In one of the few matchups of undefeated teams in Week 3, the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tampa Bay is 2-0 on the young season and has also managed to go 2-0 ATS. Meanwhile, the Steelers have been just as impressive going 2-0 straight up and 2-0 ATS. Kickoff for this highly anticipated matchup will take place at 1 PM EST.
Pittsburgh comes in to this game playing defense at a high level. They opened the season with a 15-9 OT victory over Atlanta and followed it up last week with a 19-11 win in Tennessee. The defense absolutely stifled the Titans, creating 7 turnovers in the game. They also chased starting Titans QB Vince Young from the game, being replaced by the immortal Kerry Collins. Pittsburgh also lost their starting QB as Dennis Dixon was knocked out and will miss the next 4-6 weeks. He won’t get back into the starting lineup as Ben Roethlisberger is due back from suspension in Week 5. Journeyman Charlie Batch took over for Dixon and completed just 5 of 11 passes for a pathetic 25 yards. He will make the start this week against the Bucs. Running back Rashard Mendenhall picked up 69 yards on 23 carries. The Steelers feature the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL in points allowed and the 6th best in yards allowed. The offense, however, ranks 31st in the NFL in yards per game, at just 240.5 per contest.
Most of the media pegged Tampa Bay for 2 wins on the season. They already have those two wins through two weeks. Tampa Bay has used a strong defensive effort to beat their first 2 opponents. Following a 17-14 win over Cleveland in their opener, the Bucs went into Carolina and knocked off the Panthers 20-7 last week. The Bucs’ defense harassed the Panthers for 3 turnovers. Second year QB Josh Freeman played mistake-free football for Tampa Bay, completing 12 of 24 passes for 178 yards and 2 scores. He also got out of the pocket and ran for 43 yards on 4 carries. The Tampa defense is allowing just 10.5 points per game so far, which is 3rd best in the NFL.
Steelers vs. Bucs Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +2.5
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Steelers vs. Bucs Prediction for Week 3:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – Tampa bay has been the surprise of the NFL early in the season. Pittsburgh has been trying to keep its head above water until QB Ben Roethlisberger returns and have found they may have the best defense in the league. I expect the defense to force young QB Josh Freeman into some mistakes in this one. Pittsburgh is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4. Top Play Prediction: Steelers -2.5
Game Total Prediction – The total is set excruciatingly low in this game. However, neither offense and especially neither quarterback are scaring anyone. Meanwhile, these are two of the toughest defenses to play against in the early part of the season. The game has gone under the total 9 straight times for Tampa Bay on top of that. Prediction: Under 33
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