Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
|Date & Time||Sunday September 28, 2014, 1:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Steelers -8 -- Over/Under: 43.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off on Sunday at Heinz Field in NFL week 4 action.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off of their most impressive performance of the season beating the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night on the road in dominating fashion. The Steelers are 201 thus far this season that in he tough AFC North puts them in third place due to their head-to-head loss at Baltimore. The Steelers offense is 12th n the NFL in scoring averaging 24.3 points and fifth in yards averaging 419.3 yards per game. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger has completed 66.3 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions while being sacked six times. Roethlisberger has been aided by a solid Steeler rushing attack led by Le’Veon Bell who is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and he is spelled by LeGarrette Blount who is averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Antonio Brown is Pittsburgh’s go to receiver with 22 receptions and three touchdowns and Markus Wheaton has 15 catches. The Steelers defense allows 24 points per game that ranks 22nd and they allow 353.7 yards per game that ranks 18th but they suffered big injuries to their linebacking unit so they are extremely thin. Lawrence Timmons leads the Steelers defense with 24 tackles, Troy Polamalu has 23 tackles, and Mike Mitchell has 17 tackles. With injuries to Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier as well as Ike Taylor the Steelers defense is in rough shape.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to a 0-3 start and Lovie Smith’s team is statistically one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Buccaneers are coming off of a blowout loss at Atlanta but at least they have had a few extra days to work out some of the kinks. QB Josh McCown has completed 63.2 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions while being sacked five times and Mike Glennon has completed nearly 71 percent of his passes and is the likely starter here with McCown doubtful. The Tampa Bay rushing attack has been sad led by Bobby Rainey and Mike James but Doug Martin should be back this week after being injured in week one. Mike Evans and Brandon Myers each have 13 receptions and Vincent Jackson has 10 but he is listed as questionable. The Bucs defense isn’t any better than the offense allowing a 31st ranked 31.7 points and a 28th ranked 387 yards per game. Dashin Goldson has 26 tackles, Lavonte David has 25 tackles, and Mark Barron has 22 tackles but an even bigger issue is Tampa Bay’s minus four turnover ratio.
Pittsburgh is 4-1 against the spread against a team with a losing record, 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games, and 4-10 against the spread following a win by 14 or more points. Tampa Bay is 0-5 against the spread following a loss, 0-4 against the spread in their last four road games, and 0-6 against the spread in their last six games. Tampa Bay is 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against Pittsburgh.
Tampa Bay is clearly struggling but the Steelers have big issues on defense and this game should be more competitive than the point spread dictates so while it is just a lean I will take the Bucs and the points.
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