We aim to finish strong here. And the second-half run has been real. We went 2-0 a week ago, bringing us to 24-17 on the season. We have had our share of bad beats, to be sure, and in general have been pretty judicious about how we approach our craft.
This has been a bizarre year and the COVID factor makes things even crazier and now we are in Week 18 for the first time, too. And it’s just the second year of having only a single bye week, so we don’t have much data yet on how different teams and coaches will approach being effectively stuck into a playoff spot. Because overall, there isn’t much at stake in most of these games. Figuring out the motivation and how they will play it is tricky at best.
So, yeah, I’m not going to crazy here. I probably like this slate of games the least of any all season. It’s certainly in the bottom two or three. I have been riding the Steelers a little bit lately, and with Big Ben and T.J. Watt having some very special things at stake here, well, let’s get to the picks.
Pittsburgh Steelers + 5.5 at Baltimore Ravens
Latest Odds: Baltimore Ravens -3.5
This is a big number to me. These games are usually under a field goal and always seem to come down to the end even in years when the Steelers and Ravens are not close in the standings. This year, they are very close in the standings, Neither team can do much of anything on offense, and scoring TDs will be at a premium.
The Steelers’ defense should go off against Baltimore’s inept offensive line, and with Watt chasing history, look out. He had 3.5 sacks, 12 pressures and six QB hits in the first meeting. The Ravens being without do-everything fullback Patrick Ricard will hurt in pass protection and their best blocking TE will probably miss the game as well. Baltimore has been incapable of producing big plays in the second half of the season, while the Ravens’ defense is the worst big-play group in the NFL, and they are beat up on the back end.
The Steelers are a huge YAC team and Baltimore’s secondary doesn’t tackle and the Ravens have been the worst team in the NFL at giving up YAC. I saw serious moneyline potential in the Steelers last week, and I see it again here. They have way more blue-chip players going in this game than the Ravens do, and Baltimore has been brutal within the division this season.