NFL Sneak Peek – Week 2 – Steelers vs. Ravens

 

CBS paid $275 million to broadcast Thursday Night Football this season and they get one of the best rivalries in the NFL to begin their coverage. The last five meetings between Pittsburgh and Baltimore have each been decided by three points or less. Only one of the last 11, and two of the past 15 times these squads have met has the game been over a touchdown margin. The total between the two foes has been less than 44 in six straight and 13 of the last 14 meetings. However, the total has exceeded 41 in half of the 14 games.

CBS paid $275 million to broadcast Thursday Night Football this season and they get one of the best rivalries in the NFL to begin their coverage. The last five meetings between Pittsburgh and Baltimore have each been decided by three points or less. Only one of the last 11, and two of the past 15 times these squads have met has the game been over a touchdown margin. The total between the two foes has been less than 44 in six straight and 13 of the last 14 meetings. However, the total has exceeded 41 in half of the 14 games.

One year after capturing the Super Bowl, and then paying Joe Flacco big money during the off-season, the Ravens went 8-8. They were 8-6 with a chance at the playoffs but fell to New England in week 16 and Cincinnati during the final Sunday of the year giving up a total of 75 points in two weeks. The Ravens, once known for their fearsome defense, finished 12th in the NFL in total defense and points allowed. On offense the Ravens produced the fourth fewest yards in the league thanks mostly to a running game that was better than only Jacksonville and Atlanta. Baltimore fumbled only seven times all season but recovered only four opponent fumbles and finished the year -4 in turnover ratio.

Pittsburgh began last year 0-4, but won six of their final eight games and finished at 8-8. If Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop hadn’t missed a week 17 field goal against San Diego the Steelers would have made the playoffs. During the first seven games in 2013 Pittsburgh averaged 17.9 points a game. Over the final nine weeks they scored 28.2 points a contest. Unlike Pittsburgh teams of yesteryear, the Steelers passed well last season, ranking 12th in the league through the air and holding opponents to 222 passing yards a game, ninth best in the NFL. However, they struggled to establish a ground game, finishing 28th in the league running the ball, and watched opponents tally more than 115 yards a contest in the running game, 21st in the league. Like Baltimore, Pittsburgh was -4 in turnover ratio.

The Ravens played the fifth toughest schedule in the league last season and for a second straight year were under .500 against the spread. Baltimore was 7-8-1 against the number in 2013 though they did go 5-3 at home. In 2012 the Ravens were 6-9-1 against the number. Pittsburgh matched up against the 22nd ranked schedule and rallied for a 9-7 mark against the number finishing 4-4 on the road. It was the Steelers best mark against the number since going 10-6 in 2010.