Baltimore Ravens (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS), Week 4 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 3, 2010, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Bal +1/Pit -1
Over/Under Total: 34.5
It was widely assumed that the Pittsburgh Steelers would struggle without their star QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is suspended for the first four games of the season because of an offseason incident. But the Steelers haven’t really struggled at all. They are one of three teams in the NFL at 3-0. If they are this good without Big Ben, imagine how good they will be when he comes back.
And this is the last game the Steelers have to play without Roethlisberger. Their QB situation has been certainly interesting up to this point. Byron Leftwich was injured in the preseason and then got cut. Dennis Dixon started the season as the starting QB but then he got injured. The Steelers then signed Leftwich again and named Charlie Batch the starter.
Batch played fairly well in a dominant 38-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. He was 12-for-17 passing for 186 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. RB Rashard Mendenhall carried the offense, as he has been doing this season, with 19 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. When the Steelers are running the ball effectively, they are tough to stop. WR Mike Wallace had three receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The TD catches were 46 yards and 41 yards.
The 13 points the Steelers allowed to the Buccaneers were the most points they allowed in any of their three games thus far. They won 15-9 over the Falcons in Week 1 and 19-11 over the Titans in Week 2. In three games, the Steelers have committed four turnovers and have forced 11 turnovers. Mendenhall has a total of 332 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Wallace leads the team in receiving yards with 187 but Hines Ward leads the team in receptions with 10.
The Ravens started the season with a 10-9 win at the Jets. It was an ugly game but the Ravens escaped with a quality road win to start the season. After losing 15-10 to the Bengals without even allowing a single touchdown, the Ravens bounced back last week with a 24-17 home victory over the Browns. QB Joe Flacco was 22-for-31 for 262 passing yards and three touchdowns. RB Ray Rice had 15 carries for 80 yards. The Ravens ran for 109 yards as a team. WR Anquan Boldin had a monster game with eight receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens allowed the Browns to stay in the game because they couldn’t stop the run. Peyton Hillis had 144 rushing yards and the Browns ran for 173 yards as a team.
For the season, Rice has 210 rushing yards and no touchdowns. Flacco has 664 passing yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions and is completing 54.6 percent of his pass attempts. Boldin leads the way with 20 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
The Ravens have to step up their run defense dramatically this week or Mendenhall is going to run all over them. If Mendenhall has another big game, it will make thing easier for Batch and the Steelers will control the ball. The Ravens just have to hold onto the ball and not turn it over. They have a very strong offense and can move the ball either by passing it or running it. They can beat you either way.
The under is 7-1-1 in the Ravens’ last nine road games and 9-2-1 in their last 12 games on grass. The under is 4-1-1 in the Ravens’ last six games as an underdog. The over is 3-0-1 in the Steelers’ last four games as a favorite. The over is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings overall between these teams and 5-0-1 in the last six meetings between these teams in Pittsburgh. The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams, the underdog is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings, and the Steelers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings with the Ravens.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I was prepared to take the Steelers laying a field goal. The minus one line is a gift! Take Pittsburgh to get the money!