NFL Week 1 Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants Predictions
The first of two Week 1 Monday Night Football games will come down to how Ben Roethlisberger looks in his return, after he missed most of 2019 and we didn’t get a preseason to know how he’ll respond to game action. Camp reports have been positive, and it sounds like all things are a go for Roethlisberger as he enters the Meadowlands a 6-point road favorite.
- Daniel Jones turned the ball over 23 times in 13 games in 2019. Pittsburgh’s defense led the NFL in turnover rate.
The fact that the Steelers are almost touchdown favorites despite uncertainty around Roethlisberger tells you a lot about how this matchup looks for the Giants. The Steelers boast one of the league’s best front sevens, and the below average New York offensive line is woefully overmatched up front.
Daniel Jones fumbled 18 times as a rookie in 2019, the most in a season by any player since 2002, and he did it in just 13 games. He also threw 12 interceptions last year, and while everyone in New York acknowledges ball security is a focus for him in his second season, he’ll be thrown to the wolves a bit here in the opener.
So Jones has his work cut out for him, but Roethlisberger … does not. Other than a solid run-stopping interior along the defensive line, the Giants are not a particularly good defense in any regard. They don’t project to generate much pass rush against a good Steelers offensive line, and they don’t look capable of covering the stable of weapons at Roethlisberger’s disposal including a healthy JuJu Smith-Schuster, 2019 standouts Diontae Johnson and James Washington, and newcomers Eric Ebron and rookie Chase Claypool.
If Roethlisberger is healthy and back to his old self, the Steelers should have no trouble coasting to an easy win Monday night. Their advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball is just that strong. But even if he’s a little rusty — and he has had his share of road woes in his career — the Steelers defense should generate a few extra possessions for him to shake off the cobwebs. Though the Steelers had a disappointing 2019, they look like a legitimately strong team entering 2020, and I’m comfortable backing them as big road favorites right out of the gate.
Steelers @ Giants Spread: Steelers -6
Steelers @ Giants Moneyline: Steelers -250, Giants +215
Steelders @ Giants Over/Under: 46
- The Steelers have won each of their last nine Monday games
- The Giants have failed to cover the spread in each of their last eight home openers
- Each of the Giants last six home openers have gone under the total points line