By: Michael Stiffler, @Stiffeezy_ on Twitter
Last week was ugly. The Pittsburgh Steelers allowing a 70-yard touchdown late killed all hope of covering 10 points but that’s gambling. This week they get the coveted Monday evening 5:00PM EST slot against the Washington Football Team. If you followed my picks from Week 12, you would have gone 1-2 last week (21-11-1 YTD). As always, lines are brought to you via FanDuel Sportsbook. *Lines may change when and wherever you do your betting.
Let’s get started!
Spread: Pittsburgh -6.5 (Opened at Pittsburgh -7)
The Steelers are still one of the best teams against the spread at 8-3 on the year. Each time they failed to cover this year, they have succeeded in covering the following week. I expect that trend to continue after failing to cover last week. The Steelers are a more talented team than the Football Team. I expect Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made his point loud and clear this week during practice that the effort last week will not be tolerated. It won’t be an easy one as the Football Team comes in boasting a defensive unit that is top 5 in yards allowed, pass yards allowed, and sacks. On the other hand, the Football Team will have their hands full facing a Steelers defense who leads the league in sacks, interceptions, pass yards allowed, and points per game. I will place my trust in Ben Roethlisberger and company to figure out their task at hand. One bonus they have, is they come in with a chip on their shoulder after the awful performance on Wednesday.
Stiffler’s Pick: Pittsburgh -6.5 (Very Confident)
Total: Over/Under 43.5 (Open at 43.5)
Both these teams come in possessing some of the best defensive units in the NFL. It will be intriguing how the Steelers respond after losing Bud Dupree for the season and cornerback Steven Nelson being listed as doubtful. With those two out, rookie outside linebacker Alex Highsmith and Cam Sutton will be given the green light in their absence. Both have proven this year they are more than capable when called upon. Highsmith played significantly in the first matchup with the Baltimore Ravens making a huge interception that sparked that Steelers rally. Sutton during the first three weeks of November, forced a fumble each game. I have full confidence they they will be able to help keep Alex Smith and company in check. On the other side, the Football Team possess one of the best young front fours in the NFL. This unit could easily be the best in the NFL in the next 2-3 years. This game should be an old school defensive matchup that should end up being 24-10. Give me the under.
Stiffler’s Pick: Under 43.5 (Not Confident)
1st Half Spread: Pittsburgh -3.5
Even though the Steelers come in with a disadvantage in terms of time to prepare, I think they will start out better than last week. Tomlin made it a point that their “junior varsity” performance is unacceptable and Roethlisberger echoed that same sentiment in his post game interview. I would expect the young core of receivers to come out hungry to prove a point, especially Diontae Johnson. Give me the hungry dog to come out guns blazing.
Stiffler’s Pick: Pittsburgh -3.5 (Confident)
Feel free to follow, fade, or criticize all picks. I wish you good fortune on your bets to come.