2015 Season NFL Football Past Picks

August 09, 2015

09

Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota

Sunday 08/09 08:05 PM Eastern

0.5 unit on Pittsburgh +4 (-110) (risk 0.5 to return 0.95)  RESULT: loss

0.5 unit on Game Total OVER 34 -110 (risk 0.5 to return 0.95)  RESULT: loss

The preseason can be a good time to back underdogs, particulary in weeks one and four when so little is at stake. Here we find Pittsburgh as a dog despite winning a division title in 2014. That's because Minnesota went 4-0 last August under Mike Zimmer. However, Zimmer was a rookie head coach then and rookie coaches often want to show the fans and their new bosses that they hired the right man for the job. Zimmer has nothing to prove in 2015, coming off a decent inaugural season. This is still a rebuilding Vikings squad, one that has a young QB rotation and a defense ranked #25 against the run (121.4 yards per game). They face a talented and deep Steelers roster, one with a good QB rotation in Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones and Taj Boyd. Jones has shown improvement as the Steelers #3 QB, making the kind of progress over the past several practices in training camp that generally seemed to elude him over his first two seasons. A big reason is that he is playing with the big boys, throwing to targets such as Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant, plus they add speedy rookie WR Sammie Coates (Auburn). This offense ranked #2 in the NFL in passing (301.6 ypg), #16 in rushing and #7 in points (27.3 points per game). Coach Mike Tomlin is 20-13 in preseason with all this talent, partly because he demands physical play even in August when many opponents are going through the motions to try to stay healthy. Even in practice the last week he was pleased with the physical play. This is a deep, talented young linebacking corps and the secondary has a slew of players fighting for roster spots with 26-year-old CB Cortez Allen and Mike Mitchell, plus rookies Senquez Golson (second round), Doran Grant and Gerod Holliman. Pittsburgh is on a 5-1 spread run and this shapes up as a good matchup for them in a high-scoring tilt. Take the Steelers and the OVER. 



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