NFL Picks: Bears vs. Steelers in Week 3

David Lawrence

Friday, September 20, 2013 12:26 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 12:26 PM UTC

Who remembers the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers were a home underdog? It’s happened just once in the last three seasons – probably when they were at home against some elite Super Bowl contender or maybe with Ben Roethlisberger out – but seriously, this does not happen often.

It goes to show what the NFL odds makers, bettors and the general public think about the 2013 Steelers, who have looked very weak to start the season.

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The Bears can win because…

The Steelers are a wreck. Through two weeks of the season, the Steelers have scored 19 points. Their running game ranks second-to-last in the NFL as they’ve only collected 75 rushing yards in two games. For an ounce of comparison, Adrian Peterson had three more yards on his first carry of the season. On top of that, their offensive line has been complete trash, which means that the Bears are going to be facing a fairly predictable, easy-to-defend unit on Sunday night.

The Bears aren’t playing great right now but they’re getting the job done. People making their sports picks know that the Bears have had to eke out two wins in their first two games but they are still 2-0. That’s mile ahead of Pittsburgh. Although the Steelers have home-field advantage in this one, as the Tennessee Titans showed, that doesn’t mean much these days.

The Steelers can win because…

It’s just two weeks. Listen, after four games last season, the Arizona Cardinals were 4-0. How did that end up? The reality is that not everything we see in the first couple of weeks of the season proves to be the long-term reality.

Pittsburgh has had a lot to deal with to start the season. They didn’t take the preseason seriously, their offensive line crumbled in Week 1 and they put all their eggs in running back Le’Veon Bell’s basket and he got injured. It’s going to take a bit of time to adjust.

We saw the Steelers come to life a little bit in Week 2 as they played with the lead, started to move the ball through the air and looked somewhat functional. The Bears aren’t necessarily known as a team that travels well and they have needed back-to-back fourth quarter comebacks just to reach 2-0. People making their NFL picks should expect this game to be far more evenly than many “experts” expect.

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Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction:

We’re going to see a valiant effort from the Steelers in this one as their season is riding on it. However, the question is whether or not that’s enough. Roethlisberger has had the worst two game stretch of his career not counting his rookie season, the running game is producing 37.5 rushing yards per game and the offensive line can’t protect. Do you believe that these areas get better? If so, then you take the Steelers as a home dog.

However, there is a case for those who believe that this Steelers team is fundamentally flawed. Why should the offensive line get better? Why should the ground game be improved? Maybe Big Ben does miss Mike Wallace, Hines Ward and Heath Miller, who are all no longer catching his passes.

The Steelers will play their guts out in this one but it’s hard to bet them right now. Unless the Bears make mistakes, this team is just not good enough.

Picks: Bears -2.5 at WillHill
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