Monday NFL Football Odds & Preview: Are the Steelers Really an 11-0 Team?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a few obstacles to overcome. But they have a chance to become only the second team in NFL betting to get through a 16-game regular season undefeated. At the moment they are 11-0 (8-3 against the spread). But are they as good as all that?
One of those obstacles might be on Monday against the Washington Football Team. It’s a rescheduled game, slated to kick off at 5 PM ET at Heinz Field.
Here are the numbers
In the Monday NFL Football odds at BetOnline, the Steelers are the favorites:
|WA Football Team||+7 (-105)||43½ (-110)||+271|
|Steelers||-7 (-115)||43½ (-110)||-335|
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Steelers and the FT – Last time out
The Steelers had to endure a couple of changes regarding their last game. Scheduled to play Baltimore, they had to delay six days because the Ravens got ravaged. Because of COVID-19 concerns, they were without almost 20 players. And Baltimore lost Robert Griffin III, who was filling in for Lamar Jackson, who had a positive test.
All told, the Steelers held the Ravens to 219 yards, but managed just a 19-14 victory, which was not a cover.
Washington’s Thanksgiving game actually went through as scheduled. And they beat up on Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys 41-16.
Steelers defense – Does it dominate?
Pittsburgh’s defensive unit is ranked in the top three in a load of important categories. But have they benefited from a soft schedule?
When you run down the team’s slate, you’ll see they have played against only two offenses that are among the top 15 in the NFL. They did a great job against the Tennessee Titans (ranked 8th), holding them to 292 yards. Dallas, which is 9th in total offense (albeit much of that with Dak Prescott at QB), had 364 yards with first-time starter Garrett Gilbert.
When you can hold six of your opponents under 300 yards, you’re still doing a heck of a job, regardless.
But what about that Washington defense?
Ron Rivera’s team has faced many of the same opponents as Pittsburgh, with a couple of exceptions. And they happen to be highly-rated offenses. Arizona, which is 2nd in the NFL in total yardage, gained 438 against them, and the Rams (6th) had 429. Against everyone else, they’ve been outstanding. And it’s one reason they are still tied for the NFC East lead, even at 4-7 (4-5-2 ATS).
The ‘FT’ is second in the NFL – to Pittsburgh – in sack percentage. And they have been the NFL’s best stop unit as far as preventing touchdowns in the red zone. They have allowed opponents to get into the end zone on 48.4% of occasions.
In fact, when you look at all the various categories, they stack up pretty nicely with the Steelers.
One apparent weakness of the Steelers is that they haven’t run the ball very well. In fact, over their last five games, they’ve been outgained 750-312 on the ground. And they run it only 39% of the time. And James Conner missed the Baltimore game as a COVID-19 casualty.
The thing about Washington is that they are pretty strong defending the pass. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to go over 300 yards through the air this season. At 6.2 yards per attempt allowed, they are keeping big plays relatively under control.
They can keep this close too. We’ll grab the points.
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