With both teams to likely put more focus on evaluating each others' defenses, the Steelers come into the game as -3 favorites, with a total of 35.5 in the NFL odds. Which one will make for a better sports pick on game day?
The way the Giants played football got lost last season. They are normally a very imposing defense, however that label was definitely lost last season, and they have sent the summer trying to get it back. The Giants ended up 31st in total yards given up last season, and with a revamped defense, I see the Giants trying to get back to that label early in the preseason.
Tom Coughlin is 4-5 SU in Week 1’s of the preseasons since he took over the Giants. Last season in Week 1 of the preseason, the Giants failed to hold off the Jaguars after getting up to a solid lead at the half. Eli Manning and the offense won’t be out on the field very long in this game, nor were they in Week 1 last season. Manning was 4-8 in the first preseason game last season, and I doubt he gets more than a few series on offense with the starters.
However behind him on offense, there is plenty to be seen. We have already talked about how the defense will be the main focus, but after that, nailing down some position battles are key. The Giants still need to figure out pretty much all of their 2nd string on offense, and guys like Reuben Randle and Louis Murphy will want to put on a show. David Carr is the back up QB in New York, and he played very well in the first preseason game last year, going 6-10 with two touchdowns in limited work behind Manning.
NFL offseason coverage continues with the Giants Season Win Total Odds!
Steel curtain repairs
Much like the Giants, the defensive line is one of the main areas of focus for the Steelers in this game and the preseason. After their three starters up front, they have some much needed evaluation to do on their 2nd and 3rd string defensive line. The rest of the defense remains pretty much the same, but other than health, I doubt the Steelers have much to look at this offseason. They are bringing back a majority of their starters on both sides of the ball this season.
Ben Roethlisberger’s health is probably the number one concern, and with all of the injuries he had/has, I see him playing no more than one series in this game. Behind him is the battle that will be taking place, and there is no need to put Ben at risk this early in the preseason. I doubt the Steelers play him much at all this entire preseason, let alone the first game.
Don't forget to also check out our Steelers Season Win Total Odds!
The Sharp Pick
Mike Tomlin is 4-3 SU in the first week of the preseason, but as a favorite here, I’m not seeing it. The Steelers will likely play their first unit no more than one or two series, and then after that the talent on their roster is shaky. The Giants’ second-string offense is still going to be very good, and between the battle at running back, and the depth at receiver, the Giants are set up to win this game.
They have much more to evaluate, especially in the passing game, while the Steelers will be more focused on looking at LeVeon Bell and the rest of the running game. Even if the Steelers fall behind, I see them looking more at the running game, and caring more about evaluation than the scoreboard in this one. Take the points with this one for your NFL picks, I see a low-scoring and close game.
NFL Pick: Take the Giants laying +3 points
Have a different opinion? Share it on our message boards!