The Philadelphia Eagles got a potential season saving victory last weekend as they defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 25-20. Carson Wentz was able to make enough big plays to help the Eagles move into first in the NFC East. Things don’t get any easier for Philadelphia in week five with a visit to Pittsburgh. The Steelers are coming off an unexpected bye, after last week’s tilt against the Tennessee Titans was postponed due to positive COVID tests. The in-state rivals last played in 2016, with the Eagles winning 34-3.
Oddsmakers have the Steelers as a 7-point home favorite.
What to Know- Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles were at a pivotal point in their season last week, but showed the grit to get the 25-20 victory against the 49ers.
Wentz (930 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions) has been up-and-down all year, but showed the poise last week that makes him an elite quarterback. Injuries at wide receiver have hurt the Eagles all year. On the game-winning touchdown pass, Wentz connected with Travis Fulgham on a 42-yard pass. Fulgham was called up from the practice squad as finding continuity has been very difficult for Wentz and his receivers.
Running back Miles Sanders is also off to a slow start, but showed last year he has major potential. With the passing game struggling thus far, it has allowed teams to load up the box against the run.
The defense of the Eagles is still led by one of the elite front fours in football, as Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett head a unit that gets after the quarterback. The Eagles are second in the NFL with 4.2 sacks per game.
The only problem, is they are going up against the No. 1 team in sacks, as the Steelers average five per contest.
What to Know- Pittsburgh Steelers
Last season, the Steelers were 8-8 because their defense carried them. They had quarterback and offensive issues all season long. The defense once again is playing at an elite level, but it’s the offense’s resurgence that has Pittsburgh undefeated.
Ben Roethlisberger is back from his elbow surgery, and is getting better each week. He has thrown for 777 yards and seven touchdowns, while throwing only one interception. Roethlisberger has done a great job of distributing the ball to many targets, including his No. 1 receiver, Juju Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster (17 catches, 160 yards and three touchdowns) was a player who really missed Roethlisberger last year, as their chemistry on the field is apparent.
Rookie Chase Claypool from Notre Dame has helped take this offense to another level. He is a big-play threat at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds and had an 84-yard touchdown reception against the Denver Broncos.
The offense is more diverse and explosive this season, forming a potent team with arguably the league’s best defense.
No team gets more pressure from its front four than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Leading the way is T.J. Watt, who has 3.5 sacks. He is the leader of this defense, as he is flying all over the field.
With their ability to get pressure from the defensive line, it allows the Pittsburgh secondary to get creative with their coverages. Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the best safeties in the NFL, and he also has the ability to make plays against the run or pass.
The Pick Is In
Both of these teams are going to rely on their defense in any game they play this year, as both units are two of the best in all of football.
However, this game is going to come down to which offense is going to be able to make enough plays to get the job done. With that, the Steelers have shown the ability to get more big plays out of their offense, which will be the difference in this game.
Look for the Steelers to win a low-scoring game against the Eagles, and to cover the spread.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Philadelphia Eagles 14