Chicago Bears (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
I tweeted before Pittsburgh/Cincinnati that I could see the loser of the game still making the playoffs after starting 0-2 and I still feel Pittsburgh could sneak in, even after losing. It was a pretty competitive game either way. If David Paulson doesn’t fumble in field goal range in the 1st quarter and a tipped ball doesn’t turn into an interception in the 4th quarter, that could have been a completely different game.
The Steelers really need Le’Veon Bell to come back healthy and play well. He’s expected back this week, though probably in a limited role. Heath Miller is expected to return as well, but it’s unclear how limited he’ll be in his first game back from a torn ACL suffered last December. Right now, their offense doesn’t make any sense, as they have no running game, a deep throw quarterback, speed receivers, an overmatched offensive coordinator who loves short throws, and an offensive line that can’t block. That could be a different story this week as their health improves.
Fortunately, the defense looks like one of the better units in the NFL thanks to the return of Troy Polamalu healthy. They should remain a tough defense going forward and I find it hard to believe they’ll be the 3rd least efficient offense in the NFL (in terms of moving the chains) all season, so I haven’t completely given up on them, especially in an AFC North that looks clear as mud right now.
This week, they face an NFC North team which is a different monster, but it’s not like Chicago is that great of a team. I don’t believe that the Bears deserve to be 2.5 point favorites here in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers have been home dogs just 6 times in the Ben Roethlisberger era, going 3-1-2 ATS. I also don’t believe that the Steelers are going to start this season 0-3. At the same time, I’m not confident in them at all right now.
Pittsburgh Steelers 17 Chicago Bears 16 Upset Pick +110
Pick against spread: Pittsburgh +2.5