The Washington Redskins will travel to Heinz Field for a 1:00PM EST start against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Redskins are feeling a little shell shocked after dropping a 27-23 decision to the New York Giants on the road. RG3 manufactured a marvellous drive to take a 23-20 lead late in the 4th quarter with just minutes remaining. Griffin connected with Santana Moss on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 left. It appeared that RG3’s late game heroics were going to be the final straw of the game; however, Eli Manning had different plans, as he connected with Victor Cruz for a deep 77-yard bomb down the middle. The touchdown ultimately sealed the W for the Giants, giving the Redskins a crushing defeat. It will be interesting to see how RG3 responds to such a crippling loss. The Steelers on the other hand scathed by the Bengals in a come from behind victory on SNF, 24-17. If anything, this game proved that the Steelers can run the ball without Rashard Mendenhall carrying the rock.
Jonathan Dwyer got the bulk of the carries and took advantage of the situation, rumbling for 122 yards on 17 carries. Going into the game it was expected that it was going to have to be Roethlisberger that won the game for the Steelers. So, it was a pleasant surprise to get the run game going, and getting back to the Steelers brand of football. The Steelers are still ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing, a place that they don’t find themselves in often. They will most certainly need to get back to Steelers football on a more consistent basis if they want to be taken serious in 2012. Dwyer will have a good chance to show he is for real against a pretty decent rush defense. The Redskins can defend the run, allowing only 85 yards per game (7th), but the defense is still dreadful because of the lack of a pass defense. The Manning to Cruz touchdown late in regulation was basically the Redskins in a nutshell defensively. They have given up far too many big plays this season. RG3 will make it happen on the offensive side of the ball, and then the defense just shuts down. The ‘Skins pass defense is dead last in the NFL, allowing 328 yards per game. Speedy receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown should be able to find seams in the defense to exploit this deplorable unit. Wallace has been quiet, but he could be in for a big game here.
The Steelers’ defense has most definitely been a shadow of its former self. The Steel Curtain hasn’t been evident in 2012. The defense has suffered a rash of injuries that has kept them from being a productive, cohesive unit. Perennial pro-bowl safety Troy Polamalu is again limping through another season, only playing in a couple games thus far. Linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have been banged up as well. Thankfully the Steelers, both talented players will be suiting up against the Redskins. If you look at the Steelers statistically, they still have a good looking unit even after all of the injuries. They are 2nd against the pass and 9th against the run, so they have the ability to definitely shutdown RG3.
The Redskins’ offense has been brought back to life with the arrival of Griffin. They rank 5th in total team offense with 406.3 yards per game. Even more surprising is the fact that the running game is ranked 1st in the NFL with 177.7 yards per game on the ground. Rookie Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic has come out of nowhere to lead the charge. The offense took a big hit last week with the loss of Fred Davis, however. Davis will be go for the year, so they went and acquired former long time Redskin, Chris Cooley. Cooley is a tight end that is familiar with the offense, but he has some rust to shake off. I don’t think the Steelers are the team you want to face after a long absence from football.
Redskins vs. Steelers Spread and Betting Odds:
Washington Redskins +4.5 (-105)
@Pittsburgh Steelers -4.5 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Redskins vs. Steelers Pick:
Griffin and the Redskins nearly pulled another one out of the hat last week, but luck ran out after Manning’s bomb to Victor Cruz. We will definitely see what this team is made of after suffering such a crushing loss. They will need to rebound in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL, Heinz Field. Heinz Field has become a win factory of sorts for the Steelers. They have not lost at home yet this season, and they only lost once last season at home. That coming at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in a 23-20 defeat. Leading to an 8-1 record at home in the last two years. ATS they are 13-4 in their last seventeen games at Heinz Field.
I like RG3 as a player, he is a special talent, but even the best have trouble taming the tundra in Pittsburgh. With that said, I don’t foresee Griffin escaping with a victory in his first escapade in Pittsburgh either. If James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley can manage to stay healthy, the Steelers will have a pretty defense for the rest of the season. That is a big if, however. I stated that this is the worst team they have had in a decade, and while true, that is nothing to be too ashamed of. This will certainly be RG3s biggest test yet in Pittsburgh and I think he will be a tad overwhelmed. I’ll lay the points here and take the Steelers at home.
PICK = Steelers -4.5