Saturday, Aug.10, 8 p.m. (ET)
Television: NFL Network
Pointspread: Pittsburgh -2.5
Total Line: 35.5
The Giants are coming off a 9-7 straight-up (7-9 against the spread) record in 2012 but that was not good enough to land a spot in the postseason so the pressure to get back to the playoffs this season has been dialed-up for a team that has won two Super Bowls in the past six seasons. At the center of it all is 10-year veteran quarterback Eli Manning. His numbers in 2012 (3,948 yards and 26 touchdowns) were not that bad, but he still only completed 59.9 percent of his passes and was picked-off 15 times. The biggest issue on offense could be New York’s running game. Its leading rusher from last season, Ahmad Bradshaw is gone so it will be up to David Wilson to fill the void.
As far as this preseason opener, all eyes will be on the Giants’ defensive line with draft picks Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore getting their first taste of the NFL. Also look for fourth round pick Ryan Nassib, who should see some action at quarterback. New York’s first round pick offensive tackle Justin Pugh will sit this game out with a concussion.
The Steelers find themselves in the same boat as New York. A disappointing 8-8 SU (6-9-1 ATS) mark kept them out of the postseason and several personnel moves this past offseason has raised more questions than answers as to which direction this team will head in 2013. Ben Rothlisberger’s health is always a concern but the fact that one of his top receivers Mike Wallace is no longer with the team will certainly not help an offense that was ranked 14th in the NFL in passing last year.
A couple of new faces to keep an eye on for Pittsburgh in this matchup include outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who was the 17th overall player taken in the draft and running back Le’Veon Bell, who has been working with the first team in training camp. The Steelers also added wide receiver Markus Wheaton in the third round and quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth.
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Neither team will be running their starters much past the first quarter on Saturday night, so team depth becomes a big factor as to which one comes out on top. You would have to think that there is a bigger sense of urgency with Pittsburgh to get a win in this game and there is a distinct advantage with it playing this game at home.
Pittsburgh 23 New York 20
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.