TNF: Steelers (1-0) at Ravens (0-1)
Pittsburgh jumped out in front of Cleveland in week 1. It was a tale of two halves as they held on to win by a field goal, but the other 27 points were scored in the first half and the D allowed points for a comeback. Big Ben looked comfortable with elite receiver Antonio Brown, who appears to be matchup proof. After force-feeding Marcus Wheaton in preseason, the communication has been shored and the second year wide out nearly had a triple-digit effort. Le’Veon Bell was the feature back and he did it all on opening day. The defense limited plays through the air but couldn’t slow things down on the ground.
On that note, it’s not like the Ravens’ strength is running the football. Granted, Justin Forsett came through for nearly a hundred yards, but Bernard Pierce is still regarded highly by the coaches despite being benched. There always seems to be something when it comes to Pierce, he just doesn’t get it done on game day. Joe Flacco really zeroed in on Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta, yet he was vocal about Torrie Smith’s ability to catch 100 passes this season. Flacco plays better off the playaction, so that Gary Kubiak ground game remains the key to their success. Defensively, they halted the Bengals to kick field goals, enough to keep them in the game. They look solid, but not good nor great at anything really.
For a rivalry that was premised on defensive pride, the tide has been turning for a couple years and we could see a higher-scoring affair than usual. Both offenses have the advantage coming into this collision. Baltimore is coming off a tougher game where they were edged by Cincinnati, where as Pittsburgh escaped a forgettable second half against Cleveland. With Ladarius Webb making his debut this week, this is his week 1 as opposed to Antonio Brown’s week 2 after a big game. Ben Roethlisberger looked comfortable with Marcus Wheaton also, after a force-feeding preseason but they came through when the lights came on. Factor in the all-around impact Le’Veon Bell had and the fact that the Steel Curtain played an impressive first half, they should frustrate the Ravens offense like the Bengals did in week 1.
Give me the Steelers on prime time, which means, I’m betting on Pittsburgh because the odds say Baltimore should win by 2.5 points. Keep in mind however, that there are better games to put money on than a rivalry game that is usually a toss up. If you must, I really do like this black and yellow pick for week 2.
Fantasy Football Stop Light
Green: B. Roethlisberger, L. Bell, A. Brown, T. Smith, D. Pitta, S. Suisham, J. Tucker
Yellow: J. Forsett, S. Smith, M. Wheaton, H. Miller
Red: J. Flacco, B. Pierce, L. Blount
* Based on a combination of the matchup, players you may already have, and alternate players that may be available in your leagues.