2002 Season NFL Football Past Picks
December 08, 2002
This pick was released to clients on August 13, 2012 at 3:54PM ET.
Houston at Pittsburgh
Sunday 12/08 01:00 PM Eastern
4 units on Houston +13.5 (-110) (risk 4 to return 7.64) RESULT: WIN
Too many points.
After two great games, Kordell Stewart gets the bench. Right call? Not in my book. Momentum is too rare and too precious in the NFL and doing something to upset that is a mistake in my book. We have seen it with St. Louis who has lost two straight after switching QBs following a six game winning streak.
Does Stewart’s performance tell us anything about Maddox? You bet! Maddox has done a superb job but I believe that there are a couple of other very important factors that also account for Pittsburgh’s turnaround and recent success.
I always had a hunch that the rest of the Steeler team picked things up right around the time Stewart was benched in week 5. I think this coincidence made Maddox look like more of a star than he really is. The Steeler Defense shaved 6 points per game (from 26.3 to 20.5) off their average since Maddox started winning in week 6. Will Pittsburgh’s defense be able to continue the improved showing? I think they will struggle to get up for this game and they are showing signs of relaxing again, giving up 27.5 points per game over the last four.
So, Maddox is doing very well… but he isn’t the save-all that many people think. And, he is now in a very different situation coming in with high expectations and the pressure associated with that along with the fear of getting hit again.
Also, the Steelers have gotten pretty darn lucky over the last eight games. They are +7 in turnovers during that stretch versus -9 in their first four games. If things return to normal and that luck runs out, they will really struggle to win by two touchdowns.
Houston, on the other hand has a solid defense. They are 10th in the league in points allowed. Their strength (5th in the league in passing defense) matches up well with Pittsburgh’s strength (6th in the league in passing offense).
Houston is losing by an average of 10 points per game and I think they will be able to keep this under two touchdowns.
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