Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers will face each other in the NFL 2021 Week 18 action on Sunday afternoon. Both teams still have a chance to enter the playoffs, and the winner of this match might clinch the post-season spot.
Baltimore is in an abysmal form, which might cost them a place in the battle for the Lombardi trophy. The home side needs to break its bad run to try entering the post-season despite having slim chances. On the other hand, Pittsburgh needs to improve its away performances to enter the playoffs. The visitors are in a bit better position than their rivals, but still, a victory in this clash is a must.
Baltimore Ravens – Will they end their poor streak?
The Ravens looked like serious playoffs contenders, but as they entered December, their losing run started. Baltimore lost five straight matches, and four of those were pretty close. The hosts slipped to the 3rd spot in the AFC North, having an 8-8 record, and severely jeopardized their chances of entering the post-season. They suffered another tight defeat last weekend when the Rams celebrated a 20-19 win. A poor 4th quarter cost Baltimore a loss, as they allowed 13 points to their rivals, scoring only three in that period of the game.
Lamar Jackson has thrown for 2,882 yards so far, with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, while the opponent defenders sacked him 38 times. He also contributed the most in the Ravens’ ground game with 767 rushing yards and a pair of scores, while Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray have combined for 906 yards and ten TDs. Mark Andrews is Baltimore’s most dominant receiver with 1,276 yards and nine touchdown receptions, while Marquise Brown has generated 981 receiving yards and six scores. Patrick Queen has led the defensive corps with 93 total tackles, while Tyus Bowser has seven sacks.
Expected Line-Up (Offense): Devonta Freeman, Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Alejandro Villanueva, Ben Cleveland, Bradley Bozeman, Kevin Zeitler, Patrick Mekari
Expected Line-Up (Defense): Justin Madubuike, Brandon Williams, Calais Campbell, Tyus Bowser, Josh Bynes, Patrick Queen, Justin Houston, Jimmy Smith, Chuck Clark, Brandon Stephens, Tavon Young
Quarter Back: Tyler Huntley
Kicker: Justin Tucker
with best odds
Pittsburgh Steelers – Can they finally celebrate on the road?
The Steelers continued with excellent home displays, and they go to this game after beating the Browns 26-14 last weekend. That victory kept them in the game for the post-season ticket, but the visitors need another one to keep their chance of clinching it. Pittsburgh hasn’t been confident on the road lately, losing in each of their previous four outings. Nevertheless, they held the Browns to only 232 yards in the offense, while their rushing department gained 190 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger has gone 3,496 yards through the air so far, with 21 TDs and nine interceptions, while he was sacked 37 times. Najee Harris is one of the NFL’s best rushers with 1,172 yards and seven touchdowns, but no other Steelers’ player gained a three-digit number of rushing yards. Diontae Johnson has been the best in the receiving department with 1,110 yards and eight touchdown receptions, while Chase Claypool has contributed with 823 receiving yards and a score. Defensively, Minkah Fitzpatrick dominates with 118 total tackles, while T.J. Watt sacked the opponent QBs 21.5 times.
Expected Line-Up (Offense): Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Ray-Ray McCloud, Pat Freiermuth, Derek Watt, Joe Haeg, J.C. Hassenauer, Kendrick Green, John Leglue, Chukwuma Okorafor
Expected Line-Up (Defense): Carlos Davis, Isaiah Buggs, Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt, Marcus Allen, Robert Spillane, Alex Highsmith, Joe Haden, Miles Killebrew, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Sutton
Quarter Back: Ben Roethlisberger
Kicker: Chris Boswell
Expert Pick #1 – Pittsburgh Steelers +5.5 @-110
It’s hard to resist backing the road underdogs in this one since Baltimore has been in a very poor form lately. Lamar Jackson might be out of the contest for the Ravens in this one, and that could make things easier for Pittsburgh. I’ll stick with the Steelers ATS for the first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 41.5 @-110
Both teams have been involved in low-scoring matches lately, and I don’t expect to see them producing more than 41 points in total. Three of their last four head-to-head encounters remained under the margin, and this one should not be much different. Give me the Under as the second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Ravens Under 23.5 @-115
The Ravens might struggle in the front without Lamar Jackson, and they shouldn’t score more than 23 points. Baltimore failed to do that six times on the previous seven occasions, and the odds are quite generous for this pick.