Last Week: 11 - 5
Overall: 26 - 22
I rebounded nicely in the late games last week after a 5 - 16 stretch over parts of three weeks. This week begin with a very big game between division rivals in the Steel City .
Baltimore (0 - 3) 17 @ Pittsburgh (1 - 2) 20: The Ravens are playing fro their season, a loss putting them at least three games behind the Steelers and the Bengals. They will be playing desperate football against a rusty QB Michael Vick who is making his first start for injured Ben Roethlisberger. Usually the short week is big disadvantage for the visitors, but in this case, it has definitely limited Vick's ability to get comfortable with starting unit. If they can come up with an effective game plan, I think he can be effective, especially with Bell at RB, Brown at WR and Miller at TE giving the veteran a lot of weapons to target and the Ravens defense to have to shut down.
On the other hand, the Ravens have had a lot of success against the Steelers and they really do have their backs to the wall in a big way. Their three losses were tough ones, and the opening defeat in Oakland isn't looking quite as bad now that the Raiders have opened 2 - 1. But the Steelers, while all of the attention is on Big Ben's injury, have a terrific defense. They held the Patriots to a season low 28 points in the first game and have only allowed 24 points since. The Ravens aren't exactly playing the level of defense they have in the past, so Vick might be able to manage the game well enough as long as he doesn't turn the ball over.
I haven't been too good on my Thursday night picks, but I'm going a little against the grain and taking the Steelers to bury their rivals in a tight one. There's no way Baltimore can make the playoffs if they drop to 0 - 4, and I'm sure that's a point Mike Tomlin and his staff have repeatedly made this week.