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A lot of teams will compete for the top spot in their divisions this week, including two teams in the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who’ve lost two straight, are hoping their starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns this week after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. They’ll need him when they visit their rivals in Baltimore because first place will be on the line.


Steelers, Ravens Battle for First Place

The Steelers and Ravens have had inconsistent seasons thus far, but they’re both still in the thick of the playoff race, making Sunday’s game that much more important. The Ravens started the season 3-0, but have since lost four straight. That being said, all of their losses were by eight points or less, so they’ve been close. As for the Steelers, they won four of their first five, but then dropped the last two. Both teams are fresh off a bye, so this should be a very physical showdown. 


Bucs Hope to Finally Win at Home

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 4-point underdogs for their home game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Reason being: they haven’t won a home game this year (0-3). The struggle isn’t restricted to this season, either; the Bucs are just 9-26 at home over the last five seasons.

The Falcons seem to be having a significantly better season than Tampa Bay, but the two teams aren’t very far apart in the standings. If the Bucs win, they’ll be within a half-game of first place in the NFC South. We’ll see if they can finally get that elusive home win and return to the playoff race.


Vikings Slip

The Vikings started the season 5-0, but have lost back-to-back games since. Their two losses came from the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles; the Vikings managed to average just 75 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry in those two losses. They managed to score two touchdowns, but both came in garbage time.

This week, the Vikings (6-point favourites) will try to get back on track when they face the Detroit Lions, who’ve lost three straight road games. The Lions averaged 18 points per game in the three losses; compare that to their 25 points per game average in their last three home games. If the Lions can keep the Vikings at bay, they’ll move up the NFC North rankings and be within a half-game of first place. 


Important Injuries

Alex Smith (KC): Smith is in the league’s concussion protocol and will be up against the clock to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.

Spencer Ware (KC): Ware suffered a concussion last week and failed the second phase of his testing. There’s still a chance he’ll play this week, but it doesn’t look hopeful. Backup Charcandrick West will likely handle the starting duties.

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): Head coach Mike Tomlin did not confirm whether or not Roethlisberger will play this week. When questioned, he stated that if everything goes according to plan, Big Ben “could have a chance to play” against the Ravens.

*Odds as of November 2, 2016