AFC Champ Free Pick

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are one win away from playing for a Super Bowl title.

But only one team will get that opportunity when the two squads square off in Pittsburgh this Sunday for the AFC Championship.

Will we give our playoff free pick to the home favorites the Steelers in this AFC Championship matchup or go with the Ravens, who are led by a rookie quarterback and a first year head coach?

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Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Steelers -6 point spread favorite. The over/under for this game has been set at 34 total points.

Top Trend: Pittsburgh is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games, while the over has hit in four of the Steelers’ last five games playing Baltimore.

Key Stat: The Steelers have suffocated opponents this season, limiting them to only 13.9 points per game. They’ve given up an average of just 157 passing yards per game this season and 105.3 rushing YPG.

Game Outlook: It’s extremely difficult for a team to beat an opponent three times in one season, but when you look at the facts in this game, it gets a little easier to lay the six points and go with the Steelers. The Ravens are extremely beat up coming into this game with cornerback Samari Rollie expected to miss the game and linebacker Terrell Suggs being limited to only passing downs. The Ravens also have a rookie quarterback in Joe Flacco and a first year head coach in John Harbaugh so their inexperience is staggering. Yes, Baltimore’s defense is outstanding, but Pittsburgh’s is even better and even though Ben Roethlisberger is banged up, the Steelers are going to put this game on the shoulders of running back Willie Parker. Parker is coming off an excellent rushing performance in a win over the Chargers in the divisional round last week and seems to have benefited from the week off that the Steelers were awarded for being the No. 2 seed entering the playoffs. Pittsburgh is a nasty place to play come January and it’s a rough environment for a rookie quarterback to succeed in, even one like Flacco who has played very well this season. The Dolphins and Titans limited to Flacco to under 200 yards passing the past two weeks, but couldn’t force the rook to make any mistakes. Expect the Steelers to pick Flacco off at least once and force him into some bad decisions. Be confident and lay the points with Pittsburgh. Baltimore’s defense is tired and Flacco is bound to slip at some point. Even though it won’t be a very popular pick for most bettors aware of how good both defenses are, go with the over if you’re betting the total. Thirty four points isn’t much and the Steelers easily covered the over last week after hitting some big plays, including a Santiono Holmes’ punt return for touchdown in the first quarter. For the rest of our NFL AFC Championship Free Pick, see below.

Our Free NFL Pick for the AFC Championship Playoff Game matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers game is

PITTSBURGH STEELERS -6

TheSpread.com Projected Final Score

Pittsburgh Steelers 24

Baltimore Ravens 14

We also predict that this game will GO OVER THE TOTAL (34 Sportsbook.com) SET BY ODDSMAKERS

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Posted: 1/18/08 9:00AM ET

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