Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s NFL Thursday pick: Steelers beat Ravens in an upset

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) hits Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) in the second quarter of an NFL wildcard playoff game Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) hits Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) in the second quarter of an NFL wildcard playoff game Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh. AP

RAVENS (0-3) at STEELERS (2-1)

Line: BAL by 2  1/2.

Cote’s pick: PIT 23-20.

TV: 8:25 p.m. Thursday, CBS/NFL (airing in South Florida).

The absence of Ben Roethlisberger (out several weeks with a sprained knee) and Baltimore’s winless desperation explains the Ravens being road favorites in Thursday’s AFC North grudge match. No team since Buffalo in 1998 has made the playoffs after starting 0-3, so that’s the historical weight on Baltimore. Joe Flacco’s 6-3 career record against Pittsburgh is yet another reason that might help explain the betting line. I still like Pittsburgh at home. Temp-QB Michael Vick, 35, has experience and a lot of quality help in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, who has 20 catches for 261 yards his past two home games against BAL. Vick also will be facing a Ravens defense that has been strafed for 65 points and 723 passing yards the past two games. Upset!

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