A lot of people believe the Pittsburgh Steelers will have the best offense in the NFL this coming season. However, barring a surprisingly successful appeal by star running back Le’Veon Bell, he will miss the season opener at the Washington Redskins and three additional games. Oddsmakers still list Pittsburgh as a Week 1 favorite in online NFL betting odds.
How To Bet on Pittsburgh at Washington Week 1 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
Another day in the books.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) August 4, 2016
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
The Steelers still have Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and they have the best No. 2 running back in the NFL in DeAngelo Williams so they should be fine without Bell. Last year, Williams had 907 yards and 11 touchdowns on 200 carries in relief of Bell, who missed 10 games for suspension and injury. Bell has appealed this new suspension, and the Steelers expect to hear the results around mid-August. Williams said the foot injury that sidelined him from the playoffs is now healed and he feels as fresh as ever.
“There’s no difference for me whether [Bell is] here or not. I’ve always had to prepare that way,” Williams said. “Being the backup, as they call me, I have no pressure at all. Everybody’s always going to have questions, and that’s what I love about it. It went from, ‘Can DeAngelo fill in the role?’ to, ‘How long can he hold up?’ to, ‘Can he keep doing it?’ There are always going to be questions — I know that. I’ll let my playing answer my questions.”
The Steelers also will be without No. 2 receiver Martavis Bryant for the entire season due to suspension but they are deep at that position too. Last season when Bryant missed the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension and the fifth with a minor knee injury, Darrius Heyward-Bey stepped right in and delivered as the veteran caught 17 passes for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns. After Bryant finally returned to action, Heyward-Bey became a role player on offense. But when Brown missed the divisional round playoff game vs. Denver with an injury, Heyward-Bey added two more catches for 64 yards.
“Somebody else has got to come through,” receivers coach Richard Mann said of the loss this season of Bryant. “We’ve got a couple of other players that’s on our squad that didn’t play a lot last year. We’re looking for them to grow, get better and pick up the slack that we lose when we lose Martavis.”
Why Bet on Washington?
QB Kirk Cousins had the NFL’s highest completion percentage last year and he was way better at home. The Washington defense will be better with the addition of Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman. Washington is banking on Norman to help solidify a secondary that veteran safety DeAngelo Hall contends is the most talented unit he’s ever been associated with. So far, Norman is drawing raves for his energy and work ethic. But there’s been some buzz about Norman getting occasionally toasted by DeSean Jackson, who is probably the NFL’s fastest receiver.
“I know people are getting hyped up about the one-on- ones, but DeSean beats everybody,” Blackmon said. “If you face DeSean with no pass-rush, no clock, no help, there’s going to be some issues. That’s nothing to worry about.”
There is some concern about rookie first-round receiver Josh Doctson as he could miss at least the next two weeks of camp. The Redskins say they’re being cautious with his Achilles, making sure it’s 100 percent so they don’t risk a worse injury. Doctson initially hurt his foot May 25 in the first organized team activity session so the last time he practiced in full was the rookie minicamp two weeks after the draft. He’s on the physically unable to perform list and focused on rehabbing his foot.
My Expert Pick
I often like taking home underdogs in the NFL and if this line grew I might, but at this number go Steelers in NFL betting.