Seattle Seahawks (2-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)
The Seahawks are in trouble, sitting at 2-3 in the best division in the NFL, having now lost starting quarterback Russell Wilson for an extended period of time with a finger injury. Wilson hasn’t missed a start since joining the Seahawks in 2012 and has been about as valuable to the Seahawks as any quarterback has been to their team over that time frame. That being said, I do like the Seahawks chances of covering this week in Pittsburgh, as 5-point underdogs.
The Seahawks’ 2-3 record is more the product of a tough schedule and they’ve gotten about league average play from their defense and special teams, so the rest of this roster isn’t terrible. Their offense will obviously take a big hit without Wilson, but teams tend to play at 110% in their first game with a backup quarterback in the lineup and they have a solid offensive supporting cast, led by a talented duo of wide receivers, so the Seahawks aren’t in bad shape, facing a Steelers team that I have about four points below average.
The Steelers’ offense is no better than a year ago and, in fact may be worse, while their defense is still good, but not good enough to offset their offensive performance like they were last season, when the Steelers won a lot of close games against easy competition. The Steelers won week 1 in Buffalo, which was a big surprise at the time, but given how they’ve played in their past four games, only beating a banged up Broncos team, it’s pretty safe to say that week one result was a fluke.
The Steelers shouldn’t be favored by 5 points over anyone but the worst teams in the league, which is not what the Seahawks are, even without Wilson. My calculated line has the Steelers as just 1.5 point favorites, so there is enough line value to take the Seahawks confidently, with about a third of games decided by 5 points or fewer. I didn’t have any one game I loved this week, so by default this is my Pick of the Week, but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks aren’t a strong value this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers 17 Seattle Seahawks 16
Pick against the spread: Seattle +5
Confidence: Pick of the Week