Steelers +3.5 at Eagles
Last meeting: The Steelers trashed then-unbeaten Philadelphia in Week 9 of the 2004 season 27-3 in Heinz Field, sparking what proved to be the beginning of the end of the relationship of Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens, as the receiver was filmed on the sideline yelling at the quarterback during the game.
Ben's shoulder continues to be the source of as much media speculation as Sarah Palin inbox. He didn't look to have any difficulty winging passes into the wind last week against Cleveland, so unless the injury was aggravated from the cheap shot by Shaun Rogers, I'm not sure why Ben would be in any worse shape this week.
Odd again that the Steelers face a team coming off a loss to Dallas for the second week in a row. Like the Browns, the Cowboys had little difficulty carving up the Eagles through the air. Jason Witten's big performance in particular bespeaks opportunities for Heath Miller to be a factor on Sunday.
I'd expect Philly to load up against the run, meaning I don't know if you can expect a repeat of Willie's Week 1 performance, but last week illustrated that FWP has improved dramatcally at being able to grind yards out in difficult conditions. The greatest concern centers on how much the Steelers can disrupt McNabb and Westbrook. If not for Brian's late fumble in Dallas, Philly probably takes that game. Nevertheless, it was as good a performance as Donovan has had in a big game in a while.
The Steelers had trouble getting pressure on Derek Anderson, even excusing the Browns' skilled line and the max protect schemes, but the same can't happen against McNabb. Granted, even with goal line ball-dropping DeSean Jackson showing some flashes of being explosive, the Eagles receivers aren't the greatest unit in the league. Still, they're going to get opportunities to go deep in Pittsburgh can't put pressure on McNabb. Drops like the ones the Browns made last week aren't going to manifest themselves in every game.