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Buccaneers vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh opens as 8-point favorites over visiting Tampa Bay

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Injuries are pushing back the line on this game in some places but, however you slice it, the Steelers are heavy favorites against the winless Buccaneers.

Kevin C. Cox

The fates of ill-prepared teams will be repeated in the NFL, but following the path to success always has positive results.

There's some wisdom for ya. Consider that for a second and then consider the fact the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were slaughtered in their Week 3 Thursday Night game at Atlanta. Do we have to look very far to recall another team losing a big division road game on Thursday Night, only to rebound the following week on the road against a perceived "better" team from the other conference for a big win?

That's exactly the path the Steelers took from Week 2 to Week 3, and it's the same one Tampa Bay currently is on after their loss to the Falcons. Still, it's probably fair to put Pittsburgh as a touchdown-plus favorite at home for the first time since the opener, particularly with big injuries on the Buccaneers' side.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was playing at an All-Pro level before suffering a broken hand in Week 2. They had lost running back Doug Martin in Week 1 to a knee injury and defensive end Michael Johnson to an ankle injury. Throw in a sprained thumb for quarterback Josh McCown and those on the Bucs' injury list are bigger losses than the Steelers suffered Sunday night in losing outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, cornerback Ike Taylor and inside linebacker Ryan Shazier.

Tampa Bay would start Mike Glennon at quarterback if McCown cannot play, thus assuring the Steelers will face a quarterback who hasn't seen Dick LeBeau's defense in his career. The Steelers are 30-13 since 2004 against quarterbacks making their first start against LeBeau, and 2-0 this season, including a 37-19 massacre of the favored Carolina Panthers in Week 3.

Expect the line to fluctuate a bit as injury reports continue to be updated by both teams. Bovada.lv doesn't have a line on the game yet, likely because of uncertainty surrounding those injuries.