Week 14 of the NFL schedule features key battles morning, noon and night, with the Vikings' visit to the Panthers, the Eagles' trip to take on the Rams, which will be followed by the the always-entertaining showdown between the Ravens and Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2)
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Line: Steelers by 5 (43.5)
Facts: Baltimore has won six of the past eight against Pittsburgh, but not last year at Heinz Field when the Steelers won 31-27 on WR Antonio Brown’s late reach over the goal line with 9 seconds left... In their Week 4 meeting in Baltimore, the Steelers won 26-9 seven days after the Ravens returned shell-shocked from London after losing to Jacksonville, 44-7... Both teams are missing major defensive contributors – Pittsburgh won’t have LB Ryan Shazier (serious back injury); Baltimore will be without CB Jimmy Smith. Also out will be suspended Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster... The Steelers are in a keen battle with New England for the top seed in the AFC, both at 10-2. The teams will meet next week in Pittsburgh, with the winner holding the top seed no matter what happens here.
Analysis: Pittsburgh has the far better record, but the Ravens seem like the hotter team, with three straight wins, including a shutout over of the Packers at Lambeau Field, whereas the Steelers have pulled out late three-point victories over Green Bay and Cincinnati. What’s helped spark the Ravens is the return of NT Brandon Williams, who missed four games earlier this season. Without him Baltimore went 1-3, including the loss to the Steelers when Le’Veon Bell rushed for 144 yards. With him the Ravens are 6-2 and had all three of their shutout victories. The hungrier team wins.
Forecast: Ravens 24, Steelers 17