Not a great start to the year based off last week’s picks, but I’ll take it. I did manage to go 10-6 against the spread, but only picked eight winners last week. Underdogs really came through last week, with the Dolphins-Patriots probably being the most shocking result. As I noted last week, the Dolphins do manage to beat the Patriots a lot in Miami, but it was a surprise to see it happen in Week 1 and especially for me given that the Patriots are my Super Bowl pick.
The Bills-Bears was another surprise, and it already appears that Chicago is well on its way to being ravaged by injuries, the one thing that they could not afford to happen. I knew I was going out on a limb by picking the Bears to win the NFC North given their utter lack of depth.
But tonight is the first Week 2 action of the year, and I will have to do my best to try and not overreact to Week 1.
* All lines come from ESPN.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
Thursday, September 11 at 8:25 pm ET on CBS/NFL Network
*Line: Ravens (-2.5)
One might argue that the Steelers-Ravens rivalry is the AFC’s version of the Saints-Falcons, although it has been a lot more even over the years. There was a while where the Steelers seemed to clearly control it, but it’s been a lot more back and forth in recent years. These games tend to be very close, and thus why you get a line like this. Essentially, the odds are high that a field goal will decide this game.
And I won’t lie, simply because I have Justin Tucker on one of my fantasy teams, I’m optimistic the Ravens will pull it out. But I think this will be an interesting game. Given all that has occurred with the Ravens involving Ray Rice this past week, this is the classic sort of game where everything falls apart for them, or they “circle the wagons” and get a win.
The Ravens should get back to being a little more balanced, as Joe Flacco dropped back to throw 65 times last week against the Bengals. They will apparently be relying heavily on journeyman running back Justin Forsett to provide a spark. Forsett has always been an underrated player, but he’s not exactly the guy you want to pin your hopes on as far as carrying your ground attack. Last week, the Steelers let the Browns get back into that game. Even though I want to believe in the Steelers this year, they need to prove to me that they are more than a mediocre football team. This will be a good litmus test.
Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens