Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Date and Time: Thursday, August 18, 2016, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Week 1 Preseason NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Steelers -3.5, O/U 40.5
Eagles vs. Steelers TV Coverage: NFL Network
Philadelphia scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes of play and then held on late for the win against Tampa Bay in Week 1 thanks to a strong defensive effort. The Eagles didn’t do much on offense against the Buccaneers, mustering just 188 total yards and only passing for two first downs. However, the defense forced five turnovers, and held the Buccaneers’ running game to a measly 31 yards on 21 carries to hang on for a 17-9 victory.
The Steelers’ defense wasn’t nearly as good last week against the Lions. Pittsburgh’s first-teamers performed well and didn’t allow a point in the first quarter of play, but the reserves allowed 30 points in the last three quarters of action and that doomed the Yinzers to a loss. The Steelers didn’t play Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, or Antonio Brown in this one and the offense struggled as a result.
Matchup To Watch
The quarterback battle should be pretty interesting in this game. The Eagles got some bad news after their game against the Buccaneers when it was discovered that Carson Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs and likely won’t play another down this preseason because of the injury.
As the No. 2 overall pick, Wentz was set to receive the bulk of the work in preseason as he tried to catch up to the speed of the NFL. He threw two-thirds of the passes for the Eagles in their win over the Buccaneers last Thursday and likely would have played more snaps than any other quarterback against the Steelers as well.
Wentz’s absence is great news for McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Bethel-Thompson only threw one pass in Week 1 of the preseason and was due to be cut at some point before the regular season. Now he gets the chance to stand out and should see some significant action against Pittsburgh. He has bounced around practice squads and preseason rosters for the last six seasons, but has never stuck. This will be his chance to make an NFL regular season roster and he’ll attempt to make the most of it.
Pittsburgh has quarterback issues of its own after it was announced on Monday that Bruce Gradkowski had torn his hamstring. Gradkowski has been a back-up on the Steelers since 2013 and his injury leaves the door open for Dustin Vaughan to make the team.
With Landry Jones ensconced as the primary back-up to Ben Roethlisberger, Dustin Vaughan has an opportunity to make the roster if he plays well. Pittsburgh has gone into a season with only two quarterbacks on the roster before, but it’s uncommon for the Steelers to be so thin at the position and Mike Tomlin will want three signal callers on his 53-man roster.
Vaughan completed six of 11 passes for 50 yards against the Lions and will probably see a lot of second half action against the Eagles here. He spent time on the Cowboys roster in 2014, but hasn’t seen the field in the regular season yet.
Eagles vs. Steelers Free Picks
The Eagles weren’t able to move the ball at all against the Bucs last week and that’s why the Steelers -3.5 is the pick here. Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks are better at every level of the depth chart and that will give the home town favorites the edge. Jones and Vaughan in particular are better than Chase Daniel and Bethel-Thompson and that’s why sharp bettors should back the Steelers to cash against the odds at BookMaker.eu
Eagles vs. Steelers Week 2 Preseason ATS Pick: Steelers -3.5 at BookMaker.eu
Eagles vs. Steelers Score Prediction: Steelers 24 – Eagles 14