The Pittsburgh Steelers are essentially in a make-or-break situation as they go into their Sunday night game, in that they are trying to avoid getting off to an 0-3 start. They play host to the 2-0 Chicago Bears in an NBC-televised matchup that is slated to begin at 8:30 PM ET at Heinz Field in the Steel City.
Pittsburgh has been downright offensive with its lack of offense, scoring 19 points in its games against Tennessee and Cincinnati. Chicago has been in a couple of thrillers against Cincinnati and Minnesota, outscoring those foes by a combined 55-51.
Chicago Bears -2
Pittsburgh Steelers +2
As for the NFL total that is posted on this game, here it is:
Over 40 Points -110
Under 40 Points -110
With Steeler fans looking for answers, there is a lot of talk about expanding things in the no-huddle offense. But coach Mike Tomlin is very wary about taking that kind of action. In his opinion, “Those things are short-lived,” which essentially explains his attitude toward things he considers to be gimmicks, which would include the read option.
What he thinks his team needs to do is establish a way to run the football. ben Roethlisberger has thrown it 70 times, and they have run it only 31 times. But where are they going to get solutions in the ground game? Felix Jones (ten carries, 37 yards) is going to figure into the picture a little more perhaps. And then there is Le’Veon Bell, the rookie workhorse from Michigan State who has recovered from an injury and is participating in practice sessions. So help could be on the way for the Steelers, who are +110 in the money line to win straight-up at Bet365.
Jay Cutler said it was going to take a while for him to get used to the new offensive approach on the part of coach Marc Trestman, and though he has led the Bears to two wins, the results, you can say, are mixed. he has already turned the ball over four times, and a quarterback like that is playing right into the potential strength of the Pittsburgh defense.
And that defense has not played badly at all; in fact, the Steelers have let opponents complete just 55% of their passes, and they have allowed just 3.1 yards per rush. But what they’re going to have to do is what they’ve done in the past, which is score some big plays. Pittsburgh only has one sack and the secondary has yet to complete a pass. NFL bettors should take note that the defense also is in danger of being overworked; because the Steelers have not been able to control the football enough, they have had to be on the field for roughly 35 minutes a game.
For the Bears, it’s been a lot more free-wheeling. Chicago had a good half of defense when they came back to beat Cincinnati in the opener, but they have nonetheless allowed the opponent to convert on 52% of third down opportunities, and that has to be unacceptable. So it’s about pressuring Roethlisberger more than they have done so far. With two sacks, the Bears are underachieving. Remember that they have Julius Peppers on board, and this is not necessarily a prime-time Pittsburgh offensive line when it comes to pass protection, especially as it was weakened with the season-ending injury to center Maurkice Pouncey. Big Ben has been forced to the turf seven times already.
You know, Chicago (-130 at Bet365 to win straight-up) was another team that had forced its quarterback to run for his life. But this season Cutler appears to be getting stellar protection, as he has been sacked just once. generally this will allow him to have more time to look for receivers downfield. Brandon Marshall is averaging 14.5 yards a catch, and Martellus Bennett, a talented tight end who didn’t work out in Dallas, has scored three touchdowns with his ten receptions, including the game-winner last week with ten seconds left. That is probably one of the big edges the Bears carry into this Sunday night game – they give their quarterback more of an opportunity to make a few plays.
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