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Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread - Pick

Baltimore Ravens (7-5 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Week 14 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, December 10, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Betting Odds: BAL +6/PIT -6
Over/Under Total: 43

The Baltimore Ravens come to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. This is a big AFC North matchup. At 7-5, the Ravens have come off their bye with three straight wins, including a big 44-20 win over Detroit on Sunday. They look to take another step forward this week against division frontrunner Pittsburgh. On Monday Night Football, the Steelers again snatched a win from the jaws of defeat, scoring ten points in the game's final 3:51 to notch the 23-20 win over the Bengals. The win moved the Steelers to 10-2, tied for the best record in the NFL. In week 4, these divisional rivals met in Baltimore, with the Ravens absorbing a tough 26-9 defeat. But they have stabilized both sides of the ball since then and look for better this time around.

Baltimore has been streaky and capable of seemingly anything this season—both good and bad. They have scored three shutout wins this season and are on a nice roll with three straight wins. Still, they seem to have this air of vulnerability looming over them. On Sunday, they got a good performance from the offense, while the defense showed its full range of menace. It was a costly win, however, as they lost top corner Jimmy Smith for the rest of the season. With perhaps the best secondary in the conference, we'll see how the loss impacts them. Other than that, Sunday was a very complete performance for a Ravens' team that looks to have settled into a nice groove.

The Baltimore offense was sharp on Sunday. They didn't have any turnovers, with solid contributions coming both aerially and on the ground. Joe Flacco had one of his better games of the season with 269 yards and two touchdowns. After missing a little time, Mike Wallace is getting back into it and had 116 yards on Sunday, while Benjamin Watson and eligible rookie lineman Patrick Ricard also caught touchdowns. On the ground, improving Alex Collins ran for two touchdowns. They now look to employ some of this improved form against a Pittsburgh defense that had them in knots in week 4 in their first game.

Baltimore's defense has allowed a total of 59 points in their last 5 games. The loss of Smith is bad and we'll see whether they can continue to be as good against the pass without him. On Sunday, this group got three turnovers, with Marlon Humphrey and Eric Weddle both getting interceptions, as Weddle took his back 45 yards for a touchdown. Weddle also had a sack, as did Terrell Suggs, who now has 10.5 on the season. At their best, they're one of the stoutest and playmaking defenses around. They have shown they can be erratic, but look to have put that behind them.

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The Steelers sometimes fall flat in games like on MNF when they needed to dig deep to beat the Bengals. At the same time, it helps them develop a flair for overcoming adversity. They have now won 7 straight games, some of them decisive and others where they had to struggle and come up with the right answers late, which they have been doing very well. Monday's win came at a cost, with premier LB Ryan Shazier taken off with a scary-looking back injury. But down 17-0, they worked their way back into a game that had started to look like a lost cause. They look for a more-conclusive result this week at home, with the Patriots coming in a big game the following week.

On MNF, the Steelers' offense was muffled for much of the game. A field goal as the first half ended was their first points of the game and Cincy led 20-10 in the fourth quarter. A few scoring drives, including a late one that culminated in a late FG tipped the game in their favor. Ben Roethlisberger ended up with 290 yards and two touchdowns. Le'Veon Bell ran for 76 yards and added 106 yards receiving with a TD. Antonio Brown, limited in practice this week, was effective with 8 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Even when this side of the ball is subdued, they are clutch and play their best late, which can go a long way.

It looks like the Steelers will be without Shazier, which is a bad loss. The defense has been the saving-grace for the Steelers this season, boosting the team when the offense languished, which has been often. And like the offense, they play better late in the game and when the game is on the line. Allowing just a field goal of scoring to the Bengals in the second-half helped stage the comeback win. Bud Dupree had a sack, as did Vince Williams, who has been big this season. DE Cameron Heyward leads the team with 9.5 sacks, with Stephon Tuitt also a force up-front. The secondary has been excellent this season, allowing an average of just 195 yards a game. Mike Hilton, Coty Sensabaugh, Robert Golden, Sean Davis, Artie Burns and others get big credit for how they've defended the pass this season.

After scoring the last-second win on MNF and with the Patriots coming next week, this has certain elements of a sandwich game for the Steelers. The first game between these teams was a conclusive win for the Steelers, but with the way the Baltimore defense has been playing, we could see another laborious performance from the Pittsburgh offense this week. I see Baltimore giving the Steelers a tough go this week and I like them to cover the spread at Heinz Field.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Baltimore Ravens plus 6 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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