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Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Preview

Written by:
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Published on:
Dec/23/2010
Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Preview

This Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers betting preview is courtesy of Sportsbook.com, where the line was Pittsburgh -14 and the total 37.

Pittsburgh tries to move closer to a division title and playoff bye when it hosts 2-12 Carolina on Thursday night. The 10-4 Steelers will achieve both of these goals if they win their final two games. Safety Troy Polamalu will miss his second straight game due to a strained right Achilles’ tendon. TE Heath Miller is expected to suit up after being out for two games with post-concussion symptoms.

Polamalu is the Pittsburgh’s best player on defense and maybe the best player on the entire team, and the Steelers have struggled when he’s on the sidelines. Over the past two seasons, the Steelers are 14-4, allowing 14.8 PPG and forcing 41 turnovers when Polamalu plays. Without the All-Pro safety, Pittsburgh is 5-7, allowing 23.1 PPG and forcing 11 turnovers. But even with injuries to Polamalu and run-stopping DE Aaron Smith (triceps), the Steelers still rank third in the NFL in total defense (292 YPG) and first in stuffing the run (63 YPG).

 

They should have little problem stopping a Carolina offense ranked dead last in the NFL in scoring (13.1 PPG), total offense (266 YPG) and passing offense (149 YPG). Rookie QB Jimmy Clausen is the lowest-rated passer in the NFL (59.1 QB rating) with a 52.7% completion rate, 5.4 yards per attempt, two touchdowns and seven interceptions. For the Panthers to have any chance to keep this game close, RB Jonathan Stewart will have to find holes in Pittsburgh’s top-ranked rush defense. Stewart has been terrific in his past four games, rushing for 460 yards on 78 carries (5.9 YPC).

Pittsburgh has had its own problems offensively, with just four offensive touchdowns in its past four games. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown only two TD in these games, but he is moving the football with 255 passing YPG over this stretch. RB Rashard Mendenhall had his fourth 100-yard rushing game in last week’s loss to the Jets, gaining exactly 100 yards on 17 carries (5.9 YPC).

Majority of the players at Sportsbook.com don’t seem to be phased by the big number that the Steelers are laying, as 75% are taking Pittsburgh & 75% of action on the total is on the Over.

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