The NFL on Saturday night and the Baltimore Ravens will travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Wildcard round playoff game. The game has a start time of 8:15 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on NBC. Current Vegas odds have the Steelers listed as 3 point favorites, while the total is set at 44.5.
Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens suffered a crucial loss at Houston in week 16 of the season, but a home win last week vs Cleveland coupled with a loss by the Chargers has given the Ravens a ticket to the playoffs. Baltimore is 12-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 playoff games, but just 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. Baltimore's offense has been very solid this year, ranking 12th in total yards, 13th in passing, 8th in rushing and 8th in scoring (25.6 ppg). The defense for this team has also been solid, as they come in ranked 8th in yards allowed, 23rd vs the pass, 4th vs the run and 6th in points allowed (18.9 ppg).
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals last week to grab the title in the AFC North this year. Overall the Steelers have gone 11-5 on the year, which includes a 6-2 mark at home. Pittsburgh is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. AFC North and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 playoff games. The Steelers have been a very good offensive team this year, ranking 2nd in total yards, 2nd in passing, 16th in rushing and 7th in scoring (27.2 ppg). The defense for the Steelers has not been as good, ranking 18th in yards allowed, 27th vs the pass, 6th vs the run and 18th in points allowed (23 ppg).
Pick: Going to look at the Under in this one. Wet and nasty weather is expected in Pittsburgh tonight and that makes an already tough stadium to play in even tougher. The Steelers will look to throw more now that Bell is out, but still his running did open more down field throwing lanes. They won't be opened in this one and a struggling Baltimore secondary should be able to concentrate just on defending the pass. They won't need extra defenders to help with the run defense like they would had Bell been in there. For the Ravens they have been more of a ball control offense this year and that should be their gameplan in this one, especially in this weather. Defensively both teams are hot right now as the Ravens have allowed just 15 ppg in their last 4 games, while Pittsburgh has allowed just 17.5 ppg in their last 4 games. I see this as a sloppy game that has more defense than offense.
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