NFL Thursday Night Football Picks: Ravens, Steelers

Steve Smith is being hailed as the saviour to Baltimore’e slumping season but our stats say that even Pittsburgh can stop this one-trick pony


I was reading through a fantasy football article this morning that highlights player matchups for the upcoming week, citing statistical highs that each offensive star had during previous matchups against the opponent. Not one player from the Baltimore at Pittsburgh game showed up. Guess Joe Flacco’s mediocre 7-7 record (5-9 ATS) the past two years vs. the division is catching up with him.

The Ravens lost a close one last week vs. Cinci that dropped their record to 0-3 SU on the season. Steve Smith had a huge day catching passes from Flacco and he was all over the highlight reel but in the end, the Bengals won 28-24.

Baltimore’s passing game ranks eighth overall with 282 PYPG and of the seven teams ahead of them, only only two have a losing record (Chargers, Saints). The other five are a combined 13-2 SU and it has everyone convinced that tonight in the first round of this year’s divisional series, the Ravens are going to absolutely shred Pittsburgh’s 27th ranked defense.

Divisional road faves with a losing record who can pass the ball do have a good record (9-2 ATS) but the difference with that limited sample is that each of those 11 teams had multiple players who could catch the ball and make plays. Baltimore’s passing game is extremely one dimensional right now and as you can see with the following SDQL code, the record for one-trick pony road faves is only 1-8 ATS. Click SDQL Text: AF and p:HL and max:p:receiving yards > 150 and season >= 2002 for details from the best free Sports Database on the net.


Baltimore’s offense is eventually going to benefit from Breshad Perriman (knee) but tonight, both he and TE Crockett Gillmore (calf) are out of the lineup. That leaves Justin Forsett and Flacco, desperate against a Steelers D that has won six consecutive Thursday games at home, limiting teams to 8.3 points per game. Pittsburgh also has a competent starting QB in Michael Vick, an outstanding young RB named Le’Veon Bell and top WR Antonio Brown making life miserable for the Ravens secondary. As we tweeted out earlier, our Pick Sixty power ratings have the Steelers winning this game straight-up so our play tonight is on the home dog.

Pick: Take the Steelers +3 (-115)

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