The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to live without field general Ben Roethlisberger for the next four weeks. On the other side, the team picked to be a Super Bowl contender, the Baltimore Ravens are surprisingly 0-3… yes that’s O and Three. In other words, both teams are in a world of trouble as they prepare for the Thursday Night Football clash.
Who will win you ask? That’s a tough pick but before giving away our NFL prediction, let’s take a closer look at the two teams.
Can Michael Vick Lead the Steelers’ Offense?
Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out and backup Michael Vick wants to take advantage of the opportunity handed to him. And it all starts this Thursday. He knows he doesn’t have much NFL playing time left so he’s determined to help the Steelers win.
But will his mission be as smooth as his interview? Not that likely! Remember, he signed with Pittsburgh very late in August and he had only one month to pick up his team’s playbook. Last season was a disaster for Vick but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet: he played for the 4-12 New York Jets. When he had a good team around him, Vick did just fine putting up career numbers and breaking NFL records. In 2010, while in Philadelphia, he had a passer rating of 100.2 including a near perfect game (150.7) against the Redskins.
Now guess what? The Steelers aren’t the Jets; they have a pretty good football team that include an outstanding wideout in Antonio Brown and a more than decent rushing game even though the numbers tell us otherwise (21st in rushing). Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams are very good running backs and if we also add Vick’s footwork, we may be compelled to bet on the Steelers’ rush. Indeed, Brown probably won’t be the main target anymore as in the Roethlisberger era so expect a lot of runs by Bell, Williams and even Vick.
Can Joe Flacco Step Up His Game In The 4th Quarter?
After the last game against the Cincinnati Bengals, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. threw a lot of F-bombs left and right. His team, the Baltimore Ravens is 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. Team’s quarterback Joe Flacco may very well be the scapegoat. Why? According to Sports Illustrated, his game isn’t what it used to be…in the last 15 minutes at least. Basically, Flacco isn’t that clutch anymore making some crucial mistakes as time winds down. This season, in the fourth, he completed only 51.2% of his passes for a 56.9 rating. Overall, he has a completion rate 65.1% plus an 82.2 rating so far in the 2015 NFL season.
Just take a look at this pass that sealed the Broncos’ win in Week 1:
Passes like this can get you in a lot of trouble and Flacco knows it. He definitely needs to step up his game in the last 15 minutes if he wants his team to win again. Will he do it?
NFL Pick: Ravens -3
The game is going to be close but with Big Ben going down, the momentum is on the Baltimore side. The Ravens are a desperate team and know that a 0-4 record is virtually a deal-breaker for any playoff aspirations. Expect them to play with a sense of urgency that could overwhelm the Steelers. They are not a bad team by any means. They are just three or four plays away from being 3-0 instead of 0-3. And with the back against the wall, the Ravens will make sure to get the job done and win for the first time in this young NFL season.
Written by: Florian Gheorghe
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