The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Baltimore to play their division rivals, the Ravens, in a must-win game for the Steelers.  Unfortunately, QB Ben Roethlisberger won’t suit up for today’s game, thanks to shoulder and rib injuries that limited his practice time this week.  Charlie Batch will give it another go after a disastrous game last week against Cleveland, but Pittsburgh will get back Troy Polamalu and Antonio Brown.  I’ll hold out hope that the Steeler defense can score points with #43 back in the lineup, and pick Pittsburgh to win 21-17 over Baltimore (CBS, 4:25 ET).

Hey, a guy’s gotta hope, right?

Last week, I had my first sub-.500 set of picks since early in the season, going 2-4 to run my season record to 52-23.  Can I snap back this weekend?  Let’s find out:

  • Vikings at Packers (Fox, 1 pm ET) – The Packers have looked shaky the last few times out, but they’re playing at home, and the Vikings are not a good road team.  Packers over the Vikes, 35-24.
  • Eagles at Cowboys (NBC, 8:20 ET) – This probably looked like a good matchup when they set the schedule.  Dallas isn’t entirely out of the playoff hunt, but the Eagles are, having lost seven games in a row.  Dallas beat them in Philly three weeks ago, and they won’t get Michael Vick or LeSean Jackson back for this game on the road.  Vick’s complaining that Andy Reid’s playing politics with the decision to keep Nick Foles as the starter even though Vick failed his concussion-recovery test on Wednesday, so don’t expect a whole lot of team unity today. Cowboys will get back to .500 with a 28-17 win.
  • Giants at Redskins (MNF on ESPN, 8:30 ET) – This should be a real battle, a great Monday Night game that I’ll have to miss, thanks to it being a school night for me.  The line has the Giants up by one or two points, depending on where you look, and it should be very close.  The Redskins have the best rushing attack but the second-worst passing defense, while the Giants have a midrange rushing defense but the 9th best passing offense in the league.  It will come down to Eli Manning’s arm vs RGIII’s legs.  I’m going to bet on Manning’s arm and experience.  Giants 31-28 over the Redskins, possibly in OT.
  • Buccaneers at Broncos (Fox, 4:05 ET) – Tampa Bay has been surprisingly competitive this season, and are not a team to take lightly.  However, the Broncos are a much different franchise with Peyton Manning under center.  They’re 4-1 at home and unlikely to be contained by the league’s worst passing defense.  Denver wins 31-20, with at least three more Manning TDs to add to his total.
  • Seahawks at Bears (Fox, 1 ET) – Da Bears have been a little inconsistent at times, and the Seahawks have surprised on occasion; Russell Wilson looks like a keeper at QB for Seattle, and he’s got four more TDs than Jay Cutler.  Seattle plays poorly on the road, though, having lost in competitive games to Arizona, St. Louis, San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami.  Their 3rd-ranked passing defense will keep them in the game, but Chicago in Soldier Field will be too much for them to handle.  Bears will edge the Seahawks in a low-scoring game, 20-14.