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It will be fun to watch a healthy Big Ben back on the field, and he and his Steelers should be able to easily cover the 6 points the Giants have been given by oddsmakers.
Steelers -6 (-110)
|Steelers vs Giants Information|
|What||Pittsburgh Steelers vs New York Giants|
|Where||MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ|
|When||Monday, September 14, 2020; 7:10 PM ET|
|How to watch||Watch on ESPN+ here!|
Ben Roethlisberger returns to his rightful place under center in Pittsburgh for the Steelers, though he will have to first work out all the rust that comes from not playing NFL level football for almost a season due to his rehab from a serious elbow injury and subsequent surgery.
The Giants are young, and they have a new head coach, so it will be some kind of miracle if they can pull it together at home and take care of these fairly polished Steelers in Week 1.
This cross-conference matchup between the Steelers and Giants hasn’t happened since December of 2016, when Pittsburgh took care of New York at Three Rivers, 24-14.
After sitting out most of the 2019 season with a non-contact injury to the elbow of his throwing arm, Steelers franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will return with a clean bill of health, ready to make the difference that was lacking in Pittsburgh last season.
The talent is there on both sides of the ball, with star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner both ready to help Big Ben thrive from under center, and linebackers Devin Bush Jr. and T.J Watt both prepared to do whatever it takes to get him back out on the field.
The main problem with Roethlisberger is his age – he turned 38 years old in March – which could play a huge factor in whether his elbow will stay durable, though the 2x Super Bowl Champ and 6x Pro Bowler have been around long enough to use that to his full advantage.
After a horribly disappointing 4-12 season in 2019, head coach Pat Shurmur was fired and a new leader was brought in, Joe Judge, who won three Super Bowl Championships as the Special Teams Coordinator and Wide Receivers coach of the New England Patriots since 2015.
Can a young coach like Judge (38), lead a young quarterback like Daniel Jones (23) and a young running back like Saquon Barkley (23) and 51 other youngsters to more than four wins in his first season?
That will be more evident when we see how they measure up against a formidable Steelers team from the comfort of their MetLife home stadium without the energy of a large crowd.
Somehow the Steelers snagged free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins after two games into last season, and the 6’ 1” 207 pound-force of nature responded by posting the longest interception return in the league, a 96-yard pick that led to a touchdown in Week 9.
Fitzpatrick hurts offenses in many ways, both against the pass and the run, last year recording a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, 5 interceptions, 9 passes defended, and 57 combined tackles, with 1 of those for a loss.
This will be Fitzpatrick’s third NFL season, so it’s time for him to become a team leader in Pittsburgh, and with other young playmakers lining up with him on defense like CB Joe Haden and LB Devin Bush Jr., this team could use some on-field leadership from their new safety.
One of the main problems with the Giants’ offense last season was how often rookie quarterback Daniel Jones found himself scrambling around the backfield soon after the snap.
Hopefully, all that ends now that the New York front office decided to use their first pick in the most recent draft (fourth overall) to select the best true left tackle available, former Georgia playmaker Andrew Thomas, hoping he can come in and immediately protect Jones’ vulnerable blind side.
Thomas will have to adjust to blocking NFL caliber defensive ends, but the three-year college starter has the type of natural tools at his disposal (strength, speed, quick feet) that should make him a contributor in New York for many seasons to come.
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