Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds & Pick

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Date: 
November 26, 8:20 PM EST
Location:
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Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
BAL +5/PIT -5
Total: 
45.5

The Baltimore Ravens come to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving in a key AFC North battle. For the Steelers, they have some wiggle-room at 10-0 but would love to get the season-sweep on the reigning division kingpin Ravens and also put a major crimp on their prospects this season. After losing to the Titans last week, 30-24, for their second straight loss, the Ravens are now 6-4 and need to avoid any more losses, or things could get critical. It was another routine Sunday for the Steelers as they mashed up the Jaguars, 27-3. Who can get the upper hand this time around?

Game One

A November 1st 28-24 win in Baltimore was a big win for the Steelers, a sort of demonstration that the division has a new boss in town. A 17-7 Ravens halftime lead saw Baltimore running the ball fairly well, as their defense was winning the day. Before long, the Steelers' pass-rush and just their front, in general, started having a bigger say. Two Lamar Jackson picks were exploited, one being run back for a TD, as Ben Roethlisberger ran the offense mistake-free on the way to a big win.

Baltimore backers could point to the good fortune of the Steelers in that first game, with the pick-six and how Big Ben and the Steelers weren’t all that productive on the day, with Roethlisberger at 182 yards with only 48 yards on the ground, as opposed to a Baltimore offense that almost doubled the Steelers in yardage. And with the Ravens now officially up against it, there’s a dash of urgency in the equation that wasn’t there the first time they played.

The Problem Getting Behind Baltimore

For those who have been betting the Ravens, they know the cost associated with expecting this team to revert to last season's form. We keep waiting, and it is seldom materializing, as the Ravens sit in third place in the AFC North standings. With one cover since October 11, they’ve been a letdown to their fans and bettors alike. And now we hear that their backfield takes a big hit with Mark Ingram and JK Dobbins testing positive for the virus. Sure, they have some running back depth along with the legs of Jackson upon which to rely, but with an aerial game that has taken a step back this season, the prognosis on offense isn’t so rosy.

With the Baltimore offense not in peak form, the Ravens may have to rely more on the defense, which, frankly, hasn't been that great this year so far. They still have a stout and playmaking secondary that can make life hard on opposing quarterbacks, just as they did against Roethlisberger several weeks ago. But we see a front-seven that has been waning in terms of stoutness. It reared its head in an ugly way on Sunday, as the Ravens once against found themselves getting run over by Derrick Henry. But this Pittsburgh offense has no such running backs, and with a more-efficient performance on the other side of the ball, there is ample cause to forecast some good things this week.

Gauging Morale

Coming off the short week, The Steelers have to be riding high, and that counts for a lot. They have a certain loose confidence that comes with being 10-0, having pulled out a handful of games late, and not being in a must-win situation. The Ravens are more tense. They just lost in OT to a team that upset them in the playoffs last season, which followed a loss to the Patriots, which is more of an indictment on a team now than in years past. On a somewhat basic level, it just isn't working for the Ravens. And that kind of deflation can resonate against a Pittsburgh team that, after two years of mediocrity, is pining to reclaim their top slot. And if they were to take a week off, why at home against a divisional team that has been a thorn in their side in recent years?

Can the Steelers Offense Step Up?

No team in the conference other than the Chiefs have scored more points than the Steelers. But with JuJu Smith-Schuster questionable, a lack of a real substantive run-game, and the struggles they had on this side of the ball last time against the Ravens, it's fair to wonder if they can do their share of the heavy lifting in this game. And with no real stars around Roethlisberger, it can be a grind. He works behind a fine line and makes the most of what he has, but the way they go flat for long stretches remains a possible sticking point for an otherwise top team.

Ravens vs. Steelers Prediction 11/26/20

I don't question the character or even the quality of the Ravens. In fact, this is a high-urgency spot against a team they were unfortunate to lose to earlier this month. I just think if one were to anticipate a letdown spot for the Steelers, the following game against Washington would be a better candidate for that. Against the Ravens, I see a hard-fought contest where their greater efficiency on offense, along with their superior defense, is enough to ride them to the win and the cover. At root, I think at a time where the Ravens need to be getting better, they're getting a little worse..

Free Pick: 
Take the Steelers -5
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