The battle for state bragging rights is on the line this Thursday night at Heinz Field when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Week 2 preseason contest. Kick-off is slated for 8:00 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Philadelphia comes into this game fresh off a 13-6 victory over Baltimore last Thursday night as a three-point home favorite. The game stayed well ‘under’ the closing total line of 44.5 points. All of the Eagles’ scoring took place in the first half on a three-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to TE Brent Celek and two Alex Henery field goals.
Many people are referring to Philadelphia as the ‘dream team’ in light of the list of All-Pro players that now grace its roster, but if the early play of this team is any indication of what’s to come, the moniker could be dead-on correct. Vick looked sharp in the only series he played, completing 4-of-6 attempts for 74 yards and the score. Vince Young came on in relief and went 3-of-5 for 45 yards.
WR DeSean Jackson sat this game out but is expected to be in the lineup against the Steelers. Of greater concern is the health of the Eagles No.2 receiver, Jeremy Maclin, who remains sidelined with an undisclosed illness.
Pittsburgh was on the losing end of a 16-7 matchup with Washington in its preseason opener. The Steelers failed to cover as a 2.5 point road underdog and the total stayed ‘under’ the 33-point line. The Steelers only score came on an Issac Redman 22-yard run in the second quarter.
The Steelers did not look particularly sharp last Friday night on either side of the ball. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 22 yards in limited action and Byron Leftwich ended the night completing 6-for-10 passes for 70 yards.
The starters should most likely remain in the game for most of the first half against Philadelphia, but WR Hines Ward and CB Ike Taylor will probably remain on the sidelines while nursing thumb injuries.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid has to be happy with how his team looked against the Ravens and could give the starters another short night if they get off to a strong start in this one. On the other hand, the Steelers’ performance in their preseason opener could give their coach, Mike Tomlin reason to take a longer look at his starters on Thursday night which is enough of an edge to stick with Pittsburgh in this one.
My NFL Pick: Pittsburgh 23 Philadelphia 13
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.