Monday Night Football: Washington @ Pittsburgh.

Washington and Pittsburgh don’t really play each other too often at all. In fact, their last game against each other was back at Washington in 2016. The Football team finished 8-7 that year, while the Steelers finished their season 11-5 and lost in the conference championship to the Pats. In that year’s matchup the Steelers demolished Washington 38-16, and have won every matchup against since 2004. While Washington leads the series all time at 42-33-3, they definitely aren’t the same team they had been in the past.

Two of Washington’s best players this year are both rookies. Antonio Gibson is having a spectacular season and Chase Young is atop the best young D-Linemen in the NFL. While these too have been absolutely playing lights out, there team unfortunately is sitting at a record of 4-7. The Steelers, who have been running the table this season are sitting at 11-0, just taking down the COVID riddled Ravens. Big Ben and TJ Watt have been strutting their stuff and the rookie Chase Claypool has been absolutely phenomenal.

Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) in action during an NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, October 11, 2020 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)

Both the Football Team and the Steelers have had great defenses this year and are both ranked in the top 10 in NFL at #2 (Steelers) and #7 (Football team). Pittsburgh and Washington are also both in the top 3 of Sacks per game, Washington at #3 and Pittsburgh at #1. Although their defensive play has been great, neither team has really found their groove on offense. Pittsburgh is currently ranked 16th overall in offensive efficiency and Washington is ranked 30th. Washington has been unable to beat a team this season that was ranked top 20 in either offense or defense.

The big difference between these teams besides offensive efficiency is turnover differential. Pittsburgh is sitting atop the rankings at +12 with 23 takeaways and 11 giveaways. Washington, despite their stellar defense, is sitting in 26th, with 13 takeaways but 18 giveaways. Washington has 9 fumbles and interceptions thrown. If they want to be able to beat good teams like Pittsburgh, they CANNOT turn over the ball. Their weakest position right now is QB, which accounts for 12 of their turnovers. Hopefully this offseason they either trade their pick for a QB upgrade or try to get one in the draft. Trey Lance looks like he would be right up their alley, but its hard to know how rookie QB’s are going to turn out. I personally would trade the pick for a Stafford or Prescott.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) celebrates a touchdown against the New York Giants during an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

For Pittsburgh, they are pretty great all around. They have defensive superstars like Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt. Offensive superstars like Juju Smith-Schuster, Ben Roethlisberger and rookie sensation Chase Claypool. Mike Tomlin is a phenomenal coach and finally has all the pieces he needs to take it all the way back to the Superbowl. Teams like Washington aren’t really considered a threat to their season, but must be taken seriously if they want to stay undefeated.

The spread is currently sitting at -9.5 Pittsburgh and might move up to -10 as the day gets closer. Lines for over and under haven’t been made yet but should be up soon. I think it’s a safe bet to take the Steelers in this game all round.  They should cover points and probably make it a 1-2 score game. They’ve beaten Washington pretty soundly in their last 4 meeting and they should continue to do so heading into this Monday. If there’s anything to watch out for it will be Antonio Gibson and Terry Mclaurin. If Washington has any chance at all to be competitive in this match it will be because of these two players. The defensive line is going to have a hard time getting to Big Ben, so they are going to need to bring it on offense to beat this team.

See y’all here next week for the Patriots/Rams game on Thursday. We are currently sitting 2-1 in predictions, hopefully we advance to 3-1 after this week!