Teams: Eagles at Steelers
Time: 1 p.m. ET
The interstate battle of Pennsylvania beings at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, as the favored Steelers host the 3-1 Eagles.
Why are the Steelers favored? The betting community must have faith in the Steelers at home after a bye week, or, despite the Eagles' 3-1 record, the -16 point scoring differential they have in compiling their outstanding start to the 2012 season could be scaring bettors off.
For the first time this year, the Steelers will have the benefit of a fully (relatively) healthy roster. The return of Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Stevenson Sylvester should bolster their running game and defensive depth. A recent announcement stating they will rotate their outside linebackers - Chris Carter with Harrison and Jason Worilds with LaMarr Woodley - should help this team stay fresh in the second half. The Steelers held second half leads in both of their losses (at Denver and at Oakland).
Perhaps the relative health of the Steelers has them feeling pretty good. Or good enough to poke the bear a little bit. Steelers running back Isaac Redman made a comment earlier this week the Eagles aren't worried about the run,and wide receiver Antonio Brown called out Eagles nickel back Brandon Boykin.
It doesn't take much for opponents and media to run with those kinds of comments, and while the Steelers running game in particular should just worry about producing more than 2.6 yards per carry, if they really do feel this good about their chances of running the ball, it will be a welcome change than the dismal production they've created to this point in the season.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.