Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. PIT

Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. PIT


Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. PIT

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Prediction: BAL 17, PIT 19 (Line: PIT by 2.5)

The 0-3 Ravens can hardly afford another loss much less to divisional rival Pittsburgh. They have yet to lose by a full touchdown but the defense has not been consistent other than giving away just enough points to secure the loss. The 2-1 Steelers return home but the offense has to play without Ben Roethlisberger for the first time since 2012. That could make this more interesting but the Ravens are winless mainly because they have no offensive stars other than Steve Smith. This is the Thursday night game and they often disappoint.

The Ravens won 26-6 at home last year but the Steelers won 43-23 in Pittsburgh.

Baltimore Ravens

1 @DEN 13-19 10 JAC ——
2 @OAK 33-37 11 STL ——
3 CIN 24-28 12 @CLE ——
4 @PIT —— 13 @MIA ——
5 CLE —— 14 SEA ——
6 @SF —— 15 KC ——
7 @ARI —— 16 PIT ——
8 SD —— 17 @CIN ——
9 BYE ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 300,2
QB Ryan Mallett 230,1
RB Justin Forsett 30 4-20
WR Kamar Aiken 4-60
WR Marlon Brown 2-30
WR Steve Smith 8-110,1
WR Mike Wallace 3-30
TE Maxx Williams 5-40,1
PK Justin Tucker 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The schedule is not a friend this year and the offense is still trying to install the Marc Trestman scheme only without any great receivers other than 36-year-old Steve Smith. Justin Forsett went back under his rock and no one else is stepping up to make a difference. The defense that opened the year with such promise has allowed 734 yards and seven touchdowns between Derek Carr and Andy Dalton.

QUARTERBACK : Joe Flacco is posting much better fantasy points at least. He managed 384 yards and two scores in Oakland and then posted 362 yards and two more touchdowns on the visiting Bengals. He is still throwing at least one interception per game but so long as Steve Smith can continue to produce over 150 yards per week, Flacco will be fine. Probably won’t last though.

RUNNING BACK : Justin Forsett only gets worse. He was down to only ten runs for 13 yards versus the Bengals and still has yet to catch more than four passes for 16 yards. There is nearly nothing in common between Matt Forte and Forsett in this exact same system. The lone touchdown was scored by Lorenzo Taliaferro who has 34 yards on the season. This unit was expected to take a hit in the new offense but the bump in receptions has never happened.

WIDE RECEIVER : Steve Smith comes off games with 10-150 and 13-186 with two scores just last week. Those were the only touchdowns by a wideout this year and the only other passing scores both went to Crockett Gillmore. Kamar Aiken managed 89 yards in Oakland but otherwise this unit is nothing but Steve Smith.

Breshad Perriman was close to debuting but then aggravated his knee in pregame warmups last week and now is back out indefinitely.

TIGHT END : Crockett Gillmore is expected to miss this Thursday game with a calf injury. That will promote the rookie Maxx Williams into heavier use and he had seven targets last week – second only to Steve Smith. Williams caught three for 44 yards. He’s having a quiet rookie season as expected.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers have been great against the run and that makes Forsett an even less attractive start this week. But the Steelers secondary is weak and already allowed each opponent to feature a wideout with at least 98 yards. Steve Smith is the lone must start from this team though Flacco could be considered as well.Maxx Williams has some upside this week with Gillmore out but that a risky start for a rookie tight end. The only reliable element here is Steve Smith.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 22 26 20 6 5 6
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 23 1 16 30 5 8

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 @NE 21-28 10 CLE ——
2 SF 43-18 11 BYE ——
3 @STL 12-6 12 @SEA ——
4 BAL —— 13 IND ——
5 @SD —— 14 @CIN ——
6 ARI —— 15 DEN ——
7 @KC —— 16 @BAL ——
8 CIN —— 17 @CLE ——
9 OAK ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Michael Vick 30 230,1
RB Le’Veon Bell 50,1 9-80
WR Antonio Brown 7-80,1
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 3-30
TE Heath Miller 2-20

Pregame Notes: The unthinkable happened. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a MCL sprain and a bone bruise in his knee and will be out for four to six weeks depending on how quickly he heals. The return of Le’Veon Bell is a savior for the offense that was churning out yardage each week but that was using Antonio Brown. Now the offense will need to have some dump off targets handy and Bell is one of the best. There are several spots in the schedule where missing Roethlisberger may be too much to get the win. This week is a good test at home.

QUARTERBACK : Michael Vick takes the reins for the foreseeable future but he’s have minimal play since 2013 and is new to the team. He still offered rushing production in his most recent action last year. The success of the offense relies on two factors. First – can he connect with Antonio Brown who is having an incredible season so far. And secondly – will passing to Le’Veon Bell become an even more common play?

RUNNING BACK : DeAngelo Williams’ two game stretch as the starter is over and he only received one carry in Week 3. Le’Veon Bell’s debut saw him run for 62 yards and a score on 19 carries plus 70 yards on seven receptions. To the extent that they can, the Steelers will rely heavily on Bell to move the offense and prevent Vick from being asked to do too much.

WIDE RECEIVER : Antonio Brown is on a pace to end with 155 catches for 2325 yards and 11 touchdowns. That was already not going to happen and now with Roethlisberger gone for a month or more, Brown’s production is sure to take a dive. He had incredible chemistry with Big Ben that Vick cannot hope to replicate. Many of Brown’s catches were in heavy traffic from pinpoint, accurate passes. Vick has a big arm, but opponents rarely allow Brown to just run down the field without several defenders.

No other wideout has mattered this year but that will be changing at least incrementally. The Steelers cannot expect to just rely on Brown with Vick under center.

TIGHT END : Heath Miller offers minimal production but will catch the occasional touchdown.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens secondary has been shredded this year and allowed six touchdowns over just the last two games. But adding Vick to the mix is an whole new and welcome variable. Bell is a must start even though the Ravens have a very good rushing defense. Bell is almost certain to turn in even more receptions. Brown is still worth a start and could have a monster game. Certainly it would have been likely with Roethlisberger playing. The upside is too great to ever bench Brown but he is more likely to see a decrease at least this week if not until Big Ben returns.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 16 13 6 22 28 21
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 29 5 31 1 30 14

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