The undefeated Steelers may be the hottest team in the NFL, winning their three games by an average margin of 11 points, even with a quarterback situation that has been steeped in uncertainty due to injuries and the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger. The ageless wonder, QB Charlie Batch will arguably enter his last dance this Sunday afternoon, which will wrap up a long and genuine career. QB Ben Roethlisberger has to wait one more week before relinquishing the reins of the Steelers offense, but for it not have been for stellar performance. The (3-0) Pittsburgh Steelers face their toughest test of the season as they host the (2-1) Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST. A destructive defense and a productive running game have kept the Pittsburgh Steelers rolling right along without Ben Roethlisberger, but the Baltimore Ravens plan on providing a stiffer test to their bitter AFC North rivals. The Steelers are sure to have their hands full this Sunday afternoon as they seek their first 4-0 start in thirty-one years, Ben who???
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a difficult win against the hapless Cleveland Browns, a game in which saw the team finally break out offensively, but also a game in which exposed some weaknesses in the defense. Yes, there is cause for concern defensively for the Ravens after last week’s dismal performance. Baltimore has shown some rare vulnerability on the ground, though, even in victory. Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis ran for 144 yards in Cleveland’s 24-17 loss last Sunday in Baltimore, the most rushing yards the Ravens have allowed since 2005. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never won at Heinz Field, but he has never paid a visit to the Steel City with the type of offense he inherited this off-season. Newcomers, wide receivers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh may be the acquired pieces the Ravens just need in order to defeat their hated nemesis in the Steelers. But as usual, this match up isn’t focused on the teams’ present offensives — just the intensity the Ravens and Steelers will bring defensively.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are off to a fast start and should be even stronger once franchise QB Ben Roethlisberger gets back into the fold. After surviving on an attacking defense and the legs of running back Rashard Mendenhall for two games, it was veteran QB Charlie Batch who provided a boost last Sunday at Tampa. Batch, starting for the injured Dennis Dixon, matched a career high with three touchdown passes in a 38-13 win. Batch will get the start this Sunday in what will likely be, barring injury to Roethlisberger, his last start as an NFL quarterback. The Steelers defense has returned to prominence once again and is leading the league in several defensive categories, one including defensive scoring. The Steelers are 4-0 at home against the Ravens under coach Mike Tomlin (including the playoffs) and with a win on Sunday will break a franchise record for consecutive wins against a divisional rival. The Steelers were hoping to get G Trai Essex back from an ankle injury but he was downgraded to out on Thursday, the Steelers are still searching for their old, powerful rushing attack. Much is on the line Sunday and the Steelers would avenge early season castoff ballots from league analysts if they could inherit QB Ben Roethlisberger with a 4-0 record.
Ravens vs Steelers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens +2.5
@ Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5
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Ravens vs Steelers Prediction for Week 4:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – RB Ray Rice adds another dimension to this Ravens offense, a dimension that will allow them to pound the ball inside and out, as well as set up the play action. Lets face it, the Steelers have played, arguably, average competition thus far and will now finally line up against a serious contender. The Ravens were finally able to work out some of their offensive kinks last Sunday and will now have a fairly healthy Ray Rice in the lineup, I like the chances of the Ravens offense clicking in this one. Complimentary to Ray Rice, Ravens running back Willis McGahee has six rushing touchdowns in his past seven outings against the Steelers, I look for him to get his fair share of touches. The Ravens are 8-4 ATS when facing a division rival off of another divisional rival win in the last two seasons. The Ravens always find a way to get it done in massive, playoff implicating games, they are built for this type of football. We will take a look at grabbing the points with Baltimore in this AFC North rivalry, the Steelers fortunes will finally run out this Sunday afternoon.
Game Total Prediction – It seems as though no matter who head coach Mike Tomlin puts in as his quarterback they are going to be able to score. Even a “so called” washed up Charlie Batch was able to light up the scoreboards last week in Tampa, I expect much the same this week. Yes, these teams are known for their defensive fortitude and power but they also possess very capable offenses. I believe RB Ray Rice will look to get back on track and will be able to find holes in a banged up Steelers front four. Three of four games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons. The total has gone OVER in 6 of Baltimore’s last 8 games when playing Pittsburgh, as well as the total has reached OVER in 5 of Baltimore’s last 6 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh. I recommend considering the OVER in this Sunday afternoon clash. Cheers!
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