San Francisco 49ers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Two teams thinking post season meet on Monday Night Football as the San Francisco 49ers host the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers are -3 point favorites over the Steelers with an over/under point total set at 37.5.
The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises this season and are in position for a first round bye. The Niners have already clinched the NFC West and control their own destiny for at least the number two seed in the playoffs but the New Orleans Saints are right on their heels. Alex Smith has had a rebirth of sorts completing 61.7 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. Frank Gore has had another outstanding season averaging 4.5 yards per carry with 1,054 yards and six touchdowns and Kendall Hunter has proved to be a viable option backing Gore up. Michael Crabtree has 55 catches and Vernon Davis has 49 catches but there is a sharp drop off after those two. Defensively the 49ers have 32 sacks, 17 fumble recoveries, and 18 interceptions with a plus 21 turnover ratio while they allow 305.1 yards and a NFL best 14 points per game. NaVorro Bowman has 113 tackles, Patrick Willis has 93 tackles but he missed last game and is questionable for this one, and Carolos Rodgers and Dashon Goldson each have five interceptions. San Francisco closes out the season with road games at Seattle and St. Louis.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are tied for first place in the AFC North but they are on the wrong side of the tiebreaker having lost twice already to the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are dealing with injuries and a big suspension but this is a team that went to the Super Bowl just last season and they know how to get it done. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t practiced early this week and he is suffering from a high ankle sprain. Rashard Mendenhall is averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has eight touchdowns and Isaac Redman is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Mike Wallace has 62 catches and eight touchdowns, Antonio Brown has 55 catches, and Heath Miller has 43 catches. Defensively Pittsburgh has 30 sacks, eight fumble recoveries, and 10 interceptions with a minus seven turnover ratio and they allow 276.1 yards and 15.2 points per game. Ryan Clark has 86 tackles, Troy Polamalu has 76 tackles, and Lawrence Timmons has 70 tackles but the Steelers will be without James Harrison who is suspended for this one. Pittsburgh closes out their season with St. Louis and Cleveland.
San Francisco is 11-2-1 against the spread in their last 14 games overall, 6-1 against the spread following a loss, and 17-6-3 against the spread in their last 26 home games. Pittsburgh is 4-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games, and 3-8 against the spread following a win.
The total for this one has been set at 37.5 and even with the injuries and suspension defensively I expect a defensive game and for it to come in under the total.