Steelers vs. Eagles: Pittsburgh opens as a touchdown favorite in Week 5

James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Steelers are undefeated and coming off an early bye week. Here’s why they are favored to win against the Eagles at Heinz Field this weekend.

Having a Week 4 bye isn’t exactly the mid-season break Pittsburgh was hoping for. After being left in the dark about whether or not they would be playing the Tennessee Titans until late in the week, the Steelers practiced as week as if they were going to play in Week 4. This essentially wiped out their bye, as players didn’t have a chance to take much time off and they are now back to practice and preparing to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.

Though Mike Tomlin’s team was robbed of some time off, the Steelers certainly wouldn’t exchange their hot start to the season for a bye later in the year. While the completion they have faced so far has been pedestrian, Pittsburgh is 3-0 to begin the year, and they look to keep that streak alive longer with a win on their home turf this Sunday. A win this week would mark the first time the team has started the season 4-0 since 1979.

So far, things are looking pretty good. Though the Eagles were able to come away with a win a banged-up 49ers team on Sunday Night Football in Week 4, oddsmakers have the Steelers as 7-point favorites to begin the week, courtesy of The Action Network.

Why the Steelers hold the edge against the Eagles

After a rocky start to the 2020 season for the Eagles, they finally earned their first win of the season last week. Remarkably, at 1-2-1, Philadelphia is solely in first place in the NFC East – a division that has combined for 3 wins, 12 losses, and 1 tie through the first quarter of the season.

The Steelers, on the other hand, have taken care of business in each of their first three games (albeit, against inferior competition). The three teams they played currently have a combined record of just 1-11 on the season, so we shouldn’t get overconfident in Pittsburgh just yet. Still, it’s not hard to see why Tomlin’s team is favored in this contest.

Apart from a close win against San Francisco this past week, the Eagles have been less than impressive in the early going – losing to The Washington Football Team and the Los Angeles Rams by double-digit points, while tying the Cincinnati Bengals in a game they probably should have lost.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have started the year with the league’s most dominant defensive line in terms of stopping the run and getting after the quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger has also gotten the job done in the early going. Though his numbers are modest, his 7/1 touchdown to interception ratio has given Pittsburgh’s defense a chance to win every game.

Still, Pittsburgh must iron out some of their errors if they are to come away with a win in this one. Benny Snell and Diontae Johnson have combined for a whopping 4 fumbles in the first three games of the season, and it will be important for the Steelers to win the turnover battle. In addition, the pass defense has yet to develop any consistency and they have made minimal plays on the ball so far.

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If these things can improve, the Steelers could really get good in a hurry. However, even if they don’t in Week 5, Pittsburgh is still a good enough team to knock out the Eagles at Heinz Field this week.