Pittsburgh Steelers vs Philadelphia Eagles Prediction, Preview & Odds

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET; Aug. 12, 2021
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field
Where to listen: NFL Game Pass, Westwood One, Sirius XM

Season-to-date
Steelers: 1-0 in preseason
Eagles: 4-11-1 in 2020, last place in NFC East

Statistical leaders


Steelers (preseason):
Passing: Mason Rudolph -- 6-of-9, 84 yards
Rushing: Najee Harris -- 22 yards
Receiving: Chase Claypool -- 62 yards
Tackles: Miles Killebrew - 6 tackles
Interceptions: Donovan Stiner (1)

Eagles (2020)
Passing: Carson Wentz -- 2,620 yards, 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Rushing: Miles Sanders -- 867 yards (5.3 YPA), six touchdowns
Receiving: Travis Fulgham -- 539 yards, four touchdowns
Tackles: Alex Singleton (120)
Sacks: Brandon Graham (8)
Interceptions: Marcus Epps (2)

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Eagles -1, Steelers +1
BetMGM:
Eagles -1, Steelers +1
FanDuel: Eagles -1, Steelers +1

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Steelers - Eagles Preview


Can we really call what the Philadelphia Eagles are doing a rebuild? Does one trade their once-thought-of face of the franchise for nothing because they might have … another face of the franchise?

And is that face of the franchise even going to be said face of the franchise because it’s not a guarantee that he’ll start Week 1?

It’s a grand time in Philadelphia if you’re a fan of any of the other NFC East rival teams, because the Eagles somehow ended up worse than all of them last year.

Whether you want to believe the Eagles really don’t have their eyes on a starter now, it’s Jalen Hurts’ time to lead the new era in Philadelphia under new coach Nick Sirianni. The Eagles kick that new era off Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Let’s understand the current landscape of the NFC East: It won’t take long to rebound after the year those four teams had. The New York Giants and Washington Football Team were that bad, that the Dallas Cowboys almost won the division after going two months without Dak Prescott. So it’s not crazy to think the Eagles could rebound after a year where they just imploded from within. First place is not that ridiculous.

Sundays won’t be too bad if Hurts, the former Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma, excels going into his sophomore season. The current list of quarterbacks in Philadelphia -- Hurts, Nick Mullens and Joe Flacco -- should quiet any hopes of anyone else other than Hurts taking the starting job. We all know who’s playing the games in October and driving this offense.

The Eagles moved on from Carson Wentz, their former No. 2 overall pick, shipping him to the Indianapolis Colts for two draft picks. The hope for the Eagles is Hurts has enough around him to get the Eagles back to contention. Tight end Zach Ertz needs to be formidable alongside other tight end Dallas Goeddert as reliable third down targets. Philadelphia also has last year’s Heisman winner Devonta Smith now on the roster, giving him a reliable No. 1 receiver on the outside.

Tack on Miles Sanders, who had a great year for the Philly run game despite the down year, and Philadelphia’s offense should be better than what it was a year ago.

The Steelers have the rare four-game preseason schedule this season. Pittsburgh is coming off a 16-3 win over the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game last week in what was a dominant defensive effort. It would have to be given the fact the Cowboys didn’t have their starting quarterbacks and rolled out a horrendous battle for Dallas’ backup quarterback spot.

But coach Mike Tomlin got enough from backup quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver Chase Claypool on offense to let the defense finish the job.

Don’t hold your breath on seeing the Pittsburgh starters yet after getting the day off for the Hall of Fame Game. Ben Roethlisberger may not even play until next game or the finale for warmup purposes. Wide receivers Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster may not even to suit up too much as we go forward. Diontae Johnson, who had two catches for 19 yards against Dallas, could see some more reps. Not even tight end Eric Ebron should be expected to play much in August.

Unless receiver James Washington gets traded any time soon, even he won’t be seeing much time.

The focus will likely turn again to the backup quarterback spot in Pittsburgh, whether it be Dwayne Haskins, Rudolph, or even Josh Dobbs. All three threw the ball well against Dallas and will get more reps as we go. If Roethlisberger plays at all Thursday, best to expect it’d be a series or two. Training camp could be a long relax period for No. 7.

Trends


Preseason is such a hard thing to grasp when looking for trends. But including preseason, the Steelers are 2-11 in their last 13 meetings against the Eagles when rushing for 75 yards or less since 1993. If you’re looking for anything to even bet this game off of, hope for Najee Harris going off left tackle or right guard a few times and break a few long carries.

Much like the Hall of Fame game, expect the under to be carried here. As the line goes throughout the week, don’t expect the total to creep up. Even if 10 of 15 meetings since 1993 have gone over the total, unless the backups go crazy and light up the stat sheet for 400 yards or so, now won’t be the time.

Prediction


We’ll be very interested to see how long Pittsburgh rolls its three-quarterback system and if one breaks from the pack. All three played well last week, and that’s what Steelers fans should be looking toward. If they do well enough to open up the running game, expect another win for the Steelers. Steelers 17-14, under cashes.

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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