- The Steelers’ defense ranks second in adjusted sack rate, second in success rate against the pass and the run, and second in PFF’s team pass rush grade.
After a huge win on Sunday Night Football in San Francisco last week, the Eagles return home for a cross-state battle with a rested Steelers team that had their Week 3 game postponed. It’s a tough draw for Philadelphia, and the 7-point spread reflects it.
We found some value last week by recognizing the Eagles’ early-season turnover issues probably underrated their true team strength. After posting the league’s worst turnover margin through three games, the Eagles were able to win the turnover battle three to one last week and pull out a close victory.
But Philadelphia does still have plenty of issues, and the biggest in this matchup will be the myriad offensive line injuries that the Steelers’ front seven could feast on. Pittsburgh’s defense is no joke, especially up front where they have generated among the most pressure on opposing quarterbacks of any defense in the league. In fact, Pittsburgh’s defense ranks top three is about any defensive metric you can find, including success rate, adjusted sack rate, and PFF grades.
Then you add in that this defense is now well rested and is facing off against an offense that played in a night game on the west coast last week. The Eagles did technically get the standard six days between games, but presumably got into Philadelphia well into the early morning hours of Monday last week. Outside of the difficulty this defensive matchup presents the Eagles’ offense on paper, there’s no question who the fresher team will be.
That obviously translates to the other side of the ball, where the Pittsburgh offense got healthy. They’ll welcome back wide receiver Diontae Johnson after a concussion knocked him from the Steelers’ Week 3 game, and fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was dealing with a knee ailment early in the season but practiced in full on both Thursday and Friday this week after the week off.
So far this season, the Steelers have looked like a legitimate contender, and this is the type of game a legitimate contender wins handily. The Eagles are still not healthy at their offensive skill positions, and will be without Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, and Dallas Goedert. Their offensive line issues are well-documented, and the Steelers’ defense has a huge edge in rest and health. Pittsburgh also has the upper hand on offense, and are at their home field in a game where they should be able to put up points. I’m taking Pittsburgh to cover a touchdown.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – Steelers -7 @ -115
NFL Free Picks
There's a host of exciting games on the Week 5 slate this Sunday, although the NFL world is set for more potential postponements in light of recent positive Covid-19 tests. The week will end with Justin Herbert given a primetime game to showcase his talents as the Chargers face Drew Brees' Saints in New Orleans. OddsChecker's crack team of Ben Gretch, Ben Rolfe and Davis Mattek are here to give you the best free picks for the games.