Pittsburgh (0-0) at NY Giants (0-0)
When: Monday, September 14th, 2020
Where: MetLife Stadium,
East Rutherford, NJ
Time: 7:10 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Pittsburgh -3.5/48
Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season is almost complete, but we still have two Monday Night Football games and the first one involves the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the New York Giants. The Steelers are currently 6-point favorites after opening earlier in the summer at 3.5 and the total is set at 45 as of Sunday night. The plan for now is that there will be no fans at Giants or Jets games at MetLife Stadium this season because of the Coronavirus, but things could change as the season progresses. This would have been a matchup of a pair of 2004 first round quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, but the latter retired and has handed the duties off to Daniel Jones. The Steelers last played the Giants in Pittsburgh in Week 10 of the 2016 season, winning 24-14. Roethlisberger threw for 289 yards and two scores in that one. The clubs have split the past eight meetings overall both straight up and against the spread. The under is 8-2 in the Steelers’ last 10 games, while the over is 4-0 in the Giants’ last four home games.
This will be Roethlisberger’s first game in almost exactly one year as he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 versus Seattle. Pittsburgh would finish 8-8 using young QBs Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges and would have made the playoffs under this year’s new expanded format. The team made a huge signing over the weekend in giving All-Pro defensive tackle Cameron Heyward a four-year, $71.4 million extension. Pittsburgh was one of just four clubs to not have a player opt out of this season. The Steelers are 5-2 ATS in their past seven Monday games but 2-7 ATS in their previous nine season openers. Juju-Smith Schuster is among the best in the NFL at wide receiver, while James Conner has made everyone in Pittsburgh forget about Le’Veon Bell. The defense almost brought the team to the postseason last year and has improved greatly year after year. Outside linebackers T.J. Watt (career-best 14.5 sacks in 2019) and Bud Dupree career-high (11.5 sacks) lead the group.
This will be the NFL head coaching debut of New York’s Joe Judge, who was a former Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach. This will be the Giants’ first Monday night season opener since 2014, when they lost in Detroit and first Monday night home opener since 1995. Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Duke, showed some promise as a rookie but threw 12 interceptions and fumbled 18 times in 13 games. New York will try to establish the run with Saquon Barkley, who ran for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games last year. Starting wideout Golden Tate is questionable for the opener with a hamstring injury, while starting offensive tackle Nate Solder opted out. The Giants added two stout defenders in linebacker Blake Martinez (second in NFL with 155 tackles last season for Green Bay) and cornerback Logan Ryan (four interceptions for Tennessee) in the offseason.
Ben might be a little rusty early, but I think he finds his game in the second half and picks apart this Giants defense. The Steelers secondary is too good for young Daniel Jones to handle. Steelers roll in this one.
Pick: Steelers -6
Week 1 Staff Selections