Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts (+10.5, 39.5)
THE STORY: Peyton Manning's neck injury could turn out to be painful for more than the Indianapolis Colts. The executives at NBC Sports who were probably salivating at the prospect of Sunday night's matchup between Indianapolis and the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers could be spitting mad at the thought of the prime-time television ratings if the downtrodden Colts are unable to be competitive for a third straight week. Indy will be looking to avoid starting the season 0-3 for the first time since Manning’s rookie season, but its struggling offense will face a stiff challenge against a Pittsburgh defense that is coming off a shutout of Seattle last week.
TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET
LINE MOVES: The Steelers opened at -11 and were bet down to -10.5. The total was posted at 38.5 and has been bet up as high as 39.5 points.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-1, 1-1 ATS): After absorbing a beating from Baltimore in its season opener, Pittsburgh found the perfect tonic to remedy its woes against the offensively challenged Seahawks. The result was a predictable 24-0 romp over the league’s lowest-scoring team. The Steelers registered five sacks and limited Seattle to 164 total yards and only eight first downs. Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman each ran for a touchdown and combined for 115 yards rushing as Pittsburgh held the ball for 38.5 minutes. QB Ben Roethlisberger bounced back from a rocky opener to complete 22 of 30 for 298 yards and one TD.
ABOUT THE COLTS (0-2, 0-2 ATS): Indianapolis has been as bad – if not worse – as feared in the absence of Manning, the league’s only four-time MVP. The Colts were steamrolled at Houston 34-7 in their season opener and weren’t much better in a 27-19 home loss to Cleveland last week. In Kerry Collins’ second start, Indy could not punch the ball into the end zone until the final 24 seconds. Collins, who came out of retirement to replace Manning, committed two costly four-quarter turnovers and completed only 50 percent of his passes (19 of 38, 191 yards) against a defense that doesn’t conjure up memories of the ’85 Bears.
1. Steelers WR Mike Wallace has back-to-back 100-yard games, extending his streak to five in the regular season dating to Dec. 19, 2010. He has eight receptions in each of the first two games.
2. The Colts have managed to put up only 26 points in their first two games. With Manning under center, they surpassed that total in one game 10 times in each of the last two seasons.
3. Pittsburgh has won seven of the last nine regular-season matchups with Indy, but the Colts have won the last two at home.
- Steelers are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games as favorites of 10.5 or greater.
- Colts are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as underdogs of 10.5 or greater.
- Over is 5-1 in Steelers last six games as road favorites.
- Under is 4-1 in Colts last five games as home underdogs.
PREDICTION: Steelers 27, Colts 13. Pride goeth before the fall. Indy rides the emotion of a prime-time home game to hang tough for a while before Pittsburgh’s defense finally takes control of the game.