|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NFLIt's an early intra-state rivals matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. The ball is scheduled to be kicked off at 7:30ET in Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love.
Pittsburgh had a fine season in 2011 posting a 12-4 record, good for second place in the AFC North due to the presence of the Baltimore Ravens. Each had the same won/lost record, but the Ravens were awarded the division off tiebreakers. The Ravens defeated the Steelers twice last year.
Once again this year, most prognosticators have Baltimore edging them out in the standings. Mike Tomlin returns to coach a team with a defense growing old by NFL standards. It is likely they will have seven players on "D" 31 years of age or older on opening day. Rashard Mendenhall and NT Casey Hampton are both returning from ACL injuries.
There will be two newcomers starting the game versus the Eagles on the "O" line for the Steelers. Their first two draft picks, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams should see plenty of time in their first NFL experience. Guard Willie Colin will not play due to injuries, nor will defensive lineman Cameron Heyword see any action.
Big Ben Roethlisberger is back at QB, but expect to see a lot of Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch in the preseason opener. RB Baron Batch is ready to go after missing his would be rookie season last year due to a bad knee. He will share carrying the ball with Isaac Redman Thursday.
Philadelphia finished the 2011 campaign with a disappointing 8-8 record and third place in the NFC East. Better things are expected of the 2012 unit if they can cut down on turnovers.
Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy will be back to lead the offense, but look to Trent Edwards, Mike Kafka and rookie Nick Coles to be throwing the ball Thursday. RB's Dion Lewis, Chris Polk and Bryce Brown should get alot of carries. Head Coach Andy Reid may return to the team for this game after the untimely death of his son last week.
Even in this early season warmup, this game is considered a "pick em" with both teams listed in the football odds at a -$110. The over/under is 35 total points, also on a $110/$100 moneyline.
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