Free NFL Picks Baltimore at Pittsburgh 10-3-2010

October 3, 2010

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Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

October 3rd 2010 1 PM EST

Line: Pittsburgh -2 1/2

Overview:

Both the Ravens and the Steelers are playing spectacular football. This makes one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL even more fun to watch. When you have two teams who both like physical players and pride themselves on defense, players are going to leave bruised and broken. Even the receivers on each team (Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin) are among the most physical in the NFL. Both teams better to be sure to buckle their chin strap. Nobody is coming into this game to make friends.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Steelers defense is healthy. It seems that every year someone is hurt on the Steelers, holding their defense back from playing up to their full potential. This year, Pittsburgh is healthy and nobody wants a piece of the black and gold. Maybe they are rallying around each other and trying to weather the storm while Big Ben serves his suspension. Whatever the case, the Steelers defense has been relentless, taking it upon themselves to lead their team to an undefeated record.
  • Ray Rice is a little banged up, but I don’t think he cares. A bruised knee is keeping him listed as a game day decision, but fantasy owners shouldn’t worry too badly. This is the most important game of the year for the Ravens and Rice knows that. Playing hurt is going to hinder his performance, but I don’t think he would have a big day healthy.
  • The man with the most well insured hair in the NFL, Troy Polamalu, needs to continue to be a force in the backfield. Sure, Joe Flacco will take advantage with his new weapons on offense and march down the field with little throws. The Steelers rank in the bottom half in the NFL in passing defense, but they shouldn’t look to have Troy Polamalu play it safe in order to cover better down the field. Forcing the ball out of Flacco’s hands is exactly what they want to do. If the young quarterback gets comfortable, the talent is good enough at receiver to get something going.
  • This is going to be a defensive struggle, so this might come down to special teams. Not very shocking, considering both teams generally consider offense to be the second most important asset to their teams. Field position, clock management, and defense are the focuses of both teams. Whoever wins those battles will come on top.

Wrap up:

This one is going to be close. Steelers fans are going to be a factor, but don’t think for a second the experienced Ravens team is going to struggle too badly on the road. I think this one will be won on a last second field goal. I’m going with the underdog Ravens. The Steelers are good, but I’m not so sure they are going to be good enough to maintain their perfect record after facing their biggest foe in the league. If the Steelers pull this one out, it’s going to be hard to pick against them next week in my sports picks.

Free NFL Pick: Baltimore +2 1/2


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