Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) vs. Chicago Bears (0-1) Soldier Field, Chicago, Sunday September 20, 2009 4:15 PM ET CBS
By Jason Green of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Steelers -3/Bears +3
A couple of the most storied teams in the NFL play this Sunday, as the Pittsburgh Steelers head to the Windy City to play the Chicago Bears.
Both teams were involved in very close games in their opening game, but while the Steelers were able to come out with an 13-10 OT win over the Tennessee Titans the Bears fell to the Green Bay Packers 21-15.
Pittsburgh looked as if they had their game against the Titans in the bag
after Hines Ward caught a pass and took it almost to the house, but he was
stripped of the ball at the 4-yard line and fumbled and the Titans recovered
with only a minute left. It was the first fumble Ward had lost since the
2006 season. In OT the Steelers won the toss and Ben Roethlisberger
marched them downfield and Pittsburgh did not take any chances, as Jeff
Reed hit a game winning FG on 1st down for the win. The Steelers did not
cover the 6.5-point spread and since it was a low scoring game (23) the
game did not come close to the 36 point total.
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The Bears only lost to the Green Bay Packers by 6 points, but it was a costly victory, as Brian Urlacher was lost for the season with a wrist injury. Jay Cutler’s debut in a Bears’ uniform was far from stellar, as he had 4 INT’s in the game. The Packers rallied with 11 points in the 4th quarter even though their offense was not in sync in the game. The Packers covered the 4.5-point spread, but the total of 47 was not reached.
Even though Bears are only underdogs in this game by 3 points this game does not set up well for them. Both Cutler and RB Matt Forte (55 yards against Green Bay) struggled in the first game and they will be facing the stellar defense of the Steelers. Forte did have over 1,000 yards last season as a rookie, but he has not cracked the 100-yard barrier in the last 6 games and in that span he only has had 2 TD’s.
Speaking of helping the QB out, Pittsburgh’s RB Willie Parker has to pick up some yards against the Bears in order to take the pressure off Roethlisberger. In their win over the Titans last Thursday night Parker only had 19 yards on 13 carries and a whole the Steelers only rushed for 36 yards.
Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu was injured in the Tennessee game and he will not play in this game. That is good news for the Bears, as they will take any advantage they can get, especially facing the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Bears may need to win this game more, as in the NFC North the Packers play the Bengals and the Vikings play the lowly Lions, so it is not hard to imagine that both of those teams will be 2-0 after this weekend’s action.
The Bears’ secondary will have to step up in this game, as Roethlisberger was on fire against Tennessee passing for 363 yards even though he did have 2 INT’s. Even though the secondary is supposedly their weakest point they did not play that bad in the loss to Green Bay. They will have to play well in this game, especially if the front line of the Bears cannot get to Roethlisberger.
The key to this game may be the how the offensive line of the Bears performs. You can be sure that Steelers’ defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will try to confuse Cutler with his array of defensive schemes, so the line will have to give Cutler time to find his targets as well as open up holes for the rushing attack.
The Steelers are also listed at right around -145 on most moneylines, with the Bears getting +125 as home dogs.
Jason’s Pick: Which Cutler will show up in this game, the one that was solid for the Broncos last season torching the opposing secondary or the one that had 4 INT last week and did not look comfortable in the Bears’ offense? Urlacher is out and Cutler had a horrible game and coach Lovie Smith stated, “That’s two limp-wristed performances we could have done without.” Ouch. Cutler will not have 4 INT’s again, but the Steelers’ D will play solid, when do they not, and they will win this game and cover the spread.