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11/4/18 Steelers Pregame

The Ravens host the Steelers Sunday in a game that is taking on great significance as we launch into the second half of the season. The Ravens have spiraled in recent weeks and are sitting on a two-game losing streak and sit 2 games behind the Steelers. Losing to them Sunday would almost certainly kill any hope of an AFC division title not to mention that it will put them in serious jeopardy of getting to the playoffs. The Ravens are banged up right now and with their offensive line losing key personnel – it makes it difficult for their offense to get into any kind of rhythm. The Steelers have been playing against Joe for a long time and they know if they can get pressure on him they will win the day. You have to think that Coach Butler is licking his chops at the prospect of going up against Baltimore’s O line which is playing second and third stringers. TJ Watt stands to have a big day. The Steelers have the second most sacks in the league and are likely to get a handful on Sunday. Coach Mornhinweg is going to have his hands full coming up with schemes to protect Joe from the blitz.

Sunday’s game will test the Ravens and their ability to bounce back from adversity. This sounds negative I know, but to me the Ravens look like a team that is in decline. We will know more Sunday on this point. Their offense is sputtering right now – no running game, lack of separation from the receivers, too many drops, no big plays, blocked passes, and a lack of continuity on their offensive line. The defense doesn’t look any better to me either and they are giving up way too many long drives, no pass rush from the front four, and for the first time in a long while – I am seeing some frustration and disunity on the field. The Steelers on the other hand have found their offensive mojo and they are executing well both on the ground and in the air. Big Ben is playing well, and Brown and Schuster are eating up secondaries. The Steelers defense, which is average at best, is playing better in terms of not giving up the big yardage plays but my fear is that on Sunday they will look like the 85’ Bears.

Here are things to consider for this game: Ben doesn’t play particularly well in Baltimore, season sweeps are hard to do and hardly every happen, Steelers haven’t lost a game since they played the Ravens, Steelers are healthy/Ravens are banged up, Ravens have given up 53 points in the last 5 quarters, and Pittsburgh leads series 27 to 22. While the Ravens are favored in this game I think the Steelers have everything going their way. Ravens can’t seem to generate any turnovers and that has been the difference these last few games. The Steelers are coming in with a great deal of confidence and I think they are poised to take this game and split the series. If the Ravens lose this Sunday, and I think they will, the unpleasantness in the Castle will increase significantly. Steelers win this one outright and likely have things in hand by the end of the 3rd quarter. The Over/Under is 47 – I like the under. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – November 4th @ 1:00 PM     Odds – Ravens by 2 ½      Over/Under 47

Game Predictions
Score           Ravens 19    Steelers 27
Turnovers           Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage           Ravens 86    Steelers 131
Net Passing Yardage            Ravens 219    Steelers 275

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Joe Flacco is sacked 4 times
• Suggs has 4 almost sacks
• Conner gets 22 carries for 111 yards
• Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
• Too much Wattage fries Flacco

Keys to the Game
• Stop them on 3rd down <40%
• Keep Joe clean and upright
• Win the turnover battle

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