NFL Preseason: Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers Week 2 Preview

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers
Thursday, 8/18/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Pittsburgh -4
Current Betting Line:  Pittsburgh -3
Opening Total:  34
Current Total:  34
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

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Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is expected to make his preseason debut Thursday night

Philadelphia is set to play its second preseason game of the season against the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers.  The two teams have met 21 previous times during preseason action, with the Eagles trailing 12-9 in those contests.  Head coach Andy Reid has already stated that he intends to play starters for an entire half after limiting them to just a quarter in a 13-6 home win over the Baltimore Ravens last week.  Reid gives bettors a sense of optimism with his comments of playing against one of the premiere teams in the league this week, which may help improve upon his 10-2 ATS mark during Week 2 of preseason action.

The Eagles defense was active against the Ravens in tallying six sacks last week, led by defensive end Darryl Tapp with two.  Philadelphia also showed the ability to convert on third downs over the course of the game, picking up first downs on 10 of 16 opportunities.  Quarterback Michael Vick gave the team in early 7-3 lead after finishing 4-of-6 passing for 74 yards on a 7:02 scoring drive.  He will get his first opportunity to hook up with star wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who missed the opener due to holding out of camp.  Running back LeSean McCoy will also be motivated in his return to the Steel City, as he left the University of Pittsburgh with the fourth-most rushing yards in school history.

Pittsburgh displayed little in its 16-7 road loss to the Washington Redskins last week, as the team didn’t even come in with a game plan.  Head coach Mike Tomlin was still disappointed in his team’s effort and will likely have them ready for action tonight.  The Steelers are 12-9 all-time against the Philadelphia Eagles in preseason action, including two consecutive wins in 2007-08.  Low-scoring affairs have been a common theme for the squad under Tomlin’s watch, as the under is 14-3 during his tenure.  Pittsburgh is also 28-22 ATS in its last 50 opportunities as a favorite during the exhibition season.

The Steelers are also anticipating the preseason debuts of two of their biggest defensive stars, as linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu return.  Harrison is returning from offseason back surgery, while Polamalu rested with a sore Achilles that has plagued him over the last few years.  Since dropping last year’s Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers, the coaching staff has been focused on improving the team’s secondary.  The unit ranked 12th in the league a year ago and Washington quarterback Rex Grossman showed that it has a lot to improve upon, throwing for 207 yards in just a half of action.

Bettors will likely back the Steelers due to their 3-0 ATS mark in preseason home openers.

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