NFL OddsOnline Sportsbook Preview:

The hardest hitting game of the playoffs will be played in Pittsburgh this Saturday. Even the offshore NFL betting crowd knows that the Ravens and the Steelers each possess the most lethal defenses in the NFL, but the Super Bowl betting odds say that the Steelers have the better all-around team. The Baltimore Ravens may have something to say about that.

The Ravens have been part of the price per head Super Bowl betting picture since the preseason started. With offensive acquisitions such as wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and another year of experience for running back Ray Rice, the Ravens looked ready to challenge for the AFC title this year. As the season played out, the Ravens improved on offense and got healthy enough on defense to become a real threat in this year’s playoffs.


The Pittsburgh Steelers biggest weapon is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and their biggest offensive downfall is their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was sacked 32 times in 12 games played in the 2010 season, and many of those sacks were the result of bad decisions by Roethlisberger. Running back Rashard Mendenhall did not have a 100-yard game against the Ravens this season, and the Ravens showed an ability to shut down the Steelers running game. Between Ben trying to make plays that are not there and Mendenhall getting stopped up by the Ravens front seven, this could be a long day for the Steelers offense.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was the story in last week’s wild card win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Running back Ray Rice enjoyed limited success gaining 56 rushing yards and picking up key first downs. But Flacco’s 265 passing yards and two touchdowns showed that the Ravens passing game can take over when the running game cannot get the ball into the endzone.


The Ravens, with safety Ed Reed in the line up, are a potent defense. The front seven can shut down the run, control the middle of the field and get extreme pressure on the quarterback. With Reed patrolling the secondary, as he will be in this game, the Ravens are also able to limit the effectiveness of the opposition passing game. With a gun-slinger like Roethlisberger making up most of it as he goes along, it is possible that Reed could have a huge day as Ben makes ill-advised throws to get away from the Baltimore pressure up front.

The Steelers offer a very significant challenge to the Ravens offense. The Pittsburgh defense has some of the most punishing linebackers in football that can stuff the run and sack the quarterback. Safety Troy Polamalu makes it extremely difficult to get a passing rhythm going because he is never in the same place twice. Matching up against the Steelers defense will be the biggest challenge for the Ravens.

The Bottom Line:

The Ravens look to be in control of their offense. They tried the run to open the game against the Chiefs. When that did not work, they moved to the pass and won the game. The Steelers have a very chaotic approach to their offense that could prove to be their downfall in this game.

BSN Sports Pick: Baltimore Ravens


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