The Pittsburgh Steelers will not have all of their offensive weapons at their disposal on Monday night as they kick off the 2016 NFL season against the Washington Redskins, but they have one of the more capable people in the league to direct the attack. Ben Roethlisberger is coming off a season in which he threw for more yards per game than at any time in his career, and he has the most prolific receiver in the NFL catching passes for him. With what they hope is an improved defense, they take on the Washington Redskins in the first half of the Monday night doubleheader, kicking off at 7:10 PM ET at FedEx field in Landover, MD. BetAnySports customers can take advantage of the opportunity to place wagers even after the opening kickoff, in real time, through the state-of-the-art software available from Live Betting Ultra.
The Steelers were able to sneak into the playoffs last season, and then, miraculously, they got by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first-round playoff game, before falling to the Denver Broncos. They had to deal with a suspension of levy on Bell at the season’s outset, but DeAngelo Williams filled in nicely, and went on to rush for 907 yards and also catch 40 passes. They are facing a similar situation this season, as Bell will be suspended for the first three games, but this time they will be without their second-leading receiver from last season. Martavis Bryant, who caught 50 passes from Roethlisberger last season, with six touchdowns, will be suspended for the entire year.
The Redskins were the NFC East champions with a 9-7 record, and they seem to have found themselves a quarterback to move forward with. Kirk Cousins had 29 touchdowns, with only 11 interceptions, and he really flourished under the West Coast system installed by coach Jay Gruden.
In the Monday night NFL betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Steelers are favored on the road:
Roethlisberger had 21 touchdowns and 16 interceptions – not really the best ratio in the world, but he did throw for 8.4 yards per attempt, and as we mentioned, is per-game yardage was the highest of his career. This season he is going to need something extra from Markus Wheaton, who averaged 17 yards per reception. And once again, Williams, the veteran, is going to have to shoulder much of the rushing load.
The Pittsburgh defense is under the leadership of coordinator Keith Butler for its second year, and finds itself having to improved by leaps and bounds in the secondary. Only two teams in the NFL gave up more yardage than they did through the air. For the Steelers, it’s kind of the “boom or bust” situation, as they love to blitz; in fact, their linebackers picked up 25 sacks last season. They drafted cornerback Artie Burns in the first round, but they may need more help than that.
BetAnySports patrons may not realize this, but Cousins led the league in completion percentage (69.5% those paren, and this would seem to justify Gruden’s decision to make him the quarterback and essentially bench Robert Griffin to the entire season.
The Redskins also had problems in their secondary last season, giving up 30 touchdowns through the air and intercepting only 11 passes. They made a major pick up in the off-season by signing Josh Norman, one of a handful of “shutdown” corners in the league. And they are certainly hoping that they can improve themselves in stopping the run, as they gave up 4.8 yards per carry.
Washington was pretty good getting the points last season, covering the last five times it was an underdog. If Norman can slow down Antonio Brown – a tall order, since Brown caught 136 passes last year – they have a chance for the straight up victory.
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