What a shit show this has been! Originally scheduled for Thanksgiving but postponed almost a week due to the Ravens having difficulty containing a COVID-19 outbreak which has left them severely depleted as they try to be the first team this season to defeat the 10-0 Steelers.
Due to this outbreak, the Ravens will be without a host of starters including last years MVP Lamar Jackson as well as Mark Andrews, Matt Judon and Calais Campbell which means both sides of the ball will be relying on backup’s and practice squad players. In Jackson’s absence, we will see former NFL rookie of the year, Robert Griffin III (who we’ll refer to as RG3) under center. RG3 was one of the most explosive dual-threat QB’s the league had ever seen until a serious injury sidelined him and in terms of style of play is very similar to Jackson but up against this Steelers defense with an offense missing not only pass-catching weapons but also their starting and backup Center things could be difficult for the veteran. As previously mentioned the Ravens defense is also missing vital pieces and with Pernell Mcphee and Brandon Williams joining Matt Judon and Calais Campbell meaning that it’ll be a defensive line which looks a little different to the usual.
Pittsburgh players made their feelings about this game being rescheduled clear on Twitter on Thursday and are no doubt looking forward to getting their chance to play and put some hurt on the Ravens. Twice this season have the Steelers had games rescheduled due to their opponents falling foul of a COVID-19 outbreak and I feel for the Steelers as through no fault of their own have they missed out on their full bye week and now have missed out on the long week a Thanksgiving game would have given them but the Steelers can take solace knowing that them will take on a beaten up Ravens side at home for the chance to sweep their divisional rivals. The Steelers boast the leagues best defense and their equally as good on the back end as they are the front leading the NFL in both Sacks and Interceptions. The offense will be without James Connor who has tested positive for COVID-19 but is otherwise looking good with their dangerous trio of WR’s all expected to suit up.
This is a divisional game between two fierce rivals so anything could happen but I don’t see this beaten up Ravens side being led by a backup QB taking down the unbeaten Steelers. As for my best bet It’s a difficult one as a lot of the usual lines we’d target have been suspended (at time of writing) due to the uncertainty around the game and who exactly will be available but I’ve managed to find something I like and that’s for the Ravens to commit the first turnover, as we’ve said they’re missing multiple important starters on offense including their starting QB and going against a playmaking unit who lead the league in Interceptions, I also think the missing starters on defense play a part here too as the Ravens will be without their primary pass rushers I’d expect Big Ben to have more time in the pocket and not be throwing under pressure so much which reduces the risk of him throwing a pick.
PREDICTION: STEELERS 27 – 18 RAVENS
BEST BET: RAVENS to commit the first turnover – 4/6 with William Hill. 0.5 point bet.