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Ravens - Steelers : Baltimore Beatdown Staff picks

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DAVE MUNCH

It all (probably) comes down to this. The fiercest rivalry in the NFL will be rekindled on Christmas day, with the 2016 AFC North division championship on the line. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

From all of us at Baltimore Beatdown, Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Onto the predictions...

Ravens 31, Steelers 23 - Ravens defense is able to limit the Steelers Killer B's and force two turnovers, one returned for a touchdown. The Ravens special teams contributes with several solid returns and a blocked punt. The offense is limited, but generates enough points to put up a solid win behind 110 combined yards rushing from Dixon and West, converting most of their red zone trips into touchdowns. - Yitzi Weiss

Ravens 27, Steelers 17 - I think the Ravens continue their dominant ways against the Steelers. The Ravens had a good game plan in the first meeting this year, playing triple coverage against Antonio Brown and forcing other players in the Steelers passing game to make plays while also providing a stacked box against Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell.

As long as the game plan stays the same on defense and the unit isn't afraid to play press coverage, I think the Ravens should be fine because I believe the Ravens offense can take care of a Steelers defense that tends to allow big plays between the 20's. I think in this game the Ravens offense will cash in for some points. - Wola Odeniran

Steelers 24, Ravens 23 - Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t have a good feeling about this one. The Ravens defense has been beating the Steelers with smoke and mirrors in recent meetings, and their run defense has been slipping lately. This is the time of year when the age of the primary edge rushers and safeties start to show.

Flacco should be able to move the ball in the air if he gets decent protection, and I expect the newfound red zone efficiency to continue. But the Ravens season long rushing slump will do them in on the road. Fortunately, a wildcard bid is still in play, and the Ravens play better playoff football on the road anyway. - Vasilis Lericos

Steelers 30, Ravens 24 - The Ravens will face arguably their hardest challenge of the season as the team travels to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers on Christmas Day. Likely without cornerback Jimmy Smith yet again, the Ravens secondary will be tested against one of the best offenses in the NFL. Tavon Young has been great, but the assignment with Antonio Brown may be too much for the rookie to handle.

The Steelers on the other hand have been stellar defending the pass, and come into the game with health on their side. If Marty Mornhinweg and the offense continue to lean on the pass, the Ravens will struggle to move the ball. If Mornhinweg gives West and Dixon a chance to build off of last week's strong showing, then the Ravens have a chance in this game. However, the Ravens depleted secondary will struggle to contain one of the best home teams in the NFL, and Baltimore’s offense doesn't have the firepower to keep up. It will be close, but the Steelers will pull away late. - Matt Cohen

Steelers 31, Ravens 13 - Without Jimmy Smith on the field, Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will have a huge, successful day for the Steelers offense against a Ravens defense that struggled against the Eagles and can't stop quality offenses. With a defense that has improved, Pittsburgh will stop a lifeless Ravens offense that has no identity. In Heinz Field, in a sea of terrible towels, the Steelers will not only win the AFC North, they will knock the Ravens out of the playoffs entirely after Miami defeats the Bills the day before. - Evan Mazza

Steelers 23, Ravens 20 - It'll come down to the wire as usual, but Jimmy Smith's absence will play a big role in it. A late defensive collapse will have Baltimore questioning their cornerback depth. - Jacob Louque

Ravens 23, Steelers 21 - No Jimmy Smith, no problem. This defense has struggled without Jimmy Smith but I think the defense will find a way. Joe Flacco is no stranger to big games, especially in hostile environments. In a tough, hard-hitting game, I think Baltimore finds a way to keep their playoff chances alive. - Logan Levy