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Steelers -2.5 (1st Half) over Falcons (DraftKings)
The Steelers look to go undefeated in the preseason when they travel to Atlanta this Thursday. They are fresh off a 27-15 victory over the visiting Buffalo Bills.
Kenny Pickett led them to back-to-back scoring drives. Jaylen Warren broke a 62-yard run off for a touchdown on the opening drive and Pickett hit tight end, Pat Freiermuth on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Mitch Trubisky was solid in relief going 10-13 for 78 yards and a touchdown. They held the Bills to 3-8 on 3rd down and caused 4 turnovers.
The Falcons are coming off a 13-13 tie against the Bengals last week after defeating the Dolphins 19-3 the week prior. Taylor Heinicke had a decent outing for most of the game. He finished 13-21 for 162 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Running back, Godwin Igwebuike, was the star of the game for Atlanta. He took 14 carries for 61 yards with a long of 16. Defensively, they held the Bengals to under 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing while forcing a 42% 3rd down conversion rate.
We are going to play just the 1st half in this matchup. It is our belief that the Steelers starting group and the majority of their 2nd stringers will play enough in the 1st half to make a difference early. Pickett seems to be ahead of the curve in his 2nd season.
In their 2 previous games, the Steelers led at the half. Against the Bucs, they led 17-7 and against the Bills, they led 21-0. Let’s ride this trend for the final preseason game for both.
Eagles +5 over Colts (Caesars)
Indy dropped their preseason opener 23-19 to the Bills before taking care of business at home against the Bears last week. Sam Ehlinger had himself a game in the 24-17 victory. Through the air, he completed 65% of his passes for 124 yards. On the ground, he took 8 carries for 60 yards and a score.
He did all of this after Gardner Minshew went 13-15 for 107 yards and a touchdown. Ehlinger’s performance could be pushing Minshew for the prime backup spot behind rookie, Anthony Richardson.
The defense was able to put the Bears QBs on their backs 4 times and while they struggled against the run a bit (134 yards), they held the passing game to just 175 yards. They were staunch on 3rd down and allowed just 5 first downs on the Bears’ 14 attempts.
The Eagles have yet to win a preseason game after tying the Browns 18-18 last week. They lost the initial game 20-19 to the Ravens. Down 18-10 late in the game, Tanner McKee hit Brady Russell for a 22-yard touchdown and followed that up with finding Johnny King on the 2pt conversion.
While McKee was solid, Marcus Mariota was awful. Mariota consistently overthrew his receivers and finished with 1 interception while getting sacked 3 times. Trey Sermon, a journeyman running back, lost a fumble early but bounced back with a 33-yard touchdown run. The duo of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Kellen Mond were able to move the ball consistently against the Eagles’ defense which picked up a couple of injuries.
Star QB Jalen Hurts should see a series or two in this game and hopefully will give us a good start to the game. It could be worth playing just the 1st half but if Mariota ends up playing most of that half, we would not trust the Birds.
The other factor here is Gardner Minshew playing against the team he backed up for last year. Minshew had flashes of good play last year but was also atrocious at times as well. With the defense being familiar with him, we believe that also favors the Eagles here.