Friday, October 9, 2009

Week 5 Pick: Blowout

I wish I was allowing myself to pick Giants games this year, as the 15 1/2 point spread is reeeeally tempting for my blowout pick. Also, the Eagles/Bucs spread of 15 points was enticing, but I found the line too high, therefore a little too easy. So my Blowout pick for Week 5 is:

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Detroit Lions

Over/Under: 44
Line: Steelers by 10 1/2

My Thoughts:
Yeah, it's not a huge stretch to call this one a blowout, but I don't think it's as much of a lock as the above-mentioned two. These aren't last year's Lions, as evidenced by that "1" in their win column. However, they are likely to be without Matt Stafford for this game, which completely torpedoes their chances of an actual upset. Detroit's offense isn't a disaster, even with Daunte Culpepper throwing the ball. They can run reasonably well, and have a respectable passing attack. All those statements mean nothing, though, in the face of a very good and very angry Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The Steelers D is a proud group that has not performed up to their own standards yet this year. You can bet they're looking at this Detroit game as a chance to get back to form. I expect they will.

The real weakness on this Lions team, in my opinion, is a porous defense that (much like last year) struggles against the run and is susceptible in the secondary. Louis Delmas will some day be a star Safety in this league, but asking that rookie to hold up against Pittsburgh's explosive vertical offense just isn't fair. The Lions have talented linebackers, and should thus be able to contain Rashard Mendenhall (or whoever Mike Tomlin hands the ball to). That's all well and good until you remember that this iteration of the Pittsburgh Steelers is not a team that lives and dies by their run game. Ben Roethelsberger likes to air the ball out, and has a number of capable receivers who will be a nightmare match up for the Detroit corners.

I think Detroit will put up a fight in this game, especially in a suddenly re-energized Ford Field. However, their defense will fail them spectacularly, giving up a lot of early points. I think Detroit's defense will stiffen as the game goes on, but it will be too late. A garbage time touchdown drive makes this game look closer than it really was.

Steelers 38
Lions 20

Last week: 3-1 straight up, 1-3 against the spread (ouch)
Overall: 14-1 straight up, 11-4 against the spread (still pretty good, not awesome though)

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