Steelers vs Eagles Game Preview
The Battle of Pennsylvania is always intense even if it’s only the preseason. The Philadelphia Eagles are soaring high from snatching their first-ever Super Bowl victory while the Pittsburgh Steelers are regrouping following a disappointing exit in the playoffs.
The Eagles stayed low-key in the offseason making a few signings and adding some draft picks while the Steelers did even less. Trading away disgruntled receiver Martavis Bryant was their most notable move. Both teams remain elite as they begin their preseason.
Last season was a painful one for the Steelers. They went 13-3 and lost a shootout against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round. It was a disappointing result but this team still finished in the top-five in both offence and defence.
It was addition by subtraction for the Steelers in the offseason and they got some future pieces in the draft but otherwise, it’s simply back to business for the Kings of the North.
Will there be a Super Bowl hangover for Philly? Maybe just for the fans because the Eagles did topple the Patriots dynasty with a backup quarterback. This just proves how effective Doug Pederson’s system was for the Eagles.
They acquired a few pieces in the offseason and still sport a stacked team in both offence and defence. The Eagles don’t have the most spectacular players but they are a sum greater than their parts.
Both teams get to showcase their depth as the second and third units play for their positions. The Eagles will turn the keys over to either Nate Sudfeld or Joe Callahan while Landry Jones will lead the Steelers offence. Each has plenty of talent on defence so expect a low-scoring affair.
Steelers vs Eagles Head-to-Head Records
The Philadelphia-Pittsburgh rivalry is one of the oldest in the NFL and dates back to 1933 when the Eagles defeated the Pirates 25-6. In 79 total games, the Eagles lead the series with a record of 48-28-3.
In their last five meetings, the teams have alternated wins and losses with the Eagles winning three of the five including their most recent meeting, a 34-3 win in early 2016, one of Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz’s early noteworthy victories.
Both teams have been perennial contenders on a consistent basis making their matchups always one to watch. Despite their seemingly even record in recent meetings, the Eagles have mostly dominated the Steelers leading them in scoring and winning the turnover battles, especially in the last three games.
With both franchises still at their peak, expect their matchups to once again gain plenty of attention and if the trend continues, the Steelers may come away with the victory.
Pittsburgh Steelers Recent History
The Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2010 and have, for the most part, remained a contender. They finished with double digits in each of their last four seasons going as far as the conference championship in 2016.
One constant with the Steelers is the strength of their defence and organization. Mike Tomlin has been their head coach for over 11 seasons now and Kevin Colbert has run the team as general manager since the start of the decade. Their offensive explosion in recent years is what separates them from the Steelers of old.
Led by their own “triplets”: quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers have finished in the top-five in scoring each season each of them was healthy. As good as they are, they know their window is closing and feel the pressure of adding another Lombardi trophy.
Philadelphia Eagles Recent History
Pittsburgh’s NFC neighbours haven’t been quite as consistent in recent years. After relieving Andy Reid as head coach in 2012, the Eagles went through a brief experiment with college guru Chip Kelly and several quarterbacks with mixed results. The hiring of Pederson in 2016 signalled a new beginning.
With low expectations, the Pederson era started slow but quickly took off in 2017. Fuelled by detractors, the Eagles went 13-3 and won the Super Bowl despite losing Wentz late in the season. It signified that the Eagles had finally found a formula that works and with a young core of players and an ambitious coach, they are here to stay.
The Eagles began the 2018 offseason by adding more pieces to their team in both sides of the ball. They are bringing in wayward former Pro Bowlers like Jason Peters (LT), Mike Wallace (WR), and Malcolm Jenkins (S). The rich just got richer.
Pittsburgh Steelers Outlook
Roethlisberger is 36 and not getting any younger. Given his injury history, he has two more years, max and then Pittsburgh will need to turn to Mason Rudolph or another man under centre. Within this span, the Steelers are both looking to win another championship while looking elsewhere for a potential rebuild.
Brown and Bell are at their prime but they need “Big Ben” to play well to maximize their talents. Pittsburgh has many other young stars like Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster (WR) and Jesse James (TE) so it’s question if Rudolph will turn to a star or if they’ll need to find another QB.
The defence is also relatively young and stacked as far back as the third-unit. And most importantly, coach Tomlin has shown both the patience and cunning to develop his players into playing smart football. They’ll be around for a long time.
Philadelphia Eagles Outlook
Optimistically, the Eagles will stick around as long as the Steelers but their Pittsburgh brethren have that rare consistent quality that only a handful of franchises in any sports league possess. It’s unclear how long Pederson’s style is going to be effective. The NFL is a copycat league.
They hate you, then they copy you, and then they create something better. And it all happens within a season or two. But the Eagles at least have a young core led by their pivot, Wentz who is smarter beyond his years. And they are ahead of the game, at least for now.
The Eagles will be a contender so long as they stay healthy. Pederson and the coaching staff are innovative and understand how quickly the game changes. They already won the chip in just their sophomore year yet it feels like they still have so much more to show.
This one is tricky. The Steelers have the edge in quarterback because Jones is a proven backup and has many weapons at his disposal. Yet the Eagles have proven they can kick ass even when using spare parts.
Philadelphia is deep on defence and even has Haloti Ngata listed as a third-stringer. The five-time Pro Bowler is past-his-prime but could experience a career resurgence playing for a championship team. Pittsburgh is a bit thin at linebacker without Ryan Shazier and they struggle to contain running plays.
If Philly goes up early, Pittsburgh may struggle to keep up. But if Pittsburgh goes up, Philly still has the tools and the creativity to come up with something. The pressure will be on Pittsburgh and despite his experience, Jones has struggled when facing pressure.
Pittsburgh will put up a fight, undoubtedly. But Philadelphia is better-coached and will manage even with a third or fourth-string quarterback. The Eagles are a better pick as they will be capable regardless what position they’re put in.