Each week in this space, I will isolate the NFL CRUSHER OF THE WEEK. It will be a blend of statistical, situational and technical analysis that will result in an outstanding NFL pick for you.
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
The 49ers fly three time zones east for this 10 AM body time kick on short rest following their MNF straight up home dog victory. They’ll be visiting the Pittsburgh Steeler team who has had 10 days of rest to prepare following their 28-21 week 1 loss at New England. Maybe we should call it the situational play of the year in the NFL. In any event, this is the basis for the blowouts you see each week in the NFL.
San Francisco Treat
On Monday, I authored an analysis on the Vikings/49ers game, which offered the advice that line moves of 6 points rarely work in the NFL. The line maker was steadfast in opening the 49ers at -3-. Including the hook, it was an unbelievable enticement for the betting public to jump on a Minnesota team who had finished strong last season, had RB Peterson returning, and had just finished the preseason at 4-1 SU ATS. The public took the bait all the way to game time, when the Vikings closed at -2 on the NFL odds board. Gone from the 49ers was long time HC Harbaugh replaced by new HC Tomsula, a guy who never had a head coaching job in the NFL in his life. Then there was the Aldon Smith fiasco, which surely ruined team unity. To top it off, the 49ers had the biggest player turnover in the NFL. Final score: San Francisco 20, Minnesota 3. It was every bit as bad as the final, as the Niners totally dominated the line of scrimmage, running the ball 39 times to 17 for a 230-71 yardage edge. That must surely have been a very satisfying win for the 49ers franchise. Now they must fly three time zones east on short rest to meet a well-rested and hungry Pittsburgh team who has had 10 days to stew over their opening day 28-21 loss at New England.
Steel City Suspensions
Little was expected of the Steelers in their Thursday night opener at New England. The media made a point of telling everybody that Brady would be pumped after he was cleared of any wrong doing. In addition, the Steelers were fielding a defense that can kindly be referred to as rebuilding. And they were without longtime DC LeBeau. On the offensive side, starting center Pouncey was out till game 12, and RB Bell and WR Bryant were serving early season suspensions. The 28-21 final favoring New England was in no way representative of how the game was played. The Steelers outrushed the Patriots 134-80 (welcome back Deangelo Williams), and out passed the Patriots 330-281, negating 19 consecutive Brady completions. The Steelers actually could have won the game late.
The above situational scenario is all you need to know in a game where all the intangible edges point the Steelers’ way. Like I said, this has the makings of an NFL winning pick for week 2.
NFL Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -6 (-110) at The Greek