Week 3 of the NFL season brings us a good ol’ fashioned Pennsylvania rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Making things even more exciting is the fact that both teams enter this showdown with perfect 2-0 records. For Pittsburgh, it was likely to be expected. They’ve been as good as advertised and clearly have their sights set at a divisional crown and a lengthy playoff run. Conversely, for the Eagles nobody really knew what to expect out of them. With rookie quarterback Carson Wentz at the helm, they’ve looked pretty good and in a wide-open NFC East division, you have to think they’ve got a shot. One intriguing thing going into Week 3 has to be the Eagles’ strength of schedule to date. They’ve looked good, but beating the Browns and Bears is nothing exciting. This game represents a huge step up for the Philadelphia, and it’ll be intriguing to see how they will handle their high-flying in-state rivals.
Steelers vs. Eagles Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 (-115)
@ Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 (-105)
Over 47 (-115)
Under 47 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Steelers vs. Eagles Pick:
Yes, there is no doubting just how good Carson Wentz has looked through his first two starts in the NFL. The rookie QB has dominated, but doing that against the Bears and the Browns is quite different than doing that against a Super Bowl-contender in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defensive unit is by no means the best in football, but it will represent a step up and expect them to have some tricks up their sleeve for the youngster. Philadelphia still doesn’t have enough vertical threats downfield for the Steelers to worry in their secondary. Expect Pittsburgh to be able to keep everything in front of them and limit the big-plays on Sunday afternoon. The Steelers also have a better pass rush compared to anything Cleveland or Chicago offered in the first two weeks. They’ll be adamant about trying to apply pressure to Wentz and forcing him into bad throws and turnovers. Wentz and the Eagles will still have success, but the Pittsburgh defense will provide just enough resistance to give their offense a chance to pull away in this one.
For the Steelers when they have the ball, it’ll be a lot more of the same on Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh’s offense is on another level and even though the Eagles’ defense and their front seven especially are getting a ton of love, playing Cutler and RG3 is nothing like going against Big Ben and Antonio Brown. One area the Eagles will simply have zero answers for, is how they plan on containing Pittsburgh’s plethora of speedy and talented receivers downfield. The Eagles’ secondary is one of the worst units in the NFL, and nobody will be able to stay with Brown, Eli Rogers, or even Sammie Coates. Philadelphia is going to have to apply constant pressure to Roethlisberger, and it’s going to be tough to do that across four quarters.
Pittsburgh is getting a bunch of the public action and in my opinion it is well-deserved. People seem to be heavily overreacting on the Eagles’ first two games against bad football clubs. With Leodis McKelvin hobbling, the Steelers will be able to control the game through the air, and there still isn’t a better duo in football than Roethlisberger-to-Brown. Pittsburgh’s defense will do enough to rattle Wentz, and look for the Steelers’ skill to win out in the second half. Pittsburgh has not won in Philadelphia since 1965, but that’ll change on Sunday.
PICK = Steelers -3.5 (-115)