Nov 062016

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at Baltimore Ravens (3-4)

The bye came at the perfect time for the Steelers. Not only is Ben Roethlisberger expected to return from a 1-game absence with a knee injury, but they are basically 100% healthy coming out of the bye. This is after the Steelers were one of the most injury plagued teams in the league to start the season. The Steelers’ record isn’t bad, but they rank just 25th in first down percentage differential, largely thanks to all of their injuries. It’s not just Ben Roethlisberger, as wide receiver Markus Wheaton, left guard Ramon Foster, right tackle Marcus Gilbert, defensive end Cameron Heyward, and middle linebacker Ryan Shazier have all missed time with injury, while running back Le’Veon Bell missed time with suspension. Outside of Roethlisberger, Heyward was their biggest injury because he’s their best defensive player. They missed him badly in the two games he missed before the bye (both losses) and he’ll be a very welcome re-addition.

The Ravens are also coming out of a well timed bye. The Ravens limped into the bye week with an underwhelming loss in New York to the lowly Jets, a game in which they were missing middle linebacker CJ Mosley, outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, right guard Marshal Yanda, and wide receiver Steve Smith. Dumervil remains out, as he has been for most of the season, but everyone else should be back healthy. When they were healthier, the Ravens started the season 3-0 before losing 4 straight, but that was because they had several close wins against weak opponents. Overall on the season, they’ve had a much easier schedule than the Steelers and are overall a worse team when both of these teams are healthy. This line is more or less where it should be at 2 in favor of the visiting Steelers, but I’m taking the Steelers for a no confidence pick.

Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Baltimore Ravens 20

Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh -2

Confidence: None

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