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NFL Expert Pick – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Posted by Marcello Messina on 9/9/2011 12:04:22 PM

Baltimore Ravens faceoff with old-time rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers this NFL expert pick Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Live from M&T Bank Stadium – MD
Kickoff: 1:00 PM EST Sunday, September 11, 2011
Broadcast: CBS

NFL Lines
Baltimore Ravens -2
Pittsburgh Steelers +2
Total 36

In their regular season opener, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers will go head-to-head in what is sure to be another thrilling NFL lines matchup between these two.

Both the Steelers and Ravens are most known for their competitive, physical styles of play, with hard-hitting defenses and run-heavy offenses. As a result, it seems as though every time these two teams match up against each other, the NFL lines game turns into some high-hitting and low-scoring affair (for this reason alone, the game has the second-lowest total [36] of the week).

As a matter of fact, their games become so physical and end up with such low scores that seven of their last eight matchups have been totaled 43 points or less. Plus, eight of their last nine matchups have been decided within a touchdown, with five of those being won by just a field goal.

Unfortunately for Baltimore, however, they always appear to get the short end of the stick in up-to-the-last-minute games. The Steelers have won six of their last eight NFL lines meetings, including the last one in January when Pittsburgh robbed the Ravens of an AFC Championship Title with a 2-yard touchdown run by Rashard Mendenhall in the last two minutes of the match.

Therefore, I think that the Ravens will come into this game trying to shock Pittsburgh with a renewed game plan – a passing offense. Should Baltimore begin the game with a pass-heavy attack, they will leave the Steelers continuously guessing their next move for the rest of the night.

Although, the question still remains to be seen whether the Ravens do have a strong enough passing attack to pull off the feat. While they did acquire deep-threat wide receiver Lee Evans in the offseason, the chemistry between he and quarterback Joe Flacco has not yet shown in their four preseason NFL lines matches.

As well, Flacco does have a considerable reputation of playing poorly against physical defenses like the Steelers. In his past five matchups against Pittsburgh, the 4-year pro has thrown seven interceptions and just five touchdowns – thus giving him a terrible passer rating of 59.2. He was also sacked 5 times in the two matches against the Black and Yellow, the most compared to all other teams.

However, the Ravens did bring in two veteran offensive linemen Bryant McKinnie and Andre Gurode, as well as fullback Vonta Leach, so maybe, just maybe, Flacco will lose his reputation this NFL lines Sunday.

Brett’s Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers: 19, Baltimore Ravens: 17

Nielson Notice: The Pittsburgh Steelers have won their opening game since 2003, the NFL’s longest active streak.

NFL Expert Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +2

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