Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh
Recommended Wager: PIT -7.0
Philadelphia Eagles: (Week 9 bye)
-WR Alshon Jeffery (foot/illness) was INACTIVE weeks 1 – 4. He’s OUT with a non COVID-19 related illness.
-WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) was injured week 3 and INACTIVE week 4 after not practicing all week. He returned to practice this week as limited, but he’s OUT.
-WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (calf) was INACTIVE week 4 after being limited/doubtful. He’ll return week 5.
-CB Avonte Maddox (unspecified) was injured week 3 and INACTIVE week 4. He’s OUT this week and has not practiced since the injury.
IR: WR Marquise Goodwin (opt out), WR Jalen Reagor (thumb), TE Dallas Goedert (ankle – short term), G Brandon Brooks (achilles), T Andre Dillard (biceps), T Jason Peters (toe), LG Issac Seumalo (knee — short term), DE Vinny Curry (hamstring), LB T.J. Edwards (hamstring), CB Trevor Williams (ribs)
Pittsburgh Steelers: (Week 4 bye)
-WR Diontae Johnson (concussion) was injured week 3. He has cleared concussion protocol and will return week 5.
IR: RT Zach Banner (season ending – ACL), G Stefen Wisnewski (pectoral)
Line watching: The line opened at 7 and more or less hasn’t budged. As of Saturday morning, it’s still at 7.
Carson Wentz is having one of those seasons where you know he’s better than his numbers indicate. Not just because we’ve seen Wentz play solid football before, but because he’s in the NFL and I don’t think it’s possible to be this bad. He’s dead last in PFF passing grades (43.5), has a sky high 7.29% turnover worthy play percentage while barely completing 60% of his passes and only gaining 5.8 yards per attempt. The Eagles offense as a whole are 31st in offensive DVOA, 30th in EPA/play, and 31st in PFF grades. Their offensive line has 4 starters on IR while the local hospital is considering renaming themselves after the Eagles receivers (I made that up). RB Miles Sandres, TE Zach Ertz (who is having a bad season for his standards), WR Greg Ward, and WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside project to be the top receivers for this one.
The strength of the team is the defense, which is 10th in Football Outsider’s DAVE ranking in 12th in EPA/play. Brandon Graham (15 pressures), Malik Jackson (14), and Fletcher Cox (13) is an incredibly strong pass rushing trio. Darius Slay is a very strong number 1 corner, while Jalen Mills and Nickell Robey-Coleman are solid for being a #2 and slot corner. The linebacking core is incredibly weak, as is the safety duo. That said, being strong at pass rush and corner is the pillars to a strong defense — so at least they’re good where it’s most important.
The Steelers come into this one fresh off of an unexpected week 4 bye. Their offense is probably better than their 18th rank in DVOA suggests, evident by the fact that they’re 9th in DAVE and 13th in EPA/play. Ben Roethlisberger is an old dude coming off of shoulder surgery, but he’s still a solid quarterback. He’s done a great job keeping the ball safe (only 1 pick, 1.67% turnover worthy play percentage), while completing 67% of his passes, good for 7.1 yards per attempt and a 70 PFF grade. Diontae Johnson (23 targets) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) have been a strong 1-2 punch at receiver, while rookie Chase Claypool has seen his snap count steadily increase as he continues to produce. James Connor is the workhorse back, gaining 5.6 yards per attempt and contributing as a receiver as well. The offensive line lost two starters to injury, but in general they’re a solid unit across the board and should make for a good matchup with the Eagles pass rush.
Much like the Eagles, the strength of the Steelers is their defense. They rank 3rd in DVOA, DAVE, PFF grades, and 4th in EPA/play. Their defensive line is just absurd — lead by early defensive player of the year candidate TJ Watt, who has 18 pressures and a 93.8 PFF grade. Bud Dupree (17 pressures) is also strong on the outside, while Stephon Tuitt (17) and Cameron Heyward (14) are strong rushers from the inside. Honestly, having four different players with double digit pressures through 3 games is just insane, but these are probably a bit exaggerated given their tendency to blitz. The line also isn’t limited to just pass rushing abilities– they’re number 1 in DVOA against the run. Their corners are Joe Haden, Steve Nelson, and Mike Hilton (nickel/slot), which isn’t the strongest group, but it’s been more than enough to get the job done given how quickly the pass rush gets to the QB. Minkah Fitzpatrick is supposed to be one of the better safeties in football, but he’s off to a rough start both in coverage and against the run.
That’s it for now, bitches.