RAVENS (0-3) AT STEELERS (2-1)
Ravens by 21/2; O/U 44
TV: Ch. 2, NFL, 8:25 p.m.; Radio: WCBS (880)
Raise your hand if you thought the Ravens would be 0-3.
Raise your hand if you knew Michael Vick was still in the league.
Well, that's the reality these two AFC North rivals face as winless Baltimore travels to face Vick and Pittsburgh Thursday night. The Steelers lost Ben Roethlisberger for four to six weeks when he injured his left knee last week. The Ravens are hobbling, too, winless through their first three games for the first time in franchise history.
Only a quarterback can move a point spread this much, and that's what happened here as Roethlisberger's injury shifted the line by nearly a touchdown: Reports from Las Vegas said the Steelers would've been about 4-point favorites if he played.
The teams are 10-10-2 against the spread in last 22 meetings. The last time they played, Joe Flacco led Baltimore to a wild-card playoff win at Pittsburgh in January. Don't think the Steelers have forgotten about that. Plus, doubts that they can't win without Roethlisberger will be added motivation for the other Steelers.
The difference-maker in this game will be the Steelers' Antonio Brown, who has 29 catches for 436 yards and two touchdowns this season. That's an average of 15 yards per catch for one of the game's fastest receivers, and if there's one thing Vick, 35, is still good at, it's throwing the deep ball.
The Ravens allowed 458 yards to the Bengals last week, and 448 to the Raiders the week before that. Of those 906 yards, 734 were through the air.
This will be a close game, but I like the Steelers to make enough big plays against that Ravens' secondary to win outright.
The pick: Steelers