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Flightless Ravens seeking inner Steel

01 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Flightless Ravens seeking inner Steel

Baltimore’s finest are struggling, but they will attempt to redeem themselves against a Pittsburgh side missing Ben Roethlisberger

It was the sight every Pittsburgh Steelers fan was dreading on Sunday.

As the pile of players cleared, star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was crumpled on the floor, clutching his knee. His face contorted in a mask of pain.

Gasps and murmurs spread round the stands. The worst had happened. For the first time since 2012, their talisman had been injured.

With Big Ben out for four weeks, Thursday’s opponents, the Baltimore Ravens, have become favourites for the win at 20/29.

That is despite so far this season playing as if their players had only been introduced to each other in the locker room before the game.

They currently sit at 0-3, the first time they have been winless after their first three games in the franchise’s history.

Much navel gazing and soul searching had been promised after falling short against a Cincinnati Bengals side that did their level best to throw the match away.

But 13 penalties against the Ravens was always going to halt even the most stirring of comebacks, especially with a defence made of toffee and despite eventually leading with three minutes to play in the final quarter.

So what are the key matchups for Thursday’s edition of one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in NFL history?

Stepping in to fill Big Ben’s shoes for Pittsburgh will be Michael Vick, the infamous veteran QB.

Many fans feel confident that despite the downgrade in accuracy from Roethlisberger, the Steelers will still benefit from having last year’s leading AFC rusher, Le’Veon Bell for Vick to hit.

The problem is that Bell thrived largely off the space opened up by defences scared of Big Ben’s accuracy.

Without that, the Ravens will pack tight and see if Vick has the arm to beat them still.

This is a man that threw 24 interceptions in his first two seasons as Eagles quarterback even four years ago. Yet it is 5/4 for him to lead the Steelers to victory.

On the other side of the coin, the Baltimore Ravens still need the quality to bunch up defensively – something they haven’t really shown this season.

Coach John Harbaugh has been bullish in the week, and the quick turnaround could be just what they need to put pressure on their opponents.

Their biggest bright spark is that quarterback, Joe Flacco, seems to have formed a good rapport with receiver Steve Smith, who has caught 23 passes for 336 yards in the last two games.

Last season, it was the Ravens that rose to the challenge in the playoffs and downed the Steelers conclusively, 30-17.

What they wouldn’t give for that scoreline – or a fraction of the desire shown then – on Thursday.

If they can manage it, over 44 total points is 10/11. Just for your information.

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers