When the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night, it will be the first meeting between the two AFC North rivals since the Ravens ended Pittsburgh's 2014 season in the AFC Wild Card round at Heinz Field. The stage is set for another classic matchup under the bright lights of prime time on Thursday Night Football. To add to the nostalgia of the event, the Steelers will be honoring Jerome Bettis at halftime for being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
To say the crowd will be hyped is an understatement, and despite the Steelers boasting a better record (2-1) than the Ravens (0-3), the Ravens are road favorites by as many as 3 points. A large part of these odds are based on the injury to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and Michael Vick being under center for the immediate future.
Regardless of venue and records, the odds are saying the Ravens could leave Heinz Field with their first victory of 2015, but what are the experts saying? We take a look to see who the professionals like in this AFC North grudge match.
The fine folks at SB Nation see this game going to Ravens way, with 4 of the 6 experts on the panel selecting Baltimore to head back to Maryland with a 'W'. The same can be said about CBSSports.com, of their 8 experts who select games on a weekly basis, only two (Pete Prisco and Will Brinson) think the Steelers can win at home and move their record to 3-1.
As for the pros at ESPN.com, it is split between the two AFC North contenders. Half of the panel selects the home team, while the other half likes the visitors to hold up their end of the bargain and be the favorites to win this Week 3 game. For Yahoo! Sports, they are the only panel who likes the Steelers to hold serve at Heinz Field across the board.
According to NFLPickWatch.com, a website which takes all expert selections and puts them in one convenient location, they have 62-percent of the people making predictions taking the Ravens. A pretty even number for a grudge match like Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore.
The odds state the Ravens are the team to beat, and the experts seem to be echoing that sentiment. Only time will tell if that holds true, but one thing is for sure - when these two teams play on Thursday Night Football it will resemble a "no holds barred" match of epic proportions.