Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
NFL: Sunday, September 15th, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET (Heinz Field)
Line and Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers -4 Over/Under: 46.5
Free ESPN NFL Picks Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks
To the surprise of many football fans, the Seattle Sehawks had a difficult time dealing with the Cincinnati Bengals in week 1. Seattle did manage to squeak out a 21-20 home win over Cincinnati, but it did not come easy. In fact, the Seahawks were dominated by the Bengals on the stat sheet. Cincinnati outgained Seattle by nearly 200 yards (429 yards to 232). The Bengals secured 22 first downs on the day, while the Seahawks only managed 12 first downs. Seattle averaged 4.7 yards per play, while giving up 6.1 yards per play to Cincinnati. Despite the reputation Seattle has earned over the past 2 years as a run-heavy ball-control offense, Cincinnati had a massive time of possession edge over Seattle 35:50 to 24:10. Seattle gained just 16.6 yards per offensive drive, the 2nd-lowest mark of all teams in the opening weekend. Their defense allowed Cincinnati to gain 35.8 yards per offensive drive. The differences between these two teams in Week 1 lied within their respective abilities to finish drives.
Seattle’s defense allowed Cincinnati to drive into Seattle territory quite often. However, they usually found a way to keep them out of the end zone. Cincinnati failed to convert any of their 3 red zone trips into touchdowns. 4 of Cincinnati’s 6 2nd half drives found Seattle territory. Those 4 drives resulted in a fumble, a missed field goal, a turnover on downs, and a converted field goal. While Seattle’s defense played well in key situations, it should still be concerned about how easy it was for Cincy to move the ball against them. Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards and a 106.5 passer rating. The Seahawks defense allowed Bengals WR to gain 158 yards on 7 catches. Offensively, Russell Wilson was quite efficient. He went 14 of 20 for 195 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Wilson had 9.8 yards per pass attempt, a 60.5 QBR, and a 134.4 passer rating on the day. Rookie WR DK Metcalf grabbed 4 catches for 89 yards on 6 targets. However, Seattle’s running game should be a concern. For a team that wants to run the ball, their rushing attack was unproductive. They ran for just 72 yards on 25 carries (for an avg. of 2.9 yards per rush). If Seattle wants to make a deep run in the playoffs, they will have to either get more production out of the run game or become a more pass-heavy offense.
Pittsburgh had a nightmarish start to their 2019 season. They went on the road and lost to the New England Patriots 33-3. The Steelers will likely have to go through the Patriots if they want to win a Super Bowl, so this must have been a disheartening loss for the Steelers franchise. New England had a 20-0 lead before the Steelers even put a point up on the scoreboard. Offensively, it looked like Pittsburgh could’ve used Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. After Week 1, the Steelers rank 28th in offensive expected points added. They gained 308 total yards and averaged just 5.0 yards per play against the Patriots. Ben Roethlisberger had a very poor day throwing the ball. While he did throw for 276 yards, those yards came on 47 pass attempts. He went 27 of 47 and averaged just 5.9 yards per pass attempt. Roethlisberger did not throw a touchdown pass and threw 1 interception. He had a QBR of 18.2 and a passer rating of 65.6. The passing game failed to get on track, but the running game was nonexistent. Pittsburgh gained 32 yards on 13 carries (2.5 yards per carry). Lead RB James Conner ran for just 21 yards on 10 carries (2.1 yards per carry). This continues their rushing game struggles from 2018 when they finished 25th in yards per carry. There were few offensive positives from this opener.
It still feels like the Steelers defense has yet to figure out how to achieve elite status in their post-Ryan Shazier world. After a strong preseason, there was hope that the defense would open up with a stronger performance. Pittsburgh’s defense usually struggles with Tom Brady and the Patriots, but this one got particularly ugly. The Steelers allowed Brady to go 24 of 36 for 341 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Brady threw for an average of 9.5 yards per pass attempt, on his way to a 90.0 QBR and a 124.9 passer rating. Former college QB Julian Edelman also got in on the action with a 32 yard completion on a throwback trick play. Edelman also had 83 yards on 6 catches. However, that wasn’t the receiver Pittsburgh had the most trouble stopping. New England WR Philip Dorsett had 95 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 4 receptions and 4 targets. Last season, Pittsburgh ranked 13th in defensive expected points added. They held teams to 5.3 yards per play, which ranked 6th-best in the NFL. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they only forced turnovers on 8.2% of the opposing offense’s drives. That figure ranked 28th out of 32 teams in defensive turnover percentage. They failed to force a single turnover in this game against the Patriots.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Seattle’s last 10 games.
Seattle is 7-2 SU in their last 9 games.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Seattle’s last 5 games on the road.
Pittsburgh is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 5 games.
Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games at home.
ESPN NFL Scores Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m taking the Seattle Seahawks +4 in this matchup. I came in to the season thinking that Seattle was a slightly better team than Pittsburgh. In 2018, Seattle and Pittsburgh averaged the same amount of points (26.8 points per game). However, Seattle’s defense gave up 0.8 fewer points per game. If these two teams had played on a neutral field in week 1, I would’ve set the line at pick’em with a small moneyline edge to the Seahawks. With a homefield advantage, I would’ve made Pittsburgh a favorite along the lines of -2.5 and -3. Based on their week 1 performances, I see no reason to view Pittsburgh any more favorably. Even when factoring in the strength of their respective week 1 opponents, I feel better about a Seahawks team favored by 9 winning by 1 than I do about a Steelers team that lost by 30 after being a 5.5 point underdog. Seattle got outplayed in many areas, but they executed in key situations with a stingy defense and efficient QB. I really can’t say much positive of Pittsburgh’s week 1 performance. Pittsburgh may rise up after an embarrassing primetime outing, but I love taking the better team +4 with a strong defense and a commitment to running the ball.