Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread Pick
Opening Line: Chicago - 1.5
Chicago improved to 2-0 with a last-second 31-30 victory against Minnesota last Sunday. Pittsburgh dropped to 0-2 after a 20-10 loss at Cincinnati on Monday night.
The Bears have shown improvement on offense early in the year as the O-line is better and new HC Marc Trestman has been a positive influence on QB Jay Cutler. The enigmatic QB did commit three TOs last week but also threw the game-winning TD with 10 seconds left, showing a composure that has been missing during his time in the Windy City. Matt Forte is a dual-threat RB but will find the going slow on the ground. The Steelers are allowing only 3.1 yards-per-carry but can wear down late in games. Cutler continues to find WR Brandon Marshall (15-217-2) but is also spreading the ball around to other targets. Forte also has 15 receptions and can be a handful on screens and dumpoffs. Pittsburgh has totalled only one sack in two games and their new starters aren't as good as the players they have replaced, yet. This will be the most pressure Chicago's O-line will have faced so far and how they perform will go a long way in determining if the offense can sustain drives.
The Steelers offense has been simply dreadful in the first two games and now they face a defense that specializes in taking the ball away (6 in first 2 games). They have scored nine and 10 points in the first two matchups and have rushed for 75 yards on 31 carries. The O-line is dealing with injury woes and QB Ben Roethlisberger has very few reliable targets to throw to. WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio brown are decent wideouts but CB Charles Tillman is a very physical corner who specializes in stripping the ball away. With the ground game stalled, the front four of the Bears can tee off on Roethlisberger. Like Pittsburgh, they have only one sack but DE Julius Peppers should be able to get to Big Ben. Unless the running game produces something, Roethlisberger will be running for his life all afternoon.
ATS Game Pick
Chicago got a huge boost last week as KR-PR Devin Hester tallied a franchise-high 249 return yards. His ability to give the offense shorter fields will help them overcome a proud defense and give the Bears a big road win. Coming off a dismal performance on Monday night won't help the Steelers either.
Crew's Pick: Take the Chicago Bears -1.5