In the AFC, two AFC North rivals will get together for a chance to take on the Patriots or Jets in the AFC title game. These two teams have played twice before this year, with both teams winning battles while playing on the road, it is safe to say NFL betting sites are itching for the action. Baltimore won in week four; 17-14 in Pittsburgh, while the Steelers won the most recent game 13-10 in Baltimore.
Both teams have seen defensive studs in and out of the lineup. When these two teams get together; expect hard hits.
The Baltimore Ravens come into the game fresh off a wildcard weekend win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens won 12 games during the regular season, but lost the tiebreaker to Pittsburgh. Baltimore defense was the fifth best against the run, allowing just 93.9 yards per game. Offensively, Ray Rice has not had a dynamite season, but still can eat up yards with the best of them. Rice rushed for 1220 yards and 5 touchdowns on the season.
The wide receiving core for Baltimore has improved this season with the addition of Anquan Boldin. Boldin and Derrick Mason tied with 7 touchdowns a piece. On the season, quarterback Joe Flacco tossed for 25 touchdowns. The four losses for the Ravens this season came at Cincinnati, at New England, at Atlanta and the home loss to the Steelers.
Pittsburgh comes into the game after having the weekend off. The Steelers wrapped up the AFC North title with a 41-9 win over Cleveland in the final regular season game of the season. After missing the first four games due to suspension, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed for over 3200 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Running back out of Illinois; Rashard Mendenhall was a huge asset out of the back field for the Steelers. Mendenhall rushed for 1273 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. Known for the “Steel Curtain” defense, Pittsburgh was the best team against the run this season; allowing just 62.8 yards per game on the ground.
Wow, what a game this will be. This is exactly what the NFL wanted; rivals going at it on Saturday, followed by Patriots/Jets on Sunday. The AFC is what many felt it would come down to at the start of the season. The fact that the road teams won both times this season, coupled with three of four road teams winning in the first weekend of the playoffs makes it difficult to pick against the Ravens.
In saying that, we like Pittsburgh to win this game and cover by a slight margin. The line is Pittsburgh -3.5. We like Steelers 21-17.
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