It wasn't long ago that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens appeared out of the playoff hunt. After combining to go 5-1 over the last three weeks, however, both AFC North rivals find themselves at 5-6, and the winner of Thursday night's Thanksgiving showdown will be just a game and a half behind the division-leading Bengals.
The Ravens are currently listed as 2½-point favorites at home, though the line has moved in Pittsburgh's direction since opening at three. If this contest is anything like the last time these two teams met -- a 19-16 Steelers win in Week 7 -- it should be a tight and unpredictable game.
The overall trends seem to support the Ravens, who are 4-1 at home this season and have gone 6-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last seven games. Their actual record may be below .500, but they've have gone 6-5 ATS in 2013. The Steelers, meanwhile, have gone 5-13 ATS in their last 18 road games and are 2-4 straight-up outside of Pittsburgh this season. That being said, they're 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Baltimore.
Any Steelers-Ravens game should be expected to be a hard-hitting, defensive affair. Throw in the fact that both offenses are struggling and that it's a late-November night game in Baltimore, and you should expect to see a low-scoring game. Neither offense ranks higher than 21st in points scored, while neither defense is lower than 13th in points allowed. The two teams are averaging 2.7 points above the over/under, which has been set at 40, but weather and ineptitude could very well result in an under.