Anyone out there recognize these Pittsburgh Steelers? Troy Polamalu is still lurking in the secondary and Ben Roethlisberger is still the quarterback, but other than that, the Steelers have been awful so far this season. If you followed the Steelers in the preseason, you would have noticed that their offensive line is in absolute shambles. I don’t usually put much stock into the preseason, but this is one spot that I knew could have transferred over into the regular season. The Steelers suffered a miserable loss in week 1 against the Tennessee Titans, and then followed it up on MNF with a dud against the Chiefs, losing 20-10. The defense is still there, but the offense hasn’t shown up yet.
To a certain extent though, the Chicago Bears aren’t the same team we are accustomed to seeing. The offense has improved in recent years, but the Bears are a team that have been known for their stout defense. The Bears aren’t going to win games that way anymore, the defense has gotten old and slowed down considerably. It is Jay Cutler’s show now, and he’s going to need to take on even a bigger role in 2013. So far this season, things have been going great, but it hasn’t been easy in either of their wins against the Bengals and Vikings. They’ll look to go to 3-0 on the season against the Steelers at Heinz Field on SNF.
Bears vs. Steelers Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears -3(+100)
@Pittsburgh Steelers +3(-120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bears vs. Steelers Pick:
When SNF scheduled this game months ago, I don’t think they figured to be getting a Steelers team in this kind of shape. Nevertheless, anytime the Steelers are involved in a game it brings plenty of attention to it. The Steelers and Bears are two of the most iconic names in professional football, so at first look it seems it will be a good game. While the Steelers are still searching for their first win of the young season, the Bears have gotten out to a quick start at 2-0. They barely got by the Bengals in week 1, converting a touchdown with seconds remaining to capture the 24-21 win. Last week’s win was even closer, as they barely beat the Vikings, 31-30. If you haven’t noticed yet, Brian Urlacher is not manning the middle of the field for the Bears anymore. Not only does losing Urlacher hurt the Bears with regards to talent on the field, but there isn’t much of a leader presence on their defense without him. Don’t get me wrong, the Bears defense is not awful, but is nothing close to its days atop of the league in the top 5. Nowadays you will find the Bears around the middle in the NFL. They are currently 17th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game with 345. The 30 they allowed last week brought their average points allowed up to 25 a game.
Considering how brutally awful the Steelers have been offensively though, does the Bears defense really need to do much to pick up another victory in Pittsburgh. It’ll begin and end up front with the Steelers offensive line against the Bears pass rush. This is a large reason for why I took the Bengals last week and cashed in with them. The Bears have had trouble disrupting opposing quarterbacks so far this season, and may take a blow if Julius Peppers is unable to suit up. Peppers played injured last week and it clearly showed on the field. He is expected to play on Sunday, but I’m not sure in what capacity, it definitely won’t be at 100%. The Steelers played a difficult defense on MNF a week ago, but should find life a little easier against the Bears at home. I know there is this stigma that the Bears have this amazing defense, but they don’t this year folks.
The team will go or fall with Cutler, and so far, the team has played quite well offensively. The problem with Cutler is turning the ball over. He will routinely make a jaw dropping play, followed with a bone head decision that ends up giving the ball back to the other team. Cutler has tossed 5 touchdowns this season, but also has 3 interceptions to his credit. While the Steelers offense is not great, they still have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They also thrive at home, where they tend to win slow scoring slug it out kind of games. The Bengals have a pretty good offense, but they really didn’t allow anything to materialize last week. A.J. Green was held in check along with the rest of the Bengals, so the 20-10 loss was not a result of the defenses’ efforts. The Steelers will need to win games like they’ve always done in the past, with defense.
Okay, the Steelers will need their defense to carry the load, and it’s safe to say they have been a successful organization because of their defense. However, their offense has always been average to good. At this point, even having a bad defense would be an improvement over the very poor display of offense they have showed thus far in 2013. The problem here is of course the offensive line, but even though receiver Mike Wallace didn’t have a great 2012, the Steelers miss his ability to stretch the field. They are now counting on Emanuel Sanders to replace his abilities.
When it comes to this game, I think we’ll see Roethlisberger play much better against a team that has had trouble getting quarterbacks on the ground. The Bears may get to him, but I think he’ll dance around and make plays with his legs against an overrated defense. With the rest of the world jumping on the Bears in this spot on SNF, I expect the Steelers to get their first victory of 2013. The Steelers’ defense forces Cutler into a bad game, and they end up picking up the cover on the spread.
PICK : Steelers +3 (-120)