This AFC Wild Card game features two division foes from the North when Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr and the Baltimore Ravens go head-to-head against Big Ben, Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. These two teams split their regular-season tilts in 2014, Saturday’s playoff game makes for an extremely enticing rubber match.
A Closer Look At The Baltimore at Pittsburgh AFC Wild Card Betting Spread, Expert Pick & TV Schedule
There may never be two other teams that hate each other more than the Ravens and the Steelers and now they have the grandest stage to settle their differences. With their playoff lives on the line, expect these two storied franchises to deliver another classic smash mouth bloodbath.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 31, 2014
Matchup: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: Jan. 3, 2015
Start Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Heinz Field
TV Info: NBC
Radio: Baltimore Vs Pittsburgh
Point Spread: Steelers -3
Game Total: 47
The Baltimore Ravens will win this AFC Wild Card game if
They stop the Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown connection and win the turnover battle!
If the Ravens (10-6 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) want to win this game and beat the Steelers, then with Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell ruled out, their only order of business to be finding a way to slow down red-hot quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his top target and league leading WR Antonio Brown.
Tough blow for Pittsburgh. Running Back Le'Veon Bell will NOT play in tomorrow's Wild Card game vs Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/K5V2M9qCR0
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 2, 2015
Big Ben completed a blistering 67.1 percent of his passes while tying Drew Brees for the NFL passing title with 4,952 yards. Roethlisberger also equaled his franchise record for touchdown passes in a season with 32. Roethlisberger has thrown six TD passes and just one interception over Pittsburgh’s final four games and torched the Ravens for six touchdown passes in the Steelers’ 43-23 blowout win at Heinz Field in Week 9.
— PFTonNBCSN (@PFTonNBCSN) December 31, 2014
Roethlisberger has two Super Bowls on his resume, and this season, he has arguably the best supporting cast he has ever had. Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers in the league, and with Bell out, Pittsburgh’s signal-caller will have to use Brown and the entire receiving corps on Saturday night.
Last but not least, the Ravens will need to either win or equal Pittsburgh in the turnover department if they are going to pull off the upset. In each of the last 10 meetings between these AFC North division rivals, the home team has either won (seven times) or tied the away team in the turnover department.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will win this AFC Wild Card game if
They win harass Joe Flacco and make up for the loss of Le’Veon Bell!
If the Steelers (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) want to win this AFC wild card matchup, then their first order of business has to be stopping Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.
The strong-armed signal-caller can throw the deep ball with the best of them, but if the Steelers red-hot defense can harass the often enigmatic quarterback, then they’ll have a great chance to win and cover.
Flacco has thrown seven TD passes and four interceptions over his last four starts, including three picks in a stunning 25-13 road loss against J.J. Watt and the Texans in Week 16. As a matter of fact, Flacco has thrown at least one interception in five of Baltimore’s six losses while tossing multiple picks three times. The last time these rivals met, Pittsburgh harassed Flacco early en route to four sacks and eight hits.
The Steelers will also need to find a way to at least attempt to replace what blossoming dual-threat running back Le’Veon Bell (1,361 rushing yards, 854 receiving yards) gives them. Bell suffered a hyperextended right knee in the regular season finale against Cincinnati on Sunday he has been ruled out, rookie running back Josh Harris would start and be spelled by rookie Dri Archer and newly signed Ben Tate.
— PFTonNBCSN (@PFTonNBCSN) December 31, 2014
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said it’s unrealistic to expect a lot from newly-signed running back Ben Tate in Saturday’s playoff game against the Ravens.
“I don’t know how you could come in in a couple of days and learn a new offense,” Roethlisberger told ESPN.com. “I think if we can put together a specific package, a few runs here, a few passes there, I think he could help us if we need him to.”
Who will win this AFC Wild Card game?
Despite the fact that they will be without Le’Veon Bell, I like Pittsburgh to win this contest and advance to the divisional round.
I also like the Steelers to narrowly cover the AFC Wild card betting line in this affair with the spread sitting at a manageable three points (-3).
Baltimore is 0-3 in the postseason against Pittsburgh with all three losses coming at Heinz Field. The Steelers are 6-0 ATS in their last six home playoff games and Baltimore is just 1-4-1 ATS in the last six meetings.