Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
The Eagles were at the top of my underrated teams list coming into the season, with a pre-season over/under of just 6.5 wins. Obviously the quarterback situation complicated matters, especially with Sam Bradford getting traded a week before the season started and rookie Carson Wentz being the week 1 starter. However, I thought they were easily the most talented team in the NFC East around the quarterback, particularly on defense, where they were getting a significant upgrade in leadership with Chip Kelly hire Billy Davis getting fired and Jim Schwartz, one of the best defensive coordinators in the league, coming in.
So far, through 2 games, they’ve exceeded even my expectations, winning both games pretty easily and currently ranking 7th in rate of moving the chains differential (RMCD). Granted, neither the Browns or the Bears are a tough opponent, but it can be easy to slip up against bad teams and the Eagles took care of business and dominated both games. They’re the only team in the league to win each of their first 2 games by 10 points and their +34 point differential is just behind New England, who has played an additional game. Their defense has been one of the better defenses in the league, masking their weakness at cornerback with good safety play and good front 7 play, while rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has been very impressive thus far. He doesn’t have great skill position talent around him, which limits this offense, but they do have a strong offensive line, especially with Lane Johnson being allowed to play until the results of his PED suspension appeal.
Given that, it’s confusing why they’re getting 4 points here at home. The Steelers are one of the better teams in the league, but the Eagles are still not getting the respect they deserve from the oddsmakers and I’ll keep betting them until the oddsmakers start making better lines. It’s also worth noting that the Steelers seem to have a habit of slipping up against inferior non-divisional opponents on the road, going 9-20 ATS as non-divisional road favorites in the Mike Tomlin era, dating back to 2007.
They got a big win week 1 in Washington in that situation, beating the Redskins 38-16 as 3-point road favorites, but the Eagles are better than the Redskins and that was week 1 anyway, which is a weird situation. The Steelers were focused in their first game of the season, but could easily be less than fully focused here week 3, after a big win over division rival Cincinnati and with another big conference game (Kansas City) on deck. This has trap game written all over it and I’m happy to take the 4 points with the underrated Eagles, especially since 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer. The money line is also a good value at +160, as this line should be around a pick em.
Philadelphia Eagles 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Upset Pick +160
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +4
Confidence: Pick of the Week