The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to clinch the AFC North when they host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14. Kickoff is set for 8:30 EST on Sunday, December 10 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The game will be nationally televised on NBC.
The Steelers enter the game as 5-point favorites at home. However, early betting has been in Baltimore’s favor after Pittsburgh opened as 7-point favorites. The over/under is set at 43.5 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 14 betting odds and links to more game previews.
Ravens vs Steelers Vegas Odds Preview
The Steelers enter Week 14 on the heels of a seven-game winning streak. That winning streak combined with a rather mediocre division gives Pittsburgh the chance to lock up a division title with three games to spare if they can beat Baltimore Sunday night.
Of course, the Steelers have no intention of settling for a division title; they’ll want to secure home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. Even with a comfortable lead in the division, the Steelers know they have to keep winning down the stretch.
The Ravens, on the other hand, know that a division title is a long shot. However, a wild-card spot remains a realistic possibility. If the regular season ended today, the Ravens would have the final playoff spot in the AFC thanks to a three-game winning streak that has their record at 7-5.
However, there are four 6-6 teams that wouldn’t mind taking that spot from them. If the Ravens slip up down the stretch, there are teams waiting to pounce, so Baltimore knows they don’t have much margin for error.
When these two teams met in Week 4, the Steelers won convincingly 26-9. Both teams have come a long way since then, giving the Ravens a chance to get some redemption for that defeat. It’s also pertinent to note that the Steelers haven’t swept the season series against the Ravens since 2008. Of course, after doing so, Pittsburgh went on to win the Super Bowl.
Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Ravens +5
I’m going to lean toward the Ravens in this game. Pittsburgh is coming off a short week and an emotional game against the Bengals on Monday night. They’ll also be without Ryan Shazier, which is a huge loss both physically and emotionally. The Steelers are poised for a letdown, and even if they escape with a win, it won’t be by much, enabling the Ravens to beat the spread.
You can’t deny that Pittsburgh’s seven-game winning streak is an impressive feat. But it’s by no means been easy for the Steelers. Five of those seven wins have come by six points or less, with three of the last four being decided by a field goal. Yes, the Steelers are winning, but they’re not always winning comfortably.
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You also have to give credit to the Ravens for their own three-game winning streak. The Baltimore defense that was so good at forcing turnovers early in the season has returned in recent weeks. In their last three games, the Ravens have forced 11 turnovers.
Baltimore’s defense is already giving up the third fewest points in the NFL. If they can continue to create takeaways at such a high rate, they can be quite dangerous, even against a potent offensive team like the Steelers.
Joe Flacco has also played better in recent weeks. His numbers aren’t flashy, but he’s taking care of the football and has shown more of a willingness to throw the deep ball. With the Baltimore defense playing better, Flacco can do enough to keep the Ravens in games and give them a chance to win.
The bottom line here is that the Steelers are not going to see the same Ravens team they handled earlier this season. Baltimore comes in red hot and will be fighting for their playoff lives. The Steelers have also come out flat early in games the past couple of weeks. If that trend continues, it won’t be so easy to overcome a slow start against the Ravens. I see this being a 4th quarter game, so I feel good about taking Baltimore and the points.
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