According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, Roethlisberger is making progress this week but still lacks the necessary arm strength to get the ball down the field, making him highly questionable for this Sunday at the Ravens.
Hanging on by a thread to the sixth and final seed in the playoff picture, the Steelers are desperate for a win after dropping two straight—one of those losses coming at the hands of Baltimore—and will have their hands full with a surging Ravens squad.
Here's your guide for football action on Sunday between these AFC North rivals.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Who ya got?
Spread and Over/Under: N/A (according to Bet Online)
With no spread, this is a straight pick 'em, which really turns out to be a no-brainer.
I like Baltimore at home.
Steelers (via CBS Sports):
QB Ben Roethlisberger—Shoulder—QST
WR Antonio Brown—Ankle—PRB
S Troy Polamalu—Calf—PRB
LB LaMarr Woodley—Ankle—QST
QB Byron Leftwich—Ribs—OUT
Ravens (via CBS Sports):
WR Torrey Smith—Thigh—PRB
WR Anquan Boldin—Knee—PRB
TE Dennis Pitta—Neck—PRB
S Ed Reed—Shoulder—QST
LB Dannell Ellerbe—Ankle/Knee/Finger—QST
CB Corey Graham—Illness—QST
DE Pernell McPhee—Thigh—QST
S Bernard Pollard—Chest—QST
LB Terrell Suggs—Ankle—PRB
Fantasy Big Plays
Steelers: Mike Wallace
Sorry, but I'm not buying into Wallace being benched or demoted. He's clearly the Steelers' best WR and Mike Tomlin knows that.
It's true that Wallace hasn't been productive lately, but if you can find me someone from the Steelers' offense that has, I'll give you a cookie.
Baltimore isn't the same in the secondary without Lardarius Webb and I would like to think Wallace will use his burners to help out his fantasy owners. It's tough owning anyone on the Steelers right now, but I think Wallace is your best option, even if Big Ben doesn't play.
Ravens: Ray Rice
Rice didn't get it going like I thought he would in the first meeting with Pittsburgh this season, rushing for just 40 yards on 20 carries. He did, however, make up for it a bit in the receiving department, catching five passes for 53 yards.
Following his dominant day against the San Diego Chargers last week (97 rushing yards and 67 receiving yards), I think you'll see a different Rice this weekend against the Steelers, especially after seeing rookie Trent Richardson have a solid day against them in Week 12.
Whether it's on the ground or through the air, Rice is going to be the difference-maker for the Ravens' offense this Sunday.
Keys to Steelers Win: Shut Down Ray Rice
You can defend Joe Flacco all you want but Ray Rice is what makes the Ravens' offense go, as the Chargers found out last weekend.
Pittsburgh's defense did an impeccable job of containing Rice in their first meeting and they'll have to mirror that game plan again on Sunday afternoon.
What makes the fifth-year running back so difficult to prepare for is the fact that he gets the job done in all aspects of the game, whether it's rushing, blocking, receiving or decoying.
Shutting down Rice and forcing Flacco to make plays is the Steelers' best chance at winning this game.
Keys to Ravens Win: Get After the QB
I don't care who starts for the Steelers—it could be Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch or Terry Bradshaw—putting pressure upon whoever's under center is the key for the Ravens.
Baltimore pressured backup Byron Leftwich in Week 11, sacking him three times on five quarterback hits, which lead to an interception.
Pittsburgh is having a ton of issues moving the chains, and sending extra pressure at the QB should lead to errant throws and mistakes in the backfield that go Baltimore's way.
Prediction: Steelers 13, Ravens 23
With Big Ben still questionable, I have to go with Baltimore. Even if Roethlisberger plays, I like Baltimore's chances of putting pressure on him and knocking him off his game.
Playing at home with a surging Rice leading the charge, it'll be all Baltimore in Week 13.
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