The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will once again renew their rivalry on Sunday in Baltimore to open up the season. The last time these two clubs met, the Steelers came up victorious in a tight battle to the last minute in the playoffs. It wasn’t a shocker, as most games between the Steelers and Ravens are tightly contested. In fact, since 2005, 10 out of 14 of their games have been decided by a touchdown or less. In the last meeting, the Steelers won 31-24; however, the game was much closer than the score indicates. If you recall, the Steelers came up with a huge gainer to Antonio Brown on third and very long in the final minutes. The Steelers ultimately punched the ball in to take the seven point lead.
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Ravens vs Steelers Week 1 Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5
@ Baltimore Ravens -1.5
Steelers vs Ravens Pick Against The Spread:
Both squads come into Sunday with the usual faces that you’re accustomed to seeing representing Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Along with the familiar faces, come the same stout defenses that usually come up with game changing plays. Even though both are aging a bit, they are still the class of the NFL. The Steelers are banking on Troy Polamalu to have an injury campaign, as injuries have hampered him in recent years. In any case, Polamalu is completely healthy and ready to go for Sunday. The Steelers are also happy to welcome back savvy veteran defensive end Aaron Smith from injury, to a unit that led the NFL with 48 sacks last season. On the offensive side of the ball, Ben Roethlisberger will have the pleasure of dishing the football to Hines Ward, Heath Miller, and speedy Mike Wallace. Wallace had a breakout season, and averaged a mind boggling 21-yards per catch last season. There’s just one problem with the Steelers offense: the line. The Steelers offensive line surrendered 43 sacks last year, the seventh-highest total in the NFL. Not a recipe for success, but the Steelers manage to make it work. And boy do they ever make it work against the Ravens, especially when Roethlisberger is taking the snaps. He is 9-2 against the Ravens, and Joe Flacco has yet to beat the Steelers with an unimpressive 0-6 record.
The Ravens will still have the big names, but they are adding a few fresh new faces, including Lee Evans from the Buffalo Bills. Evans, has been a trustworthy deep threat for years, and has never really had a capable quarterback after all these years. He will finally get a shot with a playoff team and very capably quarterback in Joe Flacco. Evans will line up across Anquan Boldin, which appears to be a viable receiving core for the Ravens. I believe Evans will have a fine season, but there is one problem in week 1: he is facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. You see, against the Steelers in his last five games, Evans has only managed to haul in five balls with no touchdowns. I also believe it will take some time for Evans and Flacco to be familiar with one another, so don’t expect too many fireworks off the bat. The Ravens also acquired offensive line help to assist their talented running back Ray Rice. Again, while I believe the line will be very productive, it will be difficult in week 1 against the Steelers defense.
Yes, I am aware of teams that lose the Super Bowl notoriously lose week 1 the following year. However, the Steelers counter that angle, as they have won their last eight season openers. In addition, they are comfortable on the road, winning 16 of 24 road games in the last three years. The Steelers have had the Ravens number, and I don’t see it ending this game just yet. I like the Steelers even if the line moves to a pick ‘em.