Sunday Night NFL: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-2 for the first time in 11 years and their season will essentially be over if they lose at home on Sunday night against the 2-0 Bears. With an offense that’s scored 19 points and rushed for 75 yards, and a defense that’s yet to record a takeaway, Pittsburgh doesn’t appear to have an easy solution to its struggles. The winless record is bad enough but Pittsburgh has looked sloppy, out of sync and overmatched the first two weeks of 2013. They lost in the opener 16-9 at home against the Tennessee Titans, a team that finished 6-10 last season, and followed that up with a 20-10 loss to the Bengals last week, a game that wasnâ??t as close as the final score indicates. <p>

The Steelers have turned the ball over four times through two games â?? two interceptions, two fumbles â?? and the defense hasnâ??t forced a single turnover. The clubâ??s -4 ratio is second worst in the league. Through two weeks of the regular season the Bearsâ?? offense (No. 14) actually outranks the defense (No. 17), a feat the offense was unable to accomplish during the majority of the Lovie Smith era. The Bears are still on the plus side of their turnover ratio (+1, good for 11th in the NFL) thanks to the defense, but the unit ranks a pedestrian No. 14 in rushing defense and No. 17 in passing defense, despite the clubâ??s 2-0 record to begin the season. Sunday nightâ??s game could present the Bears with an opportunity to get back on track defensively. The Steelers have averaged a woeful 9.5 points per game — fewer than all but two teams in the league — and rank second-to-last in the league in total offense and rushing offense. Pittsburgh is also converting only 28 percent of its third-down chances. In the second year under offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Ben Roethlisberger has completed 58.6 percent of his passes. He’s thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions while being sacked seven times. Only Cleveland (16) and Jacksonville (11) have scored fewer points, and the backfield foursome of Felix Jones, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer has rushed for 70 yards on 27 attempts. <p>

The Steelers could get a boost by the possible return of Roethlisberger’s favorite target, tight end Heath Miller, who is just about ready after tearing his ACL late in the 2012 season. Rookie running Le’Veon Bell remains out with a foot injury, however. The Steelers have rushed for fewer than 100 yards in eight consecutive games, the franchise’s longest streak since 1935. Chicago leads its all-time series with the Steelers, which dates back to 1934, with a 20-7-1 mark. The rivalry has been much more evenly contested in the modern-day NFL, though, with the teams splitting 10 meetings since 1971. This is only the Bears’ second trip to Heinz Field and just the fourth meeting between these two teams since 1998. Jay Cutler is 2-0 against the Steelers in his career and will be aiming for his third straight game with a passer rating over 100.0 against them. <p>

QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is 15-1 at home vs. NFC w/ 22 TD passes vs. 8 INTs & 95.7 ratingâ?¦RB JONATHAN DWYER averages 5 yards per carry vs. NFCâ?¦WR ANTONIO BROWN had 8 rec. for 76 yards w/ TD in last game vs. NFC. WR EMMANUEL SANDERS had team-high 78 rec. yards last week. WR JERRICHO COTCHERY (398) needs 2 rec. to reach 400 career. WR DEREK MOYE posted 1st career TD vs. Cinâ?¦LB LAMARR WOODLEY (53) needs 1 sack to surpass GREG LLOYD (53.5) for 5th-most by Steeler since â??82. LB LAWRENCE TIMMONS aims for 3rd game in row w/ sack vs. NFCâ?¦S RYAN CLARK leads team with 20 tackles in â??13. WAGERWEB TRENDS: Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game. Bears are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. win. Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss. Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss. Steelers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 home games. Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 3.

Written by WagerWeb for

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