Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
The Ravens got off to a 2-0 start against still winless teams like the Dolphins and Cardinals, but have fallen back to earth against tougher competition, losing in Kansas City in a game in which they trailed by double digits for most of the game and then losing at home to Cleveland by 15 last week. Their offense is better this year than last year, with Lamar Jackson making a second year leap, but their defense lost five 2018 starters in the off-season and then another two due to injury early in the season.
A year after finishing 2nd in points per game allowed with 17.9, the Ravens have now allowed a total of 73 points in the past 2 weeks. Last year, they allowed 32 defensive touchdowns. So far, they are on pace they allow 44 defensive backs. This week they get back defensive lineman Brandon Williams, who missed the Cleveland game, which should help, but this is nowhere near the defense it once was.
The general public doesn’t seem to realize the Ravens don’t have a good defense anymore, as the Ravens still seem to be overvalued, favored by 3.5 points on the road in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season with an elbow injury, but they have a solid roster around the quarterback and backup Mason Rudolph has shown some flashes. Even including their week 1 blowout loss in New England, the Steelers have just an average margin of just -3 points per game, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them play the Ravens close or even pull the upset in Pittsburgh.
Their best game of the season did come against a banged up Bengals team, last week on Monday Night Football, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they carried that momentum into this week, as teams are 85-56 ATS since 1989 after a Monday Night Football win of 17+ points. I have this line calculated at even and, with a strong situational trend on their side, the Steelers could easily win this game outright. With about 1 in 4 games decided by a field goal or less, we’re getting a good cushion in case the Steelers can’t pull the upset.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Baltimore Ravens 20 Upset Pick +155
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +3.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week