Pittsburgh Steelers (pk) @ Baltimore Ravens Pick & Preview: I wouldn’t bet this game. There it is, my advice to you. If Big Ben is healthy enough to play, and he makes it through even most of this game, I think the Steelers pull it out – but an early week injury update of “probable” has moved to “questionable” and the Ravens really bring the heat and hit harder than any defense in the NFL. I am still sticking with the Steelers, as bruised and battered as they are, but I’m going to have to wear this one on the chin like an Iron Mike uppercut if Dennis Dixon takes all the snaps for Pittsburgh this week. You never know, but if Big Ben sits, I like my pick-em Steelers pick a lot less. But I would still be excited to see what one of the better running college quarterbacks I ever watched could do on an NFL stage.
This game is off the books in all but 3 sportsbooks that I pay attention to, and for the same reasons I warn you to stay off this game. But Pittsburgh has beaten the Ravens in 4 of the last 5 meetings, and 3 in a row including a play-off game last season. Pittsburgh has lost 2 straight, and three straight just seems unlikely. The Ravens have lost three straight, and haven’t looked very good offensively since their 30-7 win over Denver 4 weeks ago.
So far, the Ravens have only beaten the mediocre to low-level NFL teams (aside from the Broncos). They have wins over Cleveland (twice), Kansas City, and San Diego (back earlier in the year when SD was struggling). They’ve lost to Cincinnati (twice), Indianapolis, Minnesota, and New England. They’ve played tough in all those games, and special teams has hurt them. But there’s a chance special teams hurts them again, especially against a stout defense that doesn’t allow many touchdowns. I’ll take the Steel city, but I’m worried if Ben doesn’t get the start. Intrigued, but worried.