Washington Redskins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
One team trying to forget a horrible 2010 and another trying to get back to the Super Bowl meet in their first preseason game of the season as the Washington Redskins host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday. The Steelers are -1.5 favorites over the Redskins with an over/under point total set at 33.
The Washington Redskins simply weren’t a god team in 2010 and while it won’t take much to be better than they were, it still may be a reach for this team. The Redskins struggled on both sides of the ball last season and QB was a big reason why the offense had issues but the Redskins have done nothing to upgrade the position. Rex Grossman and John Beck battle it out for the starting spot and these are two guys who couldn’t start on other teams who had QB issues as well with the third QB being Kellen Clemens who has had his chances and has never shown that he is NFL material so it is likely Ben Chappell Marc Verica, two undrafted rookies, should get looks to at least make the team. At Running Back Clinton Portis is gone so it’s Ryan Torian, newly acquired Tim Hightower who has skills but fumbles plenty, Roy Helu from Nebraska, and Keiland Williams who played some last year but look for Shaun Draughn to impress some people as well as James Davis. Washington has some decent Wide Receivers in veteran Santana Moss, newly added Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong, and rookie draft pick Leonard Hankerson but the problem is who is going to get them the ball. Chris Cooley is the H-back/Tight End while Fred Davis backs him up and should see action with Cooley banged up. The Skins have been building their defense seemingly forever but they were horrible ont hat side of the ball last season as well ranking 31st against the pass and 26th against the run, not a good combination. Rookie Ryan Kerrigan should help players like Rocky McIntosh and Adam Carriker simply have to play better.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be trying to avoid the curse of the Super Bowl loser this season as more often than not the loser of the Super Bowl fails to make the playoffs the following year. It won’t be tough for Head Coach Mike Tomlin to motivate his proud bunch as despite digging themselves a hole in Cowboys Stadium they still nearly emerged as Super Bowl Champs. Pittsburgh returns a ton from last season’s team including QB Ben Roethlisberger who is putting up big passing numbers, something he didn’t do earlier in his career and he has more than capable backups in veteran Byron Leftwich and the very athletic Dennis Dixon. At Running back Rashard Mendenhall had a monster year but unfortunately he will be remembered for his fumble when it appeared Pittsburgh was driving for the go ahead score in Dallas against the Packers. Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman also return in the backfield and look for Jonathan Dwyer to make a push to move up the pecking order and we should also see undrafted rookie John Clay who just seems like a natural fit for this team. Mike Wallace and Hines Ward both return at Wide Receiver as do Emmanuel Sanders, Arnaz Battle, and Limas Sweed though we should some rookies in the mix as well but this is going to be a tough roster to make on both sides of the ball. Defensively I called the Steelers linebacking unit last season one of the best in the history of the game and they ended up playing like it but they have to be a bit bitter about how it all ended when their defense simply couldn’t stop the Packers’ offense in the first half of the Super Bowl. Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison played huge and we have to wonder what might have been if Aaron Smith would have been ready to go. If there is a weakness defensively it’s in the secondary which was picked apart by Aaron Rodgers.
Washington was 2-2 a year ago in preseason while Pittsburgh was 3-1 but even disregarding this, the match up of the Steelers defense against the Washington offense no matter what unit is absolutely ugly as Washington simply doesn’t have a QB on the roster who can compete against the Pittsburgh defensive unit. I’m taking Pittsburgh minus the 1.5.
Pittsburgh Steelers -1.5 Washington Redskins