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BALTIMORE at Cincinnati -2
Arguably the game of the week because of its postseason implications on the rest of the AFC, the Ravens and Bengals meet in Cincinnati.
Here, we see Baltimore having struggled on the road (3-4) despite having a Top 5 defense. Thing is, they also have stepped up in every big game of 2011 (Steelers twice, 49ers, Texans). Cincinnati, though, was without rookie WR AJ Green in the first meeting where Balty won, 31-24.
It's certainly going to be a nail-biter, but Baltimore has a lot to play for as the division, a playoff bye and keeping a division rival out of the postseason is on the line.
Cincinnati is still a few steps back because of its youth.
Take the Ravens against the spread.
PITTSBURGH at Cleveland -7
Although the game is in Cleveland, it doesn't matter. The Steelers simply have too much talent for Cleveland to overcome on both sides of the ball.
Regardless of the starting QBs, Pittsburgh's defense will completely blank the Browns' offense, and the Steelers' offense will methodically gain momentum as the game progresses.
Cleveland lacks confidence (as evidenced by its No. 30 ranked rush defense) and has arguably the NFL's worst offense.
The Browns won't score more than seven points, and Pittsburgh will at least get 14 like the first meeting.
Take the Steelers against the spread.
Indianapolis at JACKSONVILLE -3.5
A game with literally nothing on the line except pride, the Colts head into Jacksonville on a two-game win streak.
Neither team has much of a passing offense, but Jacksonville has a man named Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL's current leading rusher, and the Colts rank No. 29 against the run (allow 141 per game).
Also, the Jags do have a respectable defense and are capable of shutting down solid offenses, like Baltimore in Week 7.
Take the Jaguars against the spread.
NY Jets at MIAMI -2.5
The Jets come into Miami needing a win and some help to make the playoffs. Well, based on how well the Dolphins have played since the middle of the season, don't expect Miami to lay down.
Reggie Bush has become a wrecking force on the ground, gaining over 100 rush yards in each of his last four games (200 in one of them). Also, the Dolphins defense has been winning in the trenches thanks to their No. 3 ranked rush defense (allowing 93.4 yards per game).
The Jets have struggled with consistency all season, and the offense has lacked explosiveness for quite some time. The Dolphins offense is much more balanced and will win the game.
Take the Dolphins against the spread.