Eagles vs. Steelers Betting Odds & Pick: Which PA Team Has the Edge?
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Roethlisberger
Eagles vs. Steelers Odds
In 1943, World War II caused many NFL teams to lose players to military service, and that led two Pennsylvania teams to temporarily merge. The “Steagles” went 5-4-1 that season.
This week’s battle of Pennsylvania will feature those two franchises — the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles — and thankfully, the COVID-19 pandemic has not forced them to merge. Instead, it’s a battle of division leaders.
The Steelers are coming off an unexpectedly early bye week thanks to Tennessee’s COVID-19 outbreak, while the Eagles got their first win of the season last Sunday night against a beat-up San Francisco squad.
Not all division leaders are created equal. In this local rivalry, the Steelers are healthy and rested while the Eagles are a MAS*H unit hanging together by a thread. That’s why Pittsburgh is favored by a touchdown, and it’s a big reason why they’re the pick this week.
The Eagles may have saved their season with their Week 4 win over the 49ers, but they are still in a tough place, thanks to a litany of injuries.
Philadelphia’s offensive line was expected to be a strength, but its been decimated by injuries. Two of its five starters are out for the season and a third is on IR, while the other two are struggling through injuries but expected to play. The Eagles are also missing their top three receivers along with tight end Dallas Goedert. Philly’s injury bug has plagued the defense, too, especially throughout the secondary.
You might look at the Eagles, see Carson Wentz at quarterback and Doug Pederson coaching, and assume Philadelphia is still in good shape. But Wentz has been one of the worst quarterbacks this season, holding the ball far too long, spraying it around inaccurately and risking far too many turnovers.
Philadelphia’s passing offense ranks dead last in the NFL in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The offense as a whole ranks second to last, and the team as a whole rates as the third-worst team in the NFL.
Maybe the Eagles aren’t underperforming at 1-2-1. Maybe they’re just not very good.
The Steelers, on the other hand, appear to be pretty good.
The defense was expected to be among the best in the league and has lived up to the billing thus far. Pittsburgh has yet to allow more than 21 points in a game and is averaging just 290 yards allowed. The Steelers have been especially good against the run, ranking first overall in rush defense DVOA.
The offense has been fine, mostly. Ben Roethlisberger is still trying to find his rhythm after missing most of last season. The Steelers have not topped 28 points yet, and they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of opponents. They’re 3-0 against the Giants, Broncos and Texans, who are a combined 1-11.
The Steelers were supposed to face Tennessee last week, but that game was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Titans. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, that gives Pittsburgh a huge advantage here.
The Steelers are the far healthier team. While Philadelphia is decimated at receiver, offensive line and in the secondary, Pittsburgh is relatively healthy on both sides of the ball. The Steelers have a huge health advantage that’s only accentuated even further by their unexpected early bye week.
These may be two division leaders, but this is a mismatch.
Pittsburgh is better on both offense and defense by a wide margin. The Steelers are healthier and more rested, and they’re better at nearly every position on both sides of the ball, save tight end.
Philadelphia has struggled to score all season, and those struggles will only get worse against Pittsburgh’s elite defense. The Eagles’ offensive line has no chance against a Steelers’ pass rush that is first in Adjusted Sack Rate (11%), and that should cause problems for Wentz, who has struggled under pressure. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see rookie QB Jalen Hurts take some snaps in this game — either because Wentz took one too many hits or because he made one too many mistakes.
The Eagles’ team under is at 18.5. Philadelphia should struggle to score, but that’s a pretty low number. The best bet here is just taking the better, healthier, more rested team — especially while they’re only favored by one score.
Don’t be surprised at all to see this line push to -7.5 or beyond by kickoff, so grab it at -7 while you can. If the line does raise a bit, you might be better off teasing the Steelers this week with teams like the Rams, Seahawks and Cowboys all favored in the same range.
PICK: Steelers -7