Free NFL Pick for Sunday October 20

On October 18, 2013, in Free Picks, NFL, by Stephen

Ravens plus 2 at Steelers

Call it the curse of the Pittsburgh offensive line. The Steelers were so desperate to shore up their battered and inexperienced offensive line they signed over-the-hill veteran Levi Brown.

Brown was slated to play this past Sunday, but suffered a triceps injury during pregame warmups and is out for the season. Why even bother with Brown, a notorious poor pass blocker?

Because the Steelers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Pittsburgh is averaging less than 61 yards running a game, on pace to finish with their lowest rushing average since 1935. Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 18 times in five games.

Baltimore has the pass rushers to take advantage, particularly Terrell Suggs. He has seven sacks and is playing as well as he did two years ago when he was one of the best defensive players in the league.

The Ravens have struggled to run the ball, too. Joe Flacco is having a poor season. But at least help has arrived for the Ravens. They have healthy wide receivers now, including speedster Jacoby Jones joining Torrey Smith. Ray Rice is far better to any running back Pittsburgh has and Flacco now has a cleaner pocket with tackle Eugene Monroe joining the starting lineup.

This has been an unbelievably tight series with seven of the last eight regular season games decided by a field goal or less. Pittsburgh hasn’t defeated Baltimore at home by more than three points since 2007 – and that was with far better teams than this one. So taking any
points in this matchup is appreciated.

Another tight game is expected. But the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens have the superior talent. The Steelers have a great tradition and are well coached, but their defense has too much age, their offensive line is terrible, the skill position talent is down and
Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley are at odds.

Beating the Jets for their first victory doesn’t change anything. The Steelers are bad, very bad this season. They aren’t in the Ravens’ class.

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