The battle of Pennsylvania is set to occur in week five of the NFL season as the Philadelphia Eagles head to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles (3-1) come into the game with momentum behind them following their 19-17 victory over their division rival New York Giants in week four while the Steelers (1-2) attempt to come off of their bye week and get back to a .500 record. Entering the game both teams defensive units have been solid this season but they are both struggling on offense for totally different reasons.
The Eagles defense is ranked sixth in the NFL in offensive yards allowed per game (298.3), seventh in passing yards allowed per game (206.8), 12th in rushing yards per game (91.5) and tied for 11th in points allowed per game (20.8). The Steelers defense is ranked fifth in the NFL in offensive yards allowed per game (291.3) and third in passing yards allowed per game (190.3), but are allowing 25 points per game which is 21st in the league.
The Eagles offense is racking yardage left and right at will (417.8 yards per game, 5th in NFL) but they are having problems keeping control of the the ball (nine turnovers this year) and getting the ball into the endzone (16.5 points scored per game, 30th in NFL). In fact even though Philadelphia is 3-1 they have been outscored by their opponents by a total of 17 points and have won their three games this season by a total of just four points. If Michael Vick and company can figure out a way to hold on to the football and also score more points then they should be able to get another victory in this contest.
The Steelers will be welcoming back safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison to the line up after they both missed extensive time this season due to recovering from injuries. Harrison and Polamalu are arguably the Steelers top two defensive players and with themm back it could be a nightmare for Vick if he continues to turn the ball over like its fashionable. The Steelers are going to have to get Ben Roethlisberger some help on offense, he’s doing a great job (82-120 for 904 yards, 8 TD and an INT) but the running game is not. Pittsburgh is averaging just 65 rushing yards per game which is 30th in the league and if they don’t get more production from the running game then Big Ben will continue to be fare game for pass rushers.
The Eagles could either be a really good team that knows how to pull out any victory or just a poorly disciplined team that has gotten luck so far this season, either way the truth will come out this weekend. Coming off of their bye week I think the Steelers will just be too tough to beat so with that being said I like Pittsburgh to win this one 24-17.