RC: This line has slowly bled out from PIT -3.0 down to now a pick 'em. What shocking event takes place...since Week 3 is the week of 'what the heck?' outcomes. Is the shock that happens..."I can't believe Fitz threw for 400+ yards again and TM is 3-0" or "Steelers overcome turmoil-from-within sentiment and right the ship by blasting the Bucs at Tampa"? Steelers down two key OLs tonight it looks like.
Katz: The NFL doesn't make sense. For every narrative or reverse narrative I got correct (Redskins over Packers, Lions over Patriots), there were others that went wronger than thinking the Vikings Bills would be a blowout (what's that? Oh it was! So I was correct then! Got it). The problem with this game is I just want to fade conventional wisdom here, but I don't know what the conventional wisdom is. Are people mostly thinking the Steelers are bad and that Fitzmagic is here to say so the Bucs will win this at home? If so, give me Pitt. Are people not buying the Bucs as legit and think the same old good Steelers will appear tonight? If so, give me TB. I have to look a little more into this before making a call.
Rabbitt: Did I get one game right this week? It sure feels like I didn't. I love Pit here... because I just can't believe that the bucs are actually a thing. That should mean the Bucs are the right call.
Savage: Here's an interesting way of looking at this... what would the records of these two teams be if they'd swapped schedules? Would Fitzmagic be a thing today if he had to play against this revamped Browns defense in a rainstorm and then go toe-to-toe with St. Patrick Mahomes? Does anyone doubt that the Steelers could have put 48 pts on the Saints defense and then won a home game against Philly? So much of the narrative at this time of the year is dependent on who you play.
The Bucs are more competitive than any of us thought they would be, but I think part of their success is due to the fact that the Saints and Eagles are not quite the elite teams they were projected to be, at least not right now. Another part of success is connecting on big plays, and I don't expect that to continue either. Just consider that they had two 75 yard TD's last week and still only scored 27 points. All the Eagles had to do was push O.J. Howard out of bounds and its a much different game.
I think the Steelers are pretty much fine, they're the same 10-ish win team we all expected them to be. Their defense might not be very good, but they can still score. I usually don't like betting them on the road, but I'll do it when I'm getting this much value - the line would have been something like Steelers -4.5 a few weeks ago.
RC: This to me is so '2017' when the Steelers were falling apart after Jacksonville spanked them, and they headed to undefeated/greatest team ever Kansas City -- and that was going to end the Steelers. Pittsburgh punched them in the mouth and then won like 8-9 in a row. Tampa Bay feels like the perfect set up for them to do that to in 2018, to turn the season back upward.
It's a great point, if they flipped schedule...TB might 1-1, probably 0-2 and the Steelers would have Ben with two 400+ yard games and wearing funny clothes. I can't wait to hear Booger, ChatBot5000 and Jason Wooden's take on Fitzpatrick's press conference get up.
The Best Bet of the night: Over/under on the the amount of times 'FitzMagic' is uttered on ESPN between 6-8:2pmET...+/-- a thousand (take the over). And the person saying it will chuckle like they made a real funny every time.
*The group picked PIT 4-1 vote at -1.5 PIT on Friday.
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