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Steelers will be Missing Pieces against the Redskins

The Pittsburgh Steelers made the playoffs last season off a Wild Card berth, but this year the football betting odds have pegged them as the favorites in the AFC North. The Steelers finished the 2015 season with a 10-6 record which placed them 2nd in the division. Once in the playoffs Pittsburgh overcame the Bengals – who won the AFC North last year – in the Wild Card round before losing to the Denver Broncos. Losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champions isn’t the worst way to end the season and the Steelers have enough talent that many critics consider them to be one of this year’s title contenders. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the team Pittsburgh faces in their season opener, the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins are coming into the 2016 as the reigning NFC East Champions. However, they claimed the East with a 9-7 record, which just goes to show how weak the competition was in the division last season. Being the reigning champ isn’t enough to convince the top sportsbooks of the Redskins future success however. The New York Giants are listed as this year’s favorite in the East with +185 but the Redskins are still pegged as the second favorites with +235. The Cowboys are close behind the Redskins – despite Romo’s preseason injury – with +245 odds. Washington will be entering the third year under the Jay Gruden era and will be looking to build on last year’s success. In their way stand the Steelers who have their own agenda to accomplish; let’s see what the football betting odds have to say about this contest.

Week 1 Monday the 12th of September

Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (-110) 50 (-110) -160
Washington Redskins +3 (-110) 50 (-110) +140

The Steelers are pegged as the favorites despite already having to battle both suspensions and injuries. They will be without Kevin Anderson and Bud Dupree, both of whom are linebackers and both of whom are on injured reserve. Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers star runningback, will be serving the first of his three game suspension come Monday. Martavis Bryant’s suspension on the other hand, requires him to sit out the entire year. Bryant, who adds depth to the Steelers receiving core, and Bell both received their sentences for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Unlike their opponent the Redskins will be fully loaded against the Steelers, only missing linebacker Steven Daniels and offensive tackle Kevin Bowen both of whom are on IR.

This game could turn out to be a shootout and the outcome will be determined by the play at quarterback. The Steelers obviously have the advantage due to Roethlisberger being a Super Bowl winning quarterback, as well as the fact that Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown make up one of the best quarterback-receiver tandems in the league. The Steelers may not have Bell in the backfield but DeAngelo Williams should be enough to pick up the slack. Kirk Cousins will be playing opposite Roethlisberger. Cousins came out of nowhere in 2015 and racked up over 4,100 yards with 29 touchdowns earning 101.6 quarterback rating. To be fair Cousins has it easy considering he’s throwing to some of the best receivers in the league; DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. It will be interesting to see if experience can beat skill come Monday but either way this is one matchup football betting fans won’t want to miss.