After recovering from an injury that he suffered early last season, Pittsburgh Steelers are welcoming back Ben Roethlisberger. They are elated to have him back, after a turbulent season in terms of quarterback play, where they were forced to even start their 3rd stringer Devlin Hodges, on a couple of occasions. Players that will appreciate his presence the most are probably the ones that catch balls for a living. JuJu Smith-Schuster in the first place. He didn't have a season that would satisfy his high expectations in 2019, but I expect a bounce back from him in this one, considering the chemistry these two showed earlier.
On the other side, I believe that this defensive unit grew last year when the team had to rely on them. Front office pulled a couple of smart moves and made adjustments, drafting Devin Bush in the first round and traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick during the season, which has proven to be a slam dunk move, so far. Front seven with Cam Hayward in the middle and TJ Watt/Budd Dupree coming off the edges will be a handful for most of the opponents this year.
Speaking of the OLs that might struggle to contain Watt&Dupree duo... That list is probably starting with the Giants as soon as tonight. They were probably really glad about what they did to improve that group in the offseason. They drafted Andrew Thomas to create bookend protection with him and Solder. They brought Zeitler from Cleveland to pair him up with Hernandez in the middle and improve that horrible run blocking that Saquan Barkley had last year. But then Nate Solder decided to opt-out this year. Which forced rookie Thomas to protect Jones' blind spot from day one, while veteran journeyman Cameron Fleming will start on the right. It is definitely not a situation that they imagined being in when opening day comes.
With new coaching staff making some adjustments, we'll see if this unit can improve from last year. Blake Martinez, James Bradberry and Logan Ryan were nice veteran additions. Especially these two cornerbacks, after watching some horrific corner play from Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker last year. Both are gone now, for different reasons. Jenkins simply couldn't keep his performance up to his price tag, while Baker got involved in an incident during the offseason, that ultimately cost him a job and probably a future NFL career.
Giants vs Steelers betting tips
I was thinking about many different things here. Total at 45 seems to be a tad high IMHO. With Jason Garrett as a new OC, I believe that Giants will be looking to run their offense through Saquan Barkley. But I'm not sure if this is the matchup where they can successfully gain solid yardage on the ground and find some rhythm on offense through it. In the passing game, I don't expect much. Daniel Jones should be under pressure often, which will limit their success in the passing game.
Sterling Shepard over 48.5 receiving yards is another option. But it is wise to monitor the situation with Golden Tate's injury up until kickoff. If Tate is not able to go here, Shepard is going to see a decent share of targets. Engram will probably have a tough matchup against Minkah Fitzpatrick, which is why they'll move Shephard all over formation to get him away from Joe Haden and get a favorable matchup. Especially if they play from behind and abandon rushing attack in the second half, he should be able to beat this line.
But my play for tonight is Eric Ebron over 25.5 receiving yards. There were several reports from training camp that he looked really good and developed a solid chemistry with Big Ben. Logan Ryan is listed as a free safety, which is a bit concerning for this bet. But I believe they'll use him a ton at his natural position (nickelback), to help cover JuJu out of the slot. Big Ben likes to throw over the middle to his tight ends and with a lot of new pieces in the Giants defense, a miscommunication and Ebron catching a deep post over the middle is very possible. They have another good tight end in Vance McDonald, but I don't think they cancel each other out, but will be on the field at the same time a lot.