Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants
Date and Time: Friday, August 11, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Preseason NFL Week 1 Opening Odds: Giants -2.5, O/U 38
Steelers vs. Giants TV Coverage: NFL Network
No one really expects to see a heck of a lot of either Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger in this, the first preseason game of the year. Neither played in their team's first exhibition last season, and it wouldn't be shocking to see both sit this one out entirely.
That said, the best question for handicapping this game isn't about how long Manning or Big Ben will be out there, but rather how long the immediate backups will see the field.
Landry Jones got a half last year in Pittsburgh's first preseason game, and that figures to be the case once again. However, it's possible that Mike Tomlin could want to see a little more of what he has in Joshua Dobbs.
Dobbs is a high-ceiling rookie out of Tennessee, and he figures to at least have a shot to be the heir apparent to Roethlisberger in the not-distant future. Bart Houston is merely a camp arm being given a shot as a rookie, but he won't play for very long at all. It's all about Dobbs in this one to see what he brings to the table in his first professional game.
The Giants let Ryan Nassib go after last season and brought in three new signal callers. That means this is going to be the first time that any of Geno Smith, Josh Johnson or rookie Davis Webb ever get a look at Ben McAdoo's offense in a live game.
The pecking order between these three remains interesting. There's a chance Smith doesn't even make the roster if Webb, the rookie out of Cal, impresses in the preseason. Johnson figures to be a camp arm and nothing more, as he's had plenty of preseason shots with other teams and hasn't latched on with a chance at being a full-time starter.
10 – The number of rookies that are trying to make the Steelers this season on the defensive side of the ball.
The Steelers have always built their powerhouse defenses from within, and that isn't changing this year. They've got T.J. Watt onboard to try to replace James Harrison one day, but he's really the only rookie of these 10 guaranteed to do much of anything when the real season comes.
Last season, playing another slew of rookies and other young players, the Steelers allowed 347.0 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play. The end result wasn't an atrocity at 19.8 points per game allowed, but that's a rally high number, all things considered for the preseason.
Steelers vs. Giants Free Picks
A stat that we haven't considered with the Steelers from the 2016 preseason? In spite of all of the yards they conceded, they also only allowed five total touchdowns in five games. Of course, they allowed 10 field goals along the way, and that didn't help matters, but at least they kept teams out of the end zone.
That's why all of the early line movement at the various top 10 online sportsbooks is slanted just a bit towards the Giants. Teams that have so many young bodies on the defensive side of the ball tend to at least allow a lot of yards, and the third-stringers aren't usually as proficient when it comes to putting the ball in the end zone.
Webb is set to be the beneficiary in this game. We think he's going to have a surprisingly great debut in his first ever NFL game, and he's going to lead the Giants to a couple touchdown drives to win this game.
Steelers vs. Giants ATS Pick: Giants -3 at BookMaker.eu
Steelers vs. Giants Score Prediction: Giants 27, Steelers 17