full participant in practice back to back days. Nothing should stop Mosley from suiting up, which is especially key considering the Ravens lost one of their best defensive players in Jimmy Smith.
Another concern was free agent signing Jeremy Maclin who has dealt with injuries this season. Maclin is questionable but it has more to do with rest than an actual injury. Even if Maclin wasn’t to play I couldn’t see a much bigger difference because Mike Wallace has cemented himself as the number one wide receiver. Maclin only has 391 yards and three touchdowns.
The next injury is Za’Darius Smith who already isn’t a starter. But it means an increased role for second round pick Tyus Bowser which I am looking forward to seeing him play. Rookie Tim Williams who has been injured a lot this season also has a chance to show off.
Oddsshark Predicted Score: Steelers 28.7, Ravens 12.9
Spread Consensus: Pittsburgh -5
Last time the Ravens played Joe Flacco played the best game of his season. As many Ravens fans like to say ” Fear Playoff Joe!” It is time to ask ourselves if “Playoff Joe” really is here? My guess would be yes.
Flacco looks more motivated in the past weeks and has better connections with wide receiver Mike Wallace. Not to mention Alex Collins and the success he has been having of late.
Oh yeah, did I mention the Ravens have one of the best defenses in the NFL and Brandon Williams has returned and has helped the rushing game drastically?
Also, that the Steelers are missing their best cornerback Joe Haden. The Steelers are also missing their best linebacker Ryan Shazier and possibly won’t have safety Mike Mitchell.
Still not convinced? Take that the Ravens are statistically better than the Steelers. The Ravens have a +73 point differential while the Steelers have a +68, and also that Ben Roethlisberger has been historically bad against the Ravens.
Taking in all of this factors I am expecting a thrilling game but that the Ravens will come out on top 24-21.