The Philadelphia Eagles get back to work this week as they prepare to defend their Super Bowl championship – and they’ll face a familiar foe as they kick off exhibition action Thursday night against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.
With both teams expected to give their backups plenty of run, the Eagles get the “home-field” edge in this one, with a low total that typifies games played in the first half of the NFL’s pre-season schedule.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Take one look across the NFL landscape and you’ll see spreads and totals that really don’t vary that much from one another – and this all-Pennsylvania matchup is no different. There has been no major line movement since the opening odds were posted across the majority of books in late July, and barring an unexpected decision by either coach, the spread and total will remain entrenched in place right up until the opening kickoff.
While the majority of trends don’t necessarily apply to pre-season games, it is worth noting that the teams have gone below the total in each of their previous four head-to-head meetings. The Steelers have also been one of the best road under plays in the league over the majority of the past two seasons, having snuck under the number in 23 of their last 29 games away from Heinz Field. The Eagles, meanwhile, have covered in seven of their previous home games.
The battle to hold the clipboard behind Ben Roethlisberger should be an interesting one – and it appears Landry Jones will get the first crack to impress, as he’s expected to get the start. Jones has had a strong camp as he looks to fend off Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph for the No. 2 QB role. The Steelers will be unveiling a new-look defensive line featuring several new young faces after finishing near the top of the league in missed tackles a season ago.
If anything moves the line and/or total this week, it will be the Eagles’ quarterback situation. Carson Wentz is progressing well from his injury but hasn’t participated in 11-on-11 drills and might sit out the entire pre-season, while Super Bowl-winning QB Nick Foles has missed two straight practices and might not play Thursday. If this is the case, Philadelphia will likely roll with a combination of Nate Sudfeld and Joe Callahan for the majority of the game.