Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5, 47.5 o/u) at St. Louis Rams
The offense for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ (1-1, 0-1 Away) has looked tremendous in their first two games of the season, and now All-Pro RB Le’Veon Bell returns to the lineup. In his first game back, Bell gets to face the St. Louis Rams (1-1, 1-0 Home), a team which has struggled to stop the run. The Steelers and Rams clash this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome (1:00 PM Eastern).
The Steelers are coming off a 43-18 thrashing of the San Francisco 49ers last week. Ben Roethlisberger completed 21 of 27 passes for 369 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks. Sans Bell, the running game was led by DeAngelo Williams. The ten-year vet made a good case to stay involved in the offense even when Bell returns, putting up 77 yards on 20 carries and scoring three touchdowns.
Whatever personnel packages the Steelers roll with, Bell is confident that the O will continue to roll in Week 3.
“I don’t feel that a defense can key in on one area and just try to take away the run or take away the pass, because we’re so good at both,” Bell said in a press conference earlier this week.
Bell and Williams could be poised for a big day on the ground. The Rams are 30th in run defense through two weeks, allowing 153.0 rushing yards per game. The team has had the bad fortune of facing last year’s top rushing team (Seattle) and this year’s top rushing team (Washington) through the first two weeks. But they were absolutely steamrolled by Redskin rookie Matt Jones in last Sunday’s 24-10 loss. Jones had 123 yards and one score on just 19 carries (a 6.5 yards-per-carry average).
The loss to Washington – pegged to be one of the worst teams in the NFC – was unexpected after the Rams earned a huge Week 1 win over the Super Bowl-favorite Seahawks.
Led by new QB Nick Foles, the St. Louis offense looked decent in Week 1 and dreadful in Week 2. Their true self is probably somewhere in between. But one thing is certain: if the D can’t slow Pittsburgh’s multi-dimensional offense, the Rams won’t be able to keep pace. They simply don’t have the weapons, in particular in the passing game, where unheralded tight end Jared Cook has emerged as Foles’ best option.
St. Louis is 2-4 straight up and against the spread in its last six games against Pittsburgh, and the Steelers won 27-0 the last time they met (but that was back in 2011). You don’t need to rely on trends for this one, though. Pittsburgh is apt to explode for a ton of points and Foles and company won’t be able to keep up. Take the Steelers and lay the minimal points (-1.5).
Pick: Steelers -1.5.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Originally posted to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].)
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