The Eagles (1-2-1) are in Pittsburgh this week to play the Steelers (3-0) on Sunday at Heinz Field.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (0-4)
Impressive win Sunday under difficult circumstances, but I’m not convinced the Eagles have “figured it out” or “turned it around.” The quarterback has shown signs of life but still isn’t playing consistently enough. The offensive line and secondary are still riddled with injuries. The receivers remain unproven. Zach Ertz hasn’t gotten untracked. The linebackers are the linebackers. I don’t like the matchups Sunday. The Steelers are very good running the ball and stopping the run. They have a Hall of Fame quarterback who’s playing well and gets rid of the ball quickly. They don’t turn the ball over. They just don’t give you much, and they’re not going to make the kind of mistakes the 49ers made to let the Eagles stay in that game. Remember, the 49ers outgunned the Eagles by 150 yards Sunday. The Steelers don’t lose many games at home - just 42 times since Heinz Field opened 20 years ago. To get out of Pittsburgh with a win, the Eagles will have to neutralize this Steelers defensive front, slow down James Conner, get Big Ben on the ground and protect the ball. I’m not sure they’re quite there yet.
Steelers 26, Eagles 20
Dave Zangaro (0-4)
OK, so trying to figure out this Eagles team hasn’t been very easy so far this season. But after a tie against the Bengals and a win in San Francisco, maybe they’re starting to turn things around. But this will probably be their biggest test so far this year. They won’t get the benefit of playing a backup quarterback or a team that’s mostly on IR.
But it’s also fair to question if the Steelers are really that good. They’re 3-0 but they beat the Giants by 10, the Broncos by 5 and the Texans by 7. Their opponents through three games have a combined one win. Maybe the Eagles are their best test yet too … or maybe the Eagles are just another bad team in a string of bad teams the Steelers face.
I have a weird feeling about this game and I never let sound reasoning get in the way of a weird feeling. I think it’ll be a low-scoring game between these two teams and then anything can happen. Against my better judgement, I think the Eagles pick up their second straight win.
Eagles 17, Steelers 14
Ray Didinger (0-4)
People who come to this site for our weekly Eagles picks must feel like Joe Girardi signaling to the Phillies bullpen. They can't have a lot of confidence. I'm 0-for-4 on my picks and so are most of the other guys. Barrett Brooks is alone in first place at 1-3 so we're the NFC East of predictors. It is pretty embarrassing.
I don't know what to expect Sunday in Pittsburgh. I'm sure you are nodding your head and thinking "Yeah, I know. I see your record" but it's more than that. This is a tough game to figure. The Steelers are 3-0 which looks impressive, but they have beaten the Giants, Broncos and Texans, three times with a combined record of 1-11. Ben Roethlisberger is working his way back from elbow surgery and the offense is still hit and miss. The Steelers defense led by edge rushers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree is typically nasty (15 sacks).
The Eagles weren't perfect in San Francisco but they were good in the trenches, both offensive and defensive, and Carson Wentz showed signs of coming around. I'm surprised the line has stayed at seven points all week. That seems high for what looks like a tight, low scoring game. I see the Eagles keeping it close but big Ben doing just enough to win.
Steelers 20, Eagles 17
Barrett Brooks (1-3)
Last week’s victory over the 49ers should show the Eagles what it takes to win. I think a lot of the players figured that all they had to do is show up, and they would instantly get a victory. Every fan and the team figured that Washington and Cincinnati were chalked up as wins in the beginning of the season. Reality set in and my Bird’s got punched in the mouth for three weeks in a row. I must admit, they needed that. There was definitely an attitude adjustment needed.
The Eagles played fundamental football last week. Players did their jobs and played with the enthusiasm we grew accustomed to in previous years. That’s the key! Rushing the passer on defense and creating turnovers by players just being where they are supposed to be within the scheme. The front four stopping the run with penetration up the field. On offense, Carson Wentz getting back to basics, throwing outside the pocket or running for extra yardage. That was the formula that worked back in 2017. IF this team keeps this mentality, they will fight their way back to respectability.
Although this is just one week’s performance, let’s hope it was infectious and it carries to this week. The Steelers are undefeated, but I think the Eagles will be the best team they have faced thus far. Big Ben and that offense struggles to put up points. The defense is the reason they are undefeated. The 3-4 defensive scheme is a hard defense to block against, because all the rules change in the blocking schemes. It’s up to the O-Line to win this game for the Eagles. If Doug Pederson runs the ball and out physicals the line of scrimmage, Birds win!
Eagles 28, Steelers 20
Mike Mulhern (0-4)
Carson Wentz isn’t going to be getting much additional help in the way of weapons for this one. Alshon Jeffery and Desean Jackson have already been ruled out. Despite their absences a week ago, Wentz was able to make just enough plays with his legs and connect on one deep shot to Travis Fulgham to help secure a win against a depleted 49ers defense. It won’t be so easy this time around. The Steelers have eight former first round picks among their 11 starters on that side of the ball: Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Devin Bush, Bud Dupree, TJ Watt, Terrell Edmunds, Joe Haden, and Minkah Fitzpatrick. They are as talented as any defense in the league, and it translates on the field. Through three games, they rank second in yards allowed per game and fifth in points allowed per game. The Eagles offense managed just three scoring drives in San Francisco, and I think they’ll have a tough time just matching that number this week.
The good news is that Jim Schwartz’s defense seems to have turned a corner. They’ve racked up 13 sacks over the past two weeks and the pressure from the pass rush helped lead to three turnovers against the 49ers. They’ll need that kind of herculean effort from their front once again on Sunday. Unfortunately, it won’t be Nick Mullens in the opposing huddle. Ben Roethlisberger has deep threats galore at his disposal, and if given time, he’ll air it out and make them pay.
The Eagles haven’t won in the Steel City since the turn of the century when the Steelers were still playing at Three Rivers Stadium. I think that streak continues Sunday.
Steelers 21, Eagles 17