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Prediction Friday: Steelers get even with Ravens

This is the first time all season that I've picked against the Ravens. I think Baltimore should be 7-0 and running away with the AFC North, but they've laid a couple of eggs this season and so they have two losses.

Week 9 is the week that they get their third loss. Unfortunately for them, it will come against the arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

Each team has their share of injuries to key players. However, the Steelers are just playing better right now.

Baltimore needed a furious comeback last week to beat the Arizona Cardinals 30-27. Pittsburgh made life difficult for the New England Patriots.

The Steelers' defense will be without outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who has a hamstring injury. James Harrison, the other outside linebacker, is probable after an eye injury.

Woodley being out is helpful to the Ravens' offensive line. He's been a hot linebacker and Baltimore's line has struggled. 

Something that might help the Ravens' line though is the possibility that left guard Ben Grubbs, who hasn't played since Week 1 because of a toe injury, may be coming back. Grubbs is officially listed as questionable.

So what to make of all this?

Ben Roethlisberger has been on fire. The Ravens forced Roethlisberger to turn the ball over five times in Week 1, but don't expect that to happen this week. The Pittsburgh quarterback has been on target with his receivers. Even without Emmanuel Sanders, who's out on Sunday because of the death of his mother, Roethlisberger should be able to stretch the field with Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Baltimore's defense should be able to contain Rashard Mendenhall, but they will have issues stopping the pass. 

On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Joe Flacco must play better. He's been below average the last two games, but did seem to wake up in the second half against Arizona.

Ray Rice will also need a repeat performance from Week 1. In that game, Rice gained 107 yards on the ground and 42 yards receiving. He has driven the Steelers crazy recently and if the Ravens want to pull this one out, Rice needs to be a major factor.

The winner of this game will probably go on to win the AFC North. That winner will be Pittsburgh. The Steelers nip the Ravens 20-17.


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