Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers - 1/3/15 NFL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
NFL Football: Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 8:15 pm (Heinz Field)
The Line: Pittsburgh Steelers -4 -- Over/Under: 46.5 See the Latest Odds
The Baltimore Ravens look to pull off the minor upset in Pittsburgh on Saturday as the two bitter AFC North rivals square off in playoff action at Heinz Field.
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The Baltimore Ravens were the epicenter of the league in the early part of this season as they had to deal with the Ray Rice fiasco but that was quickly brushed aside thanks to the distractions from Roger Goodell and Adrian Peterson and by the on field performances of Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett. The Ravens qualified for the playoffs yet again and were the third AFC North team to lock up a berth thanks to a win on the final Sunday of the season but their reward is a date on the road at Heinz Field against their arch rivals in what should be a very physical and emotionally charged contest. The Ravens continue to rely on Joe Flacco throwing the football and while he hasn't had the most spectacular season statistically he always seems to step up when it matters most and as such he has some hardware to show for it. Baltimore's defense remains strong and they'll need to be on point in this one as the Steelers are loaded offensively and even if Le'Veon Bell can't play they have a ton of weapons including Antonio Brown who is one of the game's most dynamic players and in prime time he will be turned up.
The Steelers finished the season with an 11-5 mark and won the AFC North but their season finale and the post game celebrations were overshadowed by the injury to Bell and his status remains uncertain though it is very unlikely that he will suit up. Bell has been a huge part of the team's offense this season and his presence in the back field opens up the passing game for Roethlisberger and Brown and against a Ravens secondary that has been lackluster this season it could be a massive weekend for the aerial attack of the Steelers. Pittsburgh signed Ben Tate this week and he could jump in immediately and establish the run but adjusting to the system leading up to a playoff game is tough and he could be rendered ineffective especially considering the Ravens would have seen him against Cleveland earlier this year. The money is pouring in on the Steelers right now as the line has moved up past a field goal indicating the public or the sharps are on Pittsburgh but without their co-MVP in Bell I think the offense will be a little disrupted and while the Steelers could very well come away with the win I think Baltimore's familiarity and success in pressure situations and their ridiculous defensive line could be the difference in getting us a cover here.