NFL Betting Preview: Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-1)

NFL OddsIf Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin has not already sealed the award for 2010 NFL Coach of the Year with the sports betting public, then the Steelers game in week four against the Baltimore Ravens should do the trick.

When Pittsburgh starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of the season for being a sexual predator, many NFL betting experts left the Steelers for dead. Based on past performances, the Steelers cannot win without Roethlisberger and there was a genuine fear that the Steelers would be 0-4 and out of the playoff hunt by the time Ben got back.

In the first game of the season the Steelers tried veteran Byron Leftwich at quarterback, but Leftwich was injured early and third-year man Dennis Dixon came in. The Steelers won that game. To keep the good vibes going the Steelers started Dixon in week two. Dixon played very well but he was injured for the season and Charlie Batch came in to win the game.

When Leftwich was ready to play in week three, head coach Mike Tomlin decided that playing the momentum game was working so he put in Charlie Batch for week three. The Steelers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-13 with Charlie Batch throwing for three touchdowns. There is no question as to who will start at quarterback for the Steelers against the Ravens in week 4; it will be Charlie Batch. The only question is whether or not Tomlin will sit batch after the bye in week 5 and put Roethlisberger back in, or if Tomlin will keep playing the momentum game and let Batch keep starting.

The football betting in Baltimore was pretty gloomy for the first two weeks of the season. With the first snap from center of the season, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco dropped back in the pocket, held the ball way too long and was hammered by the Jets defense. The Jets went on to hand the first game of the season to the Ravens. The Ravens lost to the Bengals in week two behind a four-interception performance by Flacco. Linebacker and team leader Ray Lewis was angry, and things were not good in Baltimore.

Flacco pulled it together for week three and the Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17. The Browns showed a lot of improvement over last season, but the Ravens were just too much for Cleveland as the Baltimore defense smothered the Browns offense.

In this game Charlie Batch leads the Steelers against the Ravens, and this will be a very tight game. The NFL predictions surrounding this game will jump back and forth between the Ravens and the Steelers. The Steelers need to continue to establish their offensive identity in this game and that identity is running back Rashard Mendenhall. The Ravens will continue to lean on Flacco and the Baltimore passing game.

This will be a smash-mouth defensive struggle that will be a joy for any football fan to watch. The determining factor will be poise on offense, and that belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10


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