It’s Week 7. The bye week is here. I’m not going to lie, when the season started I broke down all of the games I thought the Eagles would be sitting at 5-1 at the bye week, maybe 4-2 at the worst. But we all know what happened. Hopefully the bad part of the season is behind us. After the bye week we get 2 games with Dallas, the Patriots, Giants, Bears and Jets. So it’s not going to get easier but I think we are we are ready to take on that fight and make a run at 1st place. Check out yesterday’s post about the new NFC East division odds to see my thoughts on that.
My normal weekly routine is to watch the Eagles game on Sunday, then I’ll try to read everything I can about the game on Monday. Starting on Tuesday I check the line every day, seeing where it moves (where is the sharp money going?). I’ll also look at the upcoming opponent, checking stats from past games looking for any trends. Not this week. I’ll be honest, it’s been kind of boring. No drama , no ‘Fire Andy’, no ‘Suck for Luck’, no ‘Should of kept Kolb’. But that idiot sign guy with the horrible grammar is still being an attention whore outside NovaCare (please ignore him, he will go away).
Well, Vegas isn’t doing us any favors this week. The card is pretty tough again. Last week we had nine out of 13 games with lines above seven points, this week we are looking at 9 of 13 games with lines of six or under. So last week we had a bunch of potential blowouts, this weekend Vegas is telling us we’ll have some close games. And in looking at the card, alot of the matchups really suck. Cleveland vs. Seattle? Carolina vs. Washington? Even Miami vs. Denver isn’t too appealing, I mean after the Tim Tebow factor, why would you even watch this one?
I do like the Cowboys a little laying 13 at home vs. St Louis, but that line is going nowhere but up (it opened at 10’) and by Sunday I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it at 14. I just don’t see how the Rams can hang in that game. But I’m going to pass on that one, I never like laying that many points, anything over 10 points can leave us exposed for a backdoor cover. Even when terrible teams play on the road against good teams.
In case you don’t know, a backdoor cover is when your team is comfortably covering the spread late in a game and the other team scores a meaningless TD or FG to pull within the number. You’ll see this in the NFL when teams start playing prevent defense and they give up a easy score that has no bearing on the final outcome. Cam Newton pulled a few backdoor covers in the first few weeks. Making him the darling, or villain, of Vegas (depending on which side you were on.)
This Dallas game could turn into a backdoor cover. You’ll be laying 13 or 14 and Dallas will be up 24-7 late in the 4th for a comfortable win. Then the Rams push down in the final 2 minutes and score a garbage TD. Final score, 24-14, you lose. The worst kind of gambling loss. Give me a few hours and I’ll run through all the bad beats and backdoor covers I’ve been on the losing side of.
So, without an Eagles game to breakdown, let’s get to the pick for Week 7…
Bet #1: (a.k.a. The “I can’t believe I’m betting this sucker line” pick) – Steelers -4 over Cardinals
Yeah, I know. Everything about this line screams ‘sucker bet’. Steelers are only -4? Arizona stinks. Kevin Kolb stinks. The Cardinals are 1-4. I know the Steelers have struggled, and this is a road game, but how is this only -4? -7, maybe, but -4?
My friend is a die hard Steelers fan, I asked him why the Steelers were only laying 4 points, his reply “because they suck, that’s why.” Well, ok then.
I still like the Steelers. Here’s why…
The Steelers have played some pretty ugly games but they are 4-2 and have some potent offensive weapons in Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace, and while the defense might not be as dominant as in past years, it’s still pretty good. Troy Polamalu left last week with a concussion but it seems like he is ready to play this week. The Steelers are #4 in points allowed per game (17 pts/game), #1 in total yards allowed (270 yds/game), and #1 in passing yard allowed (157 yds/game). I think to win this week the Steelers are going to need a Rashard Mendenhall performance like last week. The hamstring didn’t seem to bother him as he racked up 146 rushing yards vs. Jacksonville, I expect to see alot of him on Sunday.
Last week the Steelers jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead on Jacksonville, but let it slowly slip away and ended up with a 17-13 win. The score was not indicative of the game itself. Pittsburgh only gave up 209 yards of total offense and 100 yards passing from Blaine Gabbert. I didn’t watch the game but it looks like the Steelers offense went to sleep in the 2nd half (only 70 total yards?).
Yes, Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald, possibly the best WR in football, but the strength of Pittsburgh’s defense is the pass coverage. They shut down #1 WR’s to a tune of only 44 yards per game. So if the Steelers defense can neutralize Fitzgerald, then who is going to get the yards? I guess the Cardinals are going to rely on Beanie Wells to eat some clock and try to slow down the game. That might be a good plan, the Steelers run defense isn’t great and Wells could be a good fantasy play, but I don’t think that is going to be enough.
Look back 2 weeks, the Cardinals got waxed by the Vikings 34-10. Adrian Petersen racked up 122 yards and 3 TD’s rushing. I think you’ll see something similar from Rashard Medenhall this week. And really, the Vikings ran up 34 points on them? And didn’t the Vikings just get embarrassed on Sunday Night against the Bears?
The one plus for the Cardinals could be the home field advantage. Not necessarily the ‘home field’ but more like the Phoenix sun and fun. They almost pulled an upset (as 1 point dogs) over the Giants but lost 31-27 in Week 4. Visiting teams with big followings (like Pittsburgh) seem to get a good crowd in Phoenix, so the crowd won’t be a factor, it will probably be 50% Steelers fans.
If you take a look at the Cardinals other games it’s not too impressive. They beat Carolina 28-21 at home, nice win but Carolina isn’t a very good team. A 22-21 loss at Washington. They lost to the Redskins? Enough said. A 13-10 loss at Seattle and 34-10 loss at Minnesota. Not a good track record.
For comparisons sake, the Steelers beat the Seahawks 24-0 in Week 2 in Pittsburgh.
I know that Pittsburgh has beaten bad teams to get their 4 wins (Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Seattle) and this will be a similar matchup. But I think the defense will be the difference and the Steelers offense will do enough to get a win.
I see this as a grind it out type of game. Lots of rushing for both teams. With a healthy Rashard Mendenhall and the Steelers defense clamping down on Kevin Kolb, I’m going to say… Steelers 27 Cardinals 14? Yeah, that sounds good.
The Line: Steelers -4, O/U 43
The Pick: Steelers -4
Remember this commercial?
- How did that kid get past security?
- And how did he get a glass bottle inside the stadium?
- And where were that kids parents as he wandered around Three Rivers Stadium?
- And where was the Steelers training staff while their #1 player limped off to the locker room?
Have a Coke and a smile, let’s get another winner this weekend.
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