The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) are in danger of their worst start since the 1970 merger if they do not keep things competitive with the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles (6-0), who are coming off a bye week.
A 2-6 record would tie the worst start for the Steelers since 1970, and a blowout like the last time they were in Philadelphia (34-3 in 2016) would give them the worst scoring differential for a Pittsburgh team through eight games since the merger.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field
Beware the Second Quarter
Something that really stands out for this 6-0 start by the Eagles is the dominance in the second quarter. Philadelphia is jumping all over teams before halftime and riding out a second half to an easy victory, outside of the Arizona game, the only one with a fourth-quarter tie. The Eagles have yet to trail after the two-minute warning of the first half this season.
The by-quarter scoring numbers from Philadelphia are unlike anything we have seen before at this point in a season:
- First Quarter: Eagles down 21-14 (minus-7)
- Second Quarter: Eagles up 112-27 (plus-85)
- Third Quarter: Eagles up 17-14 (plus-3)
- Fourth Quarter: Eagles down 43-18 (minus-25)
If you take out the second quarter, the Eagles have been outscored by 29 points this season. But that plus-85 margin in the second quarter is both insanely and historically great. The 112 points scored is 20 points ahead of the previous record for second-quarter points in the first six games of a season.
The plus-85 scoring margin is also the best quarter any team has ever had through six games, beating out the 1998 Broncos, who were plus-80 in the first quarter. That Denver team went on to win the Super Bowl.
The Eagles are an unfamiliar opponent for the Steelers, and they had a bye week to prepare for this one against a defense that is still missing T.J. Watt. It would seem very likely that the Eagles will work their second-quarter magic again and take control of this game by befuddling Pittsburgh’s defense with pre-snap motion and their multi-layered running game that involves Jalen Hurt’s legs as well.
Trust the second-quarter spread more than the full-game spread for your NFL picks, because as we saw with Dallas in Week 6, the Eagles can let up some points in the second half after being up big.
That early dominance and the likelihood of the Eagles winning the game is also why the double result of Eagles-Eagles to lead at the end of both halves is a great pick for those wanting a much better price than just going with the Eagles’ moneyline (-550).
NFL Pick: Eagles Second Quarter Spread -3 (-115) at Bovada
NFL Pick: Halftime/Full Time Eagles-Eagles (-180) at Bovada
Is the Under the Best Pick?
For as good as the Eagles look on offense at times, the fact is they have not scored 30 points since Week 1 in Detroit, and that was when the Lions were allowing points at a historic rate. Philadelphia has settled in at 20-to-29 points in the five games since.
For as bad as Pittsburgh looks on defense at times without T.J. Watt, they tend to settle in like they did in the second half in Miami when they held the Dolphins scoreless.
Buffalo is the only team to score more than 24 points on the Pittsburgh defense this year. The Browns had 29 points but that included a garbage six points on a fumble return on the final snap of the game.
The Bills shredded Pittsburgh through the air with Josh Allen throwing for over 400 yards, and most of that before halftime. It is not impossible for the Eagles to do something big in the passing game this week, but that is usually not the style for Hurts and company.
Hurts is averaging 199.3 passing yards per game over the last three games. He averages one touchdown pass per game, and even with his 6 rushing touchdowns factored in, that is 2 touchdowns per game from him.
That makes it hard to take him as a serious MVP candidate, especially with what Allen and Patrick Mahomes are doing this year.
Following the game script we are laying out with the fast start by the Eagles, the Vegas lines on this game make a lot of sense as you could see the Eagles win a 27-16 type of game that may not even feel that close.
The Steelers are only averaging about 12 points per four quarters of action with Kenny Pickett at quarterback.
The Under should be the safe NFL pick in this one.
NFL Pick: Under 43 (-105) at Bovada
Final Prediction: Do the Eagles Cover?
The Eagles should improve to 7-0, but the spread is a different story. However, head coach Nick Sirianni is 5-0-1 ATS as a home favorite since last year. Hard to argue with that.
The Steelers caught Tampa Bay at the right time with Tom Brady’s team falling apart. They also put in a spirited effort in front of a prime-time audience in Miami. But this just feels like too much of a mismatch right now, and the Eagles are built to jump out to a big lead and grind the game away.
Pickett is the first quarterback since Ryan Leaf in 1998 to throw at least 7 interceptions and fewer than 3 touchdowns in his first four NFL games. The schedule has not been kind, but this matchup is not going to do him any favors.
Following the NFL odds, look for Hurts to add to his rushing touchdown total by taking another short one in, and the Eagles will cover to move to an impressive 7-0.
Score Prediction: Eagles 27 - Steelers 14
NFL Pick: Eagles -10.5 (-110) at Bovada
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.