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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2010
HOU at PHI *CHI at DET *CLE at MIA *DAL at IND
*JAC at TEN *ATL at TB *SF at GB *CAR at SEA
DEN at KC NO at CIN *OAK at SD *PIT at BAL
*Updated WAS at NYG *BUF at MIN STL at ARI NYJ at NE

Prediction: PIT 20, BAL 24

Update: Ben Roethlisberger has been limited in practice because he has aggravated an old injury and the associated old scar tissue. He was reported to have broken a metatarsal bone in his foot but the Steelers have denied that. He is still expected to play this week.

Update #2: Roethlisberger has still been limited in practice and is listed as questionable on the injury report but is still expected to play.

This is the rematch of week four when the Ravens won 17-14 in Pittsburgh. Now both teams are 8-3 on the season and have only each other to worry about within the division. The Steelers are 5-1 in road games while the Ravens are 5-0 at home. This is the Sunday night game and well worth watching because it should go down to the final minute.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE L 26-39
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK W 35-3
3 @TB W 38-13 12 @BUF W 19-16
4 BAL L 14-17 13 @BAL --
5 Bye - 14 CIN --
6 CLE W 28-10 15 NYJ --
7 @MIA W 23-22 16 CAR --
8 @NO L 10-20 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN W 27-21 - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 280,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 70 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 30 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 40,1 -
WR Hines Ward - 50 -
WR Antwaan Randle El - 50 -
WR Mike Wallace - 80,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: With six games left to play, there is no "do or die" here but the reality is that losing and falling a game back of the team that swept you is like being two games behind. After this weekend, the Steelers get three straight home games and then the Browns in the season finale. Only the visiting Jets should be a problem there. The Steelers will wind up no worse than a wildcard but this games says if it is hosting or visiting for the playoffs.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger is wearing a protective boot this week to rest his sprained foot but he is expected to be back for the game and should not be limited because of it. The home loss to the Ravens was in part because Roethlisberger was still suspended. Charlie Batch had no scores that week and only 141 passing yards. Roethlisberger was out last year when they visited the Ravens.

The Ravens have been good against the pass in most cases but have allowed three passers to exceed 300 pass yards and two of them were in Baltimore. Expect decent pass yards and two scores in this game.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall scored in all but three games and has nine touchdowns on the year. He comes off his third game over 100 rushing yards but he has not played much of a role as a receiver thanks to Mewelde Moore. Mendenhall only gained 79 yards on 25 carries against the Ravens last time but had two touchdowns.

The Ravens only allowed two touchdowns to a visiting running back this season and only Peyton Hillis had more than 75 yards as a surprise in week three. Mendenhall gained 95 yards on 24 carries in Baltimore last year though he never scored.

Expect a decent yardage game here but a touchdown would be unexpected all things considered.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The Steelers were held to minimal gains by the wideouts in the earlier matchup but that was without Roethlisberger playing. Hines Ward (2-14) and Mike Wallace (2-24) had forgettable games and even last season Ward never accounted for more than 47 yards versus the Ravens. Santonio Holmes had a score and 86 yards in Baltimore as the only successful player.

The Ravens are good but their biggest weakness defensively is against the wide receivers. I like both scores to end up with this unit and that has to primarily favor Wallace first. Since Ward has been held in check by the Ravens for many games, I'll credit Emmanuel Sanders with the other score but with low confidence. It is not likely to end up with a tight end but will be here or with a running back on a reception.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller has only caught one touchdown all year and in week five against the Ravens only brought in two receptions for 32 yards. He's only good for two or three catches per week and no scores.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 20 11 10 27 11 4
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 4 5 16 2 20 7
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -16 -6 6 -25 9 3


Baltimore Ravens (8-3)
Homefield: M&T Bank Stadium
Sport Turf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ W 10-9 10 @ATL L 21-26
2 @CIN L 10-15 11 @CAR W 37-13
3 CLE W 24-17 12 TB W 17-10
4 @PIT W 17-14 13 PIT --
5 DEN W 31-17 14 @HOU --
6 @NE L 20-23 15 NO --
7 BUF W 37-34 16 @CLE --
8 Bye - 17 CIN --
9 MIA W 26-10   - -
Ravens Report | Statistics | Roster
BALTIMORE vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco - - 280,2
RB Ray Rice 70 50 -
RB Willis McGahee 20,1 10 -
TE Todd Heap - 40,1 -
WR Anquan Boldin - 50 -
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh - 50 -
WR Derrick Mason - 70,1 -
PK Billy Cundiff 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: This one is for all the marbles. The Ravens can take a commanding lead in the AFC North with a win here. Not only take the lead in the division and own the first tie breaker outright against the Steelers, but be in a decent position to vie for the #1 or #2 seed in the playoffs. Hosting the Saints will be no gimmee game, but getting past this home matchup with the Steelers makes it all a coast to the post season.

QUARTERBACK: Back in week five, Joe Flacco passed for 256 yards and one score in Pittsburgh with one interception but he has been more productive in home games this year where four of the last five games had multiple passing scores if not healthy yardage. The Steelers have been more more giving on the road this year when they have allowed six touchdowns over the last four road venues and had their opponents post 250 passing yards or more each time. Flacco is also spreading the ball around very well so that there really is no primary receiver for the Ravens.

Flacco is on a hot streak and the Steelers have been allowed more passing yards and scores. Expect a decent showing here by Flacco.

RUNNING BACKS: Le'Ron McClain has a bad ankle and may sit out this week which leaves the Ravens short a very good blocking back. They could use both Ray Rice and Willis McGahee in the same backfield and they signed Jason McKie to help fill in if needed.

McGahee has not been a factor for a month now while Ray Rice has been solid on yardage and yet sparse on scoring with just the one touchdown in the last six weeks. Rice gained only 20 yards on eight carries in Pittsburgh and had only one catch for nine yards that week. McGahee ran 14 times back then and gained 39 yards and one score. The Steelers have only allowed three rushing scores this year by a running back and just one in Pittsburgh but McGahee should make that two here at home.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Anquan Boldin has been in a slump for a month now that he has not exceeded 50 yards in any game and has just one score in that time. Derrick Mason has scored in three of the last four games and enjoyed an expanding role from earlier in the season. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was given one long score in Carolina to shut him up but he only had one other score all year - in Pittsburgh when he caught three passes for 49 yards. Mason had 80 yards on six receptions in that game and Boldin turned in 68 yards on seven catches.

At least one of those scores will end up with this unit and it should favor the flanker Mason. Boldin needs a big game but this is not likely to be where it happens. If anything, Boldin is acting as a decoy and helping the others.

TIGHT ENDS: Todd Heap has really stepped up his role in this offense and his 65-yard touchdown catch last week was a career best. Heap has scored five times over the last six weeks and should improve on the 35 yards he had in the first meeting. Heap had two scores in Pittsburgh last year though none in the home game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 15 10 18 12 13 26
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 12 2 13 21 17 12
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) BAL -3 -8 -5 9 4 -14

WEEK 13
2010
HOU at PHI CHI at DET CLE at MIA DAL at IND
JAC at TEN ATL at TB SF at GB CAR at SEA
DEN at KC NO at CIN OAK at SD PIT at BAL
  WAS at NYG BUF at MIN STL at ARI NYJ at NE
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