The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a rare meeting with the Washington Redskins in an inter-conference Monday Night matchup for week 1 of the new season. These two teams haven’t played each other in Maryland since 2008, and the Steelers have beaten Washington the last five times they’ve played. Sports Interaction’s NFL odds on this game are taking these facts into consideration, as the Steelers are -135 favorites.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins
Point spread:Steelers -2.5
Date: Monday, Sept. 12, 7:10 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Field, Greater Landover, MD.
Last year, the Steelers went 10-6 only to lose in the playoffs to the Broncos, who would eventually win the Super Bowl. Current odds have them as +120 favorites to win the AFC North. Now, they will play their first regular game of the season with a couple of glaring holes in their roster. They are missing their star running back La’Veon Bell to a three-game suspension, and wide receiver Martavis Bryant who will be gone for a year on suspension.
That’s not their only problem. Last season the Steelers were 30th in the league in pass defense, giving up 271 yards per game. Pittsburgh isn’t exactly deep with talent on the secondary, and with a roll call of rookies filling in for injured cornerback Senquez Golson, they’ll likely struggle again this season.
Secondary issues aside, the Steelers aren’t really a team in trouble. DeAngelo Williams is more than a sufficient replacement for Le’veon Bell, and Roethlisberger is healthy, and, according to Mr. Terry Bradshaw, a better passer than Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Roethlisberger was injured and out for four games last year but averaged a league-high 328 passing yards per game and had 21 touchdowns.
Washington won the NFC East last year, making this matchup a solid one, and perhaps not the easy win for Roethlisberger and company that the odds suggest. There’s been some discussion about whether we’ll see rookie WR Josh Doctson making his debut, and head coach Jay Gruden suggested as much in interviews. Running back Matt Jones ,who injured his shoulder in the preseason, has been cleared to go against Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh defense will have it’s hands full against a Redskins offense fronted by Kirk Cousins and his formidable stable of receivers. Cousins had an excellent second half to his season last year (in the last six games his quarterback rating was over 100) and will be trying to build on that success against a less than stellar defense on Monday night. Not only that, Washington will be looking to prove that the end of last season was no fluke, and defeating one of the most reliable teams in the league, right out of the gates, would do just that. The Redskins are currently listed as +240 to win the NFC East this season.
One of the matchups most fans will be excited to see in this game will be between the highest paid cornerback in the league, Josh Norman, and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had 136 receptions last season.
Steelers vs. Washington Prediction