This is the Steel City Blitz Three-Point Stance. Your quick-hitting reference guide to everything you need to know about the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers in this week 5 matchup. The TPS is sponsored by Gryffin the King!
What: Philadelphia Eagles 1-2-1 at Pittsburgh Steelers 3-0
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: 1pmET October 11th, 2020
Weather: 50% chance of showers and 71 degrees at kickoff
Line: Steelers -7 O/U 44
Last Week: The Eagles recorded their first win of the season by beating the 49ers 25-20 in San Francisco. The Steelers were forced into a sudden BYE week when the game with Tennessee was rescheduled due to a breakout of Covid-19 among Titans’ players and staff.
TV: FOX Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Jonathan Vilma (analysis), Shannon Spake (analysis)
TV Coverage in Your Area: Courtesy the506.com
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley and Missi Matthews on the sidelines.
Head Official: Ron Torbert. He is in his seventh season as a head official. Last year, he officiated tow Steelers’ games which were both victories. His crew had 14 accepted penalties in the team’s win over Miami and then later, his crew had 11 accepted penalties in a win over Arizona. Tobert was the side judge in infamous “Tim Tebow” playoff loss to Denver.
Key Injuries/Game Status (courtesy steelers.com) PIT: LB Marcus Allen (Foot) – Out, FB Derek Watt (Hamstring) – Out PHI: WR DeSean Jackson (Hamstring) – Out, WR Alshon Jeffrey (Illness, Foot) – Out, CB Avonte Maddox (Ankle) – Out
2019 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 27th PHI 24th Passing Offense: PIT 30th PHI 25th Rushing Offense: PIT 20th PHI 16th
Total Defense: PIT 2nd PHI 20th Passing Defense: PIT 2nd PHI 18th Rushing Defense: PIT 1st PHI 12th
AFC North Rankings: Pittsburgh 3-0, Baltimore 3-1, Cleveland 3-1, Cincinnati 1-2-1
This Week in the AFC North: Cincinnati at Baltimore 1pm, Indianapolis at Cleveland 4pm
What You Need to Know: The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time in a decade… Pittsburgh reached the playoffs in 6 of the previous 8 campaigns that they started 3-0 and twice won the Super Bowl (1978, 1979)… The Steelers have started 4-0 just three times in their history. Twice they won the Super Bowl… The Steelers have won the coin toss in three straight games… A win on Sunday would give Ben Roethlisberger 147 career wins which would tie him for 5th all-time with John Elway… T.J. Watt has now recorded 26.0 sacks in 26 career games at Heinz Field.
Philadelphia Eagles Names to Know: QB Carson Wentz, DT Fletcher Cox, DL Brandon Graham, CB Darius Slay, WR Greg Ward, Jr., TE Dallas Goedert, DL Javon Hargrave, TE Zach Ertz
What’s at Stake: Believe it or not, the Eagles are looking to maintain their lead in the NFC East. You read that right, they lead the division with a 1-2-1 record. The Steelers meanwhile come off of their impromptu bye week looking to remain unbeaten. Division rivals Baltimore and Cincinnati square off and Cleveland has a tough date with Indy so every week becomes a finer and finer line for the Steelers.
All-Time Series: Eagles lead 48-27-3, Philly leads 19-18-1 in Pittsburgh
Last Meeting: September 2016 Eagles 34 Steelers 3
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
Slow Down the Rush. Wondering who has more sacks than the Steelers? The Eagles do and their ‘wide 9′ defense is getting after the opposing quarterback right now. Of their four opponents however, Cincinnati, Washington and San Francisco rank in the top seven of teams giving up the most pressure. So have the Eagles seen the best competition to prevent them from getting to the passer? Not necessarily, but they doing what is asked of them and they are making things difficult for opposing QBs. With this in mind, Randy Fichtner will need to be more creative than he has been. Establishing the running game will be important but so too will be screen passes and misdirection plays. If the Steelers’ line can hold, then this shouldn’t be a problem but we haven’t always fared so well against wide 9 defenses.
It’s All About Wentz. Miles Sanders, a local kid who played at Penn State, is becoming a better and better running back and he can be dangerous. Make no mistake however, the Eagles’ fortunes rest with Carson Wentz. Despite not having two of his receivers Wentz will have his legs which have proven to be a problem for teams in recent weeks. The advantage the Steelers will have comes from two things. First, they saw a similar QB recently in Deshaun Watson and second they are facing an offensive line that is missing three starters. As usual, the Steelers will need to push the pocket forward and force Wentz into the laps of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. If they allow Wentz to get settled and make steady throws then that’s a recipe for disaster.
Special Teams. Yup, it’s that simple. Danny Smith’s group has been surprisingly good and they need to continue that Sunday. However, they will be without both Derek Watt and Marcus Allen who have been outstanding in all phases. Whomever steps in for them must take care to execute properly and not make mistakes. This is exactly the type of thing that can swing a game like this. Make your blocks, make your tackles, make your kicks and make plays. Don’t let this game slip away because of lapses on Special Teams.
Prediction: It’s cliche’ to say but this one will be won in the trenches. The strength of both teams really is in their defensive fronts where the Eagles are really good on the D-Line and the Steelers are good there and at linebacker as well. Randy Fichtner must keep the Philly defense off balance. Throwing on first down, getting the ball out of Ben Roethlisberger’s hands quickly and establishing a running game would be the perfect thing to accomplish this. Pittsburgh is not in a good mood following that impromptu bye week but I’m not sure how that plays out. It won’t be easy but I think the Steelers get it done.
Steelers 27 Eagles 19
Season Prediction Record: 3-0