NFL Wednesday Afternoon Preview: Baltimore at Pittsburgh [After Three Postponements, It's Kickoff Time!]

NFL Dec 02, 2020

Note:  This AFC North rivalry game was moved from Thursday night to Sunday, then to Tuesday night, and now finally – to Wednesday afternoon.

After we suffer our way through the Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Football Team, we close out the Thanksgiving slate with a great football game.

The undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers will host their AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens in the Turkey Day finale. Pittsburgh almost has as many wins (10) as the Lions, Texans, Cowboys, and Football Team combined (13). They are the 17th team in the Super Bowl era to start the season 10-0. Of those teams, ten have gone on to make the Super Bowl, six of them winning it. Meanwhile, the Ravens have lost three of four since their bye week and sit at 6-4, just outside of the AFC playoffs.

This game opened with the Steelers as -2.5 favourites but has bumped up to -4.0 while the total dropped a couple of points from 46.0 to 44.5.

The Ravens were hit hard by COVID-19 this week, placing running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram on the Covid/Reserve list on Monday. That leaves them with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill as their primary ball carriers, along with Lamar Jackson. On Tuesday they learned of more positive tests, with the most prominent being outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

As for their new-look backfield, Edwards has been a pillar in the offence already this season, handling 85 carries (9.4 per game) for 376 yards (4.4 Yds/Carry) and three touchdowns. He's often stepped up in big spots before and has had success versus the Steelers. Last season, he filled in for Ingram in Week 17 and went for 130 yards. Additionally, he had 87 yards and a TD in Week 8.

For the Steelers, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is questionable to play Thursday after injuring his toe Sunday in Jacksonville. Smith-Schuster was hurt bizarrely, twisting his foot while stepping on a ref's penalty flag. The Steelers expect him to play but have tremendous depth at WR if he doesn't. Smith-Schuster led all Steelers receivers with seven catches and 67 yards in their 28-24 win over the Ravens in Week 8.

Pick: Steelers -4.0

Reasoning:  The Steelers have yet to lose this season and have a clear advantage in terms of preparation for this matchup. The Ravens have been forced to close their facilities and prepare remotely, which is not ideal when you’re getting prepared to face the AFC’s best team. The Ravens still have enough talent and are well-coached, so it should be a close divisional clash, however the Steelers are firing on all cylinders and will be much closer to full strength.

Note:  This article was originally written and published based on the line at PIT -4.  However, with BAL injuries, particularly impacting the start of QB Lamar Jackson, PIT is now favoured by -10.

-- by Timmy Bits


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