The Steelers rebounded after getting demolished in Baltimore on opening week by shutting out the Seattle Seahawks 24-0 in Week 2, and their outstanding defense now gets to take advantage of another struggling offense.
The Colts dropped to 0-2 with a 27-19 home loss to the Cleveland Browns where Indianapolis did not score a touchdown until the last 24 seconds of the game when down 27-12.
BETTING ODDS: OPEN: Steelers -11 | CURRENT: Steelers 10.5 | O/U: 39
1. Why Pittsburgh will cover the spread: The Steelers defensive line and blitzing linebackers should dominate an Indianapolis offensive line that just might be the worst unit in the NFL right now. Pittsburgh was also stout against the run last week, allowing only 31 yards on 13 carries after uncharacteristically allowing Ray Rice to run wild in Week 1. We just don’t see where the Colts’ points will come from in this game, as Kerry Collins still looks like a fish out of water at quarterback.
Now the Pittsburgh offense remained rather sluggish even vs. Seattle, as the Steelers required 35 carries to rush for 124 yards. The running game should get going this week vs. a Colts defense that cannot stop the run. Look for a conservative game plan from the Steelers Sunday night, as committing turnovers may be the only way Pittsburgh loses this game, so Ben Roethlisberger may get reined in a bit.
2. Why Indianapolis will cover the spread: The Colts are obviously up against it, but they are a double-digit home underdog, and those teams usually do well against the spread. They can stay close if they can limit the Steelers to field goals when Pittsburgh gets into the red zone and the Colts need to force turnovers to give their struggling offense shorter fields to work with. The Indianapolis defense does have four takeaways in two games, so not all hope is lost.
3. Total Talk: While this looks like a blowout on paper, we do not quite trust the Steelers’ offense enough to give double-digits on the road. However, we do like the ‘under’ here quite a bit. The Indianapolis offensive line is severely overmatched by the Pittsburgh front seven, and Kerry Collins is a statuesque quarterback that is not good at escaping pressure. The only reason why the Colts stayed relatively close to the Browns last week was because Indianapolis ran the ball reasonably well, but that will not happen vs. the Steelers, so just like last week, the Colts may have trouble scoring a touchdown until late in the game after the outcome has been decided.
As for the Pittsburgh offense, we expect it to work on the run this week in an attempt to get that aspect of the offense gong, so look for heavy doses of Rashard Mendenhall and a lot of clock chewing.
4. Betting Trends for the game: Double-digit home underdogs are 64-44-2, 59.3 percent ATS since 1992, and home underdogs that lost as home underdogs the previous week are 50-31-2, 61.7 percent ATS since 2002. The Steelers are 7-3 ATS the last 10 games after gaining over 350 yards their previous game.