(5-1, 4-2 ATS)
New Orleans Saints
(4-3, 2-5 ATS)
The Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints don’t have a ton in common, as they have only met on the gridiron on seven different instances in the last 30 years. However, they are the past two Super Bowl champs and will meet up in the Bayou for a Sunday Night Football betting affair in Week 8.
The Steelers just narrowly figured out how to escape last week against the Miami Dolphins, as they edged out a 23-22 victory. However, had they not settled for a field goal on that last drive and instead punched the ball into the end zone, they would have the best ATS record in the land at 5-1 ATS. In fact, we must remember that Pittsburgh is one fantastic play by the Baltimore Ravens from being 6-0 and running away with the AFC North. QB Ben Roethlisberger has now had two good games since returning from his suspension, as he has thrown for 559 yards and five scores against just one pick and is averaging 10.35 yards each and every time he puts the ball in the air. The defense finally let its first foe reach the 20 point barrier on the season last week, but that came without the services of both DEs Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, both are probably out of the lineup once again this weekend, which really could hurt against a New Orleans that that you need to get to the passer against.
The Saints really have only played one good game all season long and direly need to find a way to put together that second stellar outing in a big spot at home against the Steelers. They are just a game out of the NFC South race and know that they have their second game with the Atlanta Falcons coming down the line. RBs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are getting back towards good health, which will help add some balance to this offense as well. If QB Drew Brees ever needed a phenomenal game, this would the time to do it. Brees is coming off of a game in which he threw four picks at home against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Still, he has 14 scores this year and 2,029 passing yards, and is completing just under 70 percent of his passes. The defense might have allowed an average of 20.0 points per game in the last four games, but the unit has played significantly better than that. Opposing defenses have scored five TDs in the last four games against the turnover prone Saints, and the special teams have really set up some more disastrous moments as well.
It takes some real fortitude to go against the Steelers right now, but we have to believe that this offense is smart enough for the Saints to just abandon the run right away and let Brees essentially run the same offense he did at Purdue. If that’s the case, the burden is going to be on the offensive line, and if that unit can hold down the fort, New Orleans should find a way to muster enough ‘D’ to win this game.
Pro Football Free Picks: New Orleans Saints +1