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AFC vs. NFC here as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 of the NFL season. Since they’re in separate conferences these teams meet only once every four years, so it’s a special occasion to get to see Russell Wilson square off against Ben Roethlisberger. Oddsmakers have the Steelers as four-point favorites here for this one despite their public implosion in Week 1.
The Seahawks have to be feeling lucky just to enter this game at 1-0. They were massive favorites over the Bengals in Week 1 but ended up escaping with a narrow one-point victory. They’ll now be going on the road into a tough and hostile environment, playing their second AFC North team in as many weeks. The Seahawks are in the midst of a transition into a new era of football, as most of the key pieces from their Super Bowl teams have departed.
Pittsburgh had high hopes entering the 2019 season, as they believed that they’d finally be able to get back to playing distraction-free football. They couldn’t possibly have gotten off to a worse start, as they got annihilated 33-3 by the Patriots in Week 1 in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. They have been licking their wounds and will have a lot to prove in this one.
Seahawks Escape With Close Win
The Seahawks are entering this one at 1-0 after picking up a win over the Bengals in Week 1. A win is a win, but this one was ugly and they were lucky to escape with the victory. They entered the game favored by 9.5 and only won by a single point. If it weren’t for a few poorly timed fumbles by the Bengals, Cincinnati almost certainly would’ve won. Seattle’s offense looked very concerning, and they still wouldn’t let Russell Wilson throw. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is stuck in a different decade and insists on pounding the ball every chance he gets. That only works if the running game is elite, which it certainly wasn’t in Week 1.
They averaged just 2.9 yards per carry and if they do that again here then they might get blown out. The defense was also very concerning, as they got shredded at home by Andy Dalton. The secondary allowed Dalton to throw for a whopping 418 yards, something Seattle defenses of years past never would’ve allowed. Wilson only attempted 20 passes in Week 1, and Seahawks fans need to hope Schottenheimer will let him air it out more here. The Steelers’ secondary is exploitable, but the run defense is a strength. Whether Schottenheimer can adjust will be the determining factor in this game. Seattle will be facing a Steelers team that’s at rock-bottom, which is always dangerous.
Steelers Hit Rock-Bottom
The Steelers couldn’t possibly be coming off a more humiliating loss. They talked a big game all offseason, with every member of the organization insisting they’d be better off without the distractions of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. When the time came to show the world they were back they fell flat on their faces, getting demolished by the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. They lost 33-3 and got blown out right from the opening whistle. Outside of garbage time, Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t get anything going. They’re licking their wounds and at rock-bottom, and now could be the perfect time to buy low.
Randy Fichtner wants to make sure they don’t abandon the run.
“I think we ran it 10 times in the first half,” said Fichtner. “It probably wasn’t as efficient per run. I probably got a little bit down when we didn’t make the first third-and-one. I think we blocked it. I think we had more in it and we didn’t get it, and it probably drained on me for the next several calls that I made. But there was a point where maybe game circumstance lead to the way the second half played out.
“But we don’t want to neglect the run. We actually went into the game with a pretty extensive pony package where we would have both of our running backs in the game at the same time. It’s a unique balance in trying to keep certain guys fresh in certain packages, especially early in the season. And it just never seemed like it flowed enough that we every really truly got in any of them.”
"It's just little things here, little things there" — Ben Roethlisberger not worried about offense after 3 point performance vs the Patriots pic.twitter.com/ecvR1qfj0e
— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) September 12, 2019
They’re returning home and playing a much easier opponent, and the national media narrative is that they’re done for. The offensive line is still elite, and they should have a lot more success on the ground. The Seahawks love to run the ball more than any other team in the league, and I was really impressed by this Steelers run defense in Week 1. It was just about the only part of the team that looked good, and they limited Sony Michel to just 14 yards on 15 carries. If they can shut down Seattle’s rushing attack like that here, then they’ll be just fine in this one. Roethlisberger should have a huge chip on his shoulder after all the flak he’s been catching, and it’ll be very interesting to see how he responds here.
- 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 2
- 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games in September
- 2-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
Updated on Sep 15 at 4:30am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The line has stayed true at Pittsburgh -3.5 all weel, despite them getting 60% of the bets. The Sharps are on the side of the Seahawks in this one.
Injury / Weather Report
Seattle’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: DE Ezekiel Ansah
Doubtful: DT Poona Ford, DB Tedric Thompson, and DB Neiko Thorpe
Out: Center Joey Hunt and WR David Moore
Pittsburgh’s Impact Injury Report
Out: FB Roosevelt Nix
Gametime Weather: Sunny with temps in the upper 70’s
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Steelers to bounce back with a big win. They’re coming off a truly embarrassing loss, and they should be highly motivated here. Pittsburgh’s strength is their run-defense, and we know that running the ball is what the Seahawks want to do. Seattle is coming off a really lucky win in a game they lose nine out of ten times, and they’re just 1-14 against the spread in their last 15 road openers.
Prediction: Steelers -4
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under a lot here. Pittsburgh passed the ball way too much in their last game, and I think they’ll make more of an effort to establish the run here. Seattle’s offensive coordinator doesn’t know how to adjust, and his unit isn’t going to score much here. Pittsburgh’s offense just isn’t the same without Brown, and Donte Moncrief isn’t a legit second option.