The Steelers will travel to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Eagles in a battle for inner state supremacy. Both teams have started 2-0 this season, each having won once on the road and once at home. The game will kickoff at 4:25 PM. ET.
The Philadelphia Eagles are experiencing success. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising. But, consider that their rookie head coach is starting a rookie quarterback, and few people expected them to do anything this year. So far, through two games, they seem like they’ll be a contender in the NFC East.
Last week, Carson Wentz completed 21 of his 34 passes for 190 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. The most important part of that stat line is the zero interceptions. If Wentz continues to protect the ball, he’s going to have a lot more success this season. That’s going to prove difficult this week against an opportunistic Steeler’s defense.
Wentz will need to rely on his running game and pass protection to allow him time to look down field. In week two facing the Bears, the Eagles racked up 100 yards rushing on 32 carries. That’s solid production as a group; However, their leading rusher only had 40 yards on 12 carries. Against the Steelers, the Eagles need to take the ball out of Wentz’s hands. But without a reliable option at running back, Wentz will have to carry the offense. Through three games, Wentz has proven to have good instincts and an ability to make adjustments. But, against a quality opponent like the Steelers, it’s wise to protect a young quarterback like Wentz. The Steelers will most likely try to confuse Wentz with different looks to force the rookie’s first interception.
The running attack in this game is critical for both teams. Steelers’ running back Le’veon Bell will serve the final game of his 3 game suspension. In his place, DeAngelo Williams has been among the NFL’s leading rusher. In week two, Williams had 32 rushes for 94 yards and had four receptions for 38 yards and a score. He accounted for 132 yards of the Steelers’ 374 total yards. If Williams is a place holder for Bell until he returns, then the rest of the league should feel concerned.
While the Eagles might have their quarterback of the future in Carson Wentz, the Steelers have their future Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. In week two against the Bengals, Big Ben completed 19 passes in 37 attempts with three touchdowns and two interceptions. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch, but with those three touchdowns, he now has six through only two games; he also has three interceptions through two games.
Roethlisberger has a cannon for an arm and isn’t rattled easily by pressure in the pocket. In fact, anytime he’s forced to scramble out of the pocket and throw on the run he somehow, magically, finds a receiver running open across the field. His ability to extend plays has always been a trademark throughout his career. If the Eagles are going to pull of an upset, then they’ll need to get to Roethlisberger in the pocket before he pulls an escape act of Houdini proportion.
The X-factor in this game is Antonio Brown. While the Eagles are quietly a very strong, defensive team, the Steelers are a completely different beast. While Roethlisberger is one of the top quarterbacks, Antonio Brown is arguably the most dynamic receiver in the NFL. Brown’s performance in week two was underwhelming; he was target 11 times but had only four receptions and no touchdowns. Don’t expect a repeat performance.
Eagles Vs Steelers Betting Lines
The Steelers are the superior team on paper. The Eagles have a lot of momentum, but playing a Super Bowl contender like the Steelers will bring soaring expectations down to reality. The Eagles face their first big test of the season, and the hype train stops here. Go with the Steelers on the road to cover the spread.
Play: Steelers -3.5 @ BetOnline.ag