A key divisional match-up goes down in Baltimore on Sunday of Week 9, and the chances look good for a Big Ben appearance. Yes, it’s the Steelers and Ravens in the tight AFC North, and after suffering an injured knee, it does look like Roethlisberger could be making a return to one of football’s best rivalries. Roethlisberger enters as a ‘true’ game-time decision, but my thinking is that he will indeed play on Sunday. Big Ben has been around long enough that fans realize there simply isn’t anybody tougher. In such a big game, you can bet Big Ben will be eager to suit up for his Steelers to try and extend their lead in the division. With just a game separating these squads, this promises to be ‘can’t miss’ TV. Read on below for a full game breakdown and official prediction for this divisional rivalry.
Steelers vs. Ravens Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -1.5 (-110)
@ Baltimore Ravens +1.5 (-110)
Over 43 (-110)
Under 43 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Steelers vs. Ravens Pick:
Though nothing is entirely certain as of this writing on early Sunday morning, all accounts suggest Ben Roethlisberger will be under centre on Sunday afternoon. Even though there is no way he’ll be fully healthy, he remains a solid option for the Steelers, and quite frankly, a better one than Landry Jones. Even with Big Ben not close to 100%, it’s not like the Ravens’ stop unit is fully healthy either. Terrell Suggs is likely to be back, but also not fully healthy – while C.J. Mosley, Elvis Dumervil, and Lardarius Webb are all still listed as questionable. In a game this big, you have to think they will all play – but you have to wonder about their ability.
We all know Big Ben thrives at keeping plays alive and prolonging drives. This will be key again on Sunday. The Ravens will try and bring pressure, but at the moment it just isn’t working for them. Baltimore has a lacking pass rush and Big Ben will still have tons of time and space in the pocket to connect with his array of talented receivers downfield. Baltimore has been solid at defending the run so far in 2016, but Le’Veon Bell is one of the game’s best. With Big Ben at the helm, the Steelers rarely have difficulty moving the chains on any defence, and look for Sunday to be more of the same.
The Ravens have QB health concerns of their own as they prepare for Week 9. Joe Flacco is banged up and though he’ll play, he will be dealing with a shoulder injury. The Steelers are expected to be getting Cameron Heyward back from injury for this game, and that doesn’t bode well for the Ravens’ ground game. Baltimore doesn’t have much of one to begin with, but the absence of positive yardage will put a ton of pressure on Flacco and that wonky shoulder. Baltimore also doesn’t possess all that many options in terms of down the field threats, so look for the Steelers’ stop unit to handle them relatively easily.
Oddly, last week this line opened as Steelers +3 before confirmation of Roethlisberger was announced – even though it was expected. If you got that line, congrats! If not, you have to still like their chances at around a pick’em price for this game. Baltimore doesn’t do many things well, and with Big Ben back, the Steelers return to a Super Bowl contender-level. Expect a tight match-up but one in which the talent of the black and yellow wins out.
PICK = Steelers -1.5 (-110)