The Pittsburgh Steelers look to keep the momentum going in preseason as they descend on the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. The Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game last week. Will they make it two in a row? Check out our NFL betting preview complete with NFL odds and lines and free NFL picks.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Thursday, August 12, 2021 – 7:30 PM ET at Lincoln Financial Field
NFL Betting Odds and Lines
As per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Eagles are tipped as the home faves on the NFL odds board, although marginally so as they’re laying merely a point to the Steelers. Given the tight NFL betting market currently on offer, it’s anybody’s guess which way this game will fall when all is said and done.
Steelers Eye Second Straight Win
The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off preparations for the 2021-22 NFL season in fine style, handing the highly fancied Dallas Cowboys a 16-3 loss. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win nonetheless.
Mike Tomlin fielded a largely watered down Steelers outfit with Ben Roethlisberger most notably sitting out. The Steelers got off to a slow start in the first half that seemed to sputter along for the first 30 minutes of the game without too much excitement or plays that would wow spectators. However, in the third quarter the Steelers took the game by its horn after Matthew Sexton’s 36-yard punt return early sparked life into the team. The Cowboys never got into it after that.
Overall, while the offense and special teams were iffy, running back Najee Harris showed glimpses of promise in his preseason debut, rushing for 22 yards on seven carries against Dallas. The real story was the Steelers defense though, as they proved to be the deciding factor in the game. They sacked the Cowboys quarterback four times, stopped Dallas from making any completions in the red zone with the Cowboys going just 0 of 2 inside the Pittsburgh’s 20-yard line.
Interestingly, according to the stats, the Steelers were outplayed by the Cowboys particularly in the first half. Washington cast-off Dwayne Haskins, who is looking for a job this season, took the bulk of the snaps in the first half and went 8 of 13 for 54 yards and zero touchdowns. However, it was Joshua Dobbs that struck a chord late in the second half as he went 4 of 6 for 37 yards and a touchdown. Dobbs connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Simmons to lift the Steelers to the lopsided win.
Eagles Have Big Question Marks
The Philadelphia Eagles are embarking on a new era with brand new coaching staff spearheaded by head coach Nick Sirianni as he coaches his first ever game for the Eagles. As well, Jalen Hurts will be looking to cement his role as the leader of the team into the 2021 NFL regular season after the embattled Carson Wentz hightailed it out of the City of Brotherly Love in the offseason. All in all, there’s a lot of unknowns with Philly which sort of goes against their favourable NFL odds for their home preseason opener.
Whether Hurts is the bona fide starter in Philadelphia though isn’t a total dead cert based on some of the comments that have come out of Philly since training camps got underway. It does seem as though a quarterback battle is on the cards with Philly’s backup quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Nick Mullens looking to give Hurts a run for his money.
Elsewhere, the Eagles will be keen to give time to a slew of players that are vying for top jobs on the roster, including the running back triplet of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kerryon Johnson. The defense is made up of young talent and a sprinkling of veterans such as cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, although the playing time of these seasoned players is likely to be limited in preseason.
NFL Betting Prediction and Picks
Mike Tomlin is a seasoned head coach that has never in all his years with Pittsburgh presided over a losing season. That’s quite the validation of his skill – not least of all, it’s a record that few can claim in the NFL. So, given Tomlin’s coaching nous, he’s certain to test Nick Sirianni’s mettle in his coaching debut all the while taking care of business on his end as he previews his players in order to make his final selections for the season. Then there’s the Pittsburgh defense, which underlined the win last week to come through as the nominal betting favourites.
On the flipside, Sirianni’s coaching merit aside, the pressure rests largely on Hurts and the slew of newbies to show what they’re made of in the preseason. The second-year quarterback is likely to get some snaps as a result before making way for the backups. As well, those that are vying for roster positions will be battling it out. This could mean that the Eagles will risk more for the win here, but it still makes for a lot of uncertainty that goes against the NFL odds.
All told, preseason games are a tossup for NFL picks. There’s good reason for the win to go either way, but – push comes to shove – the best bet here is the Steelers as the small underdogs. Hard to buy the Eagles when so little is known about them right now, don’t you think?
NFL Picks: Steelers +1 (-105) with DraftKings