Big Ben’s Absence Looms in Rivalry Game
While the rib injury Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sustained on Monday is a rare one, Big Ben being out of the lineup for the bi-annual Steelers/Ravens AFC North showdown is not rare at all.
Since becoming the starting quarterback as a rookie in 2004, Roethlisberger has missed four games against the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are 0-4 without Roethlisberger under center.
The oddsmakers, as expected, have adjusted the line accordingly. The Steelers, expected to be a 3.5-point favorite with a healthy Roethlisberger are now +3 or higher at most sportsbooks. The adjustment is an enormous one for an NFL game, especially one with a total of only 41. Points are at a premium in this rivalry, and the oddsmakers consider the loss of Roethlisberger to be worth 6.5 points.
Here are the four occasions the Steelers faced the Ravens with someone besides Roethlisberger under center.
Nov. 20, 2005
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Ravens 16, Steelers 13 (OT)
Roethlisberger was out with a knee injury for the Steelers Week 11 matchup with the Ravens. Without Ben, the 7-2 Steelers fell to the 2-7 Ravens in overtime in Baltimore as third-stringer Tommy Maddox started for the Steelers. The Steelers would go on to win the Super Bowl with a healthy Roethlisberger.
Dec. 30, 2007
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Ravens 27, Steelers 21
With nothing to play for, the Steelers went on the road to Baltimore with Charlie Batch starting and Roethlisberger resting. Still, the oddsmakers made the AFC North Champion Steelers favorites, but, once again, the Ravens beat a Steelers backup.
Nov. 29, 2009
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Ravens 20, Steelers 17 (OT)
Dennis Dixon found himself in his first starting role on a Sunday night in Baltimore as Roethlisberger was forced out of the lineup with a concussion. The Steelers were considered underdogs, getting nine points to an above-average Baltimore team. Dixon delivered a gutsy performance and the Steelers forced overtime where the Ravens ultimately prevailed thanks to a Dixon interception.
Oct. 3, 2010
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Ravens 17, Steelers 14
Serving the final game of a four-game suspension, Roethlisberger was once again unavailable against the Ravens. The Steelers had gone 3-0 without Ben and they were well on their way to a 4-0 start behind strong play from Charlie Batch. However, after leading for a majority of the game, the Steelers defense allowed Joe Flacco to drive down the field with just over a minute left to connect on a game-winning touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmanzadeh with 32 seconds left.
The Steelers are 9-5 against the Ravens with Roethlisberger and 0-4 against them without their franchise quarterback. However the Steelers are 5-1 against the spread over the last five seasons without Roethlisberger, and they have showed gutsy performances against their hated rivals without Roethlisberger. The line movement is significant, especially for a Baltimore team that struggles immensely on the road. And while the Steelers have never beaten the Ravens without Roethlisberger, they have never started Byron Leftwich against them. Leftwich has been a proven starter in the league. Even though the Ravens are 4-0 against the Steelers without Roethlisberger, three of the wins were by exactly three points. So the most important thing may be the line move considering now the Ravens are giving three points and possibly more.
- Will Rogers
- November 28, 2015 - 7:30 PM
- Offered at:
- pinnacle @ -3.5 -106 Stanford
Notre Dame @ Stanford -4 7:30 EST
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are on the bubble as far as the playoffs are concerned, and they need a win here at Stanford, and possibly some help from teams like Nebraska, Penn State or TCU. The Cardinal's playoff hopes are a little slimmer, but they've already punched a ticket to the PAC12 Championship Game, and a win over the Irish could keep them in the discussion. My money is on a Stanford team that has a far more impressive body of work.
Here are my keys to the game:
1. Christian McCaffrey - The Heisman hopeful ran for 192 yards on 29 carries last week, and he also rank back a 98 yard kick for a TD. He should find plenty of room to run against a Notre Dame team that surrendered 214 rushing yards to Boston College last week.
2. Injuries - The Irish are really banged up, and last week they lost leading rusher C.J. Prosise to a high ankle sprain. He's not likely to play on Saturday versus Stanford.
3. X-Factor - The Cardinal are 38-17 ATS in their last 55 home games, and they've covered in seven of their last nine versus a team with a winning record.
Selection: This is a play on the Stanford Cardinal (Free)