Steelers vs Eagles Preview & Free Pick [August 12th 2021]

Pittsburgh (1-0) at Philadelphia (0-0)
When: Thursday, August 12th, 2021
Where: Lincoln Financial Field,
Philadelphia, PA
Time: 7:30 ET | TV: NFL Network
Opening Odds: Philadelphia -1/33.5

Week 1 of the NFL Preseason kicks off on Thursday night with two games including the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Steelers have an advantage of already playing one game thus far. They were 16-3 victors over the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game last Thursday night in Canton, Ohio. Pittsburgh’s defense was solid and sacked Cowboys’ quarterbacks four times for a loss of 25 yards. The Steelers also prevented Dallas from making any completions in the red zone with the Cowboys going just 0-of-2 inside the 20-yard line.

The Eagles opened up as 1-point favorites on the odds board and it has stayed that way at Bovada Sportsbook as of Wednesday afternoon. The total opened up at 33.5 and has been bet up to 35. These state rivals play a lot during the preseason as the NFL tries to limit traveling in these meaningless games. Pittsburgh has won six of the past 10 exhibition games against Philadelphia and have gone 7-3 against the spread. They did play in the 2020 regular season in Pittsburgh and the Steelers won 38-29 to cover a 7.5-point spread. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is 32-23 straight up in his pre-season career and 27-27-1 against the spread. This will be the head coaching debut for former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.

Many Steelers starters didn’t play in last week’s Hall of Fame Game, including QB Ben Roethlisberger. It’s not yet known if he will play here, but if he does, it won’t be for long. Coach Mike Tomlin is still trying to pick a backup QB between Mason Rudolph (6-for-9, 84 yards, lost fumble) and Dwayne Haskins (8-for-13, 54 yards). Rookie running back Najee Harris rushed for 22 yards on seven carries against Dallas. Star linebacker TJ Watt isn’t practicing with the team and won’t play until he gets more money. Another linebacker, Devin Bush, is expected to play a little. The former first-round pick tore his ACL in Week 6 last season. Last season, the Steelers were fifth in the NFL with 21.2 points per game allowed and third in total defense with only 310.8 total yards surrendered. The Steelers will host the Detroit Lions next week in their lone home preseason game.

Sirianni replaced the fired Doug Pederson after Philly went 4-11-1 last year, so we don’t know how long he will keep the starters in. We know for sure that first-round rookie receiver DeVonta Smith and Heisman winner last season at Alabama will not play because of a knee injury. Sirianni has yet to officially name his starting QB but chances are that it will be Jalen Hurts over veteran Joe Flacco. Gone is Carson Wentz, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. Look for Flacco and Nick Mullens to get the bulk of the playing time under center this week. There is also a competition for the starting running back role between Kerryon Johnson and Jordan Howard. The Eagles will host New England next week.

With a new coach running things in Philly, the offense might take some time to get going. That will be hard against this Pittsburgh defense who looked terrific last week. I’ll take the Steelers in this one.

Pick: Steelers +1