If there were ever any doubts about Mike Tomlin’s ability to coach NFL football this season should end them emphatically. Tomlin has taken a team in a horrific situation losing their franchise quarterback and found ways to win games. Pittsburgh opened the season 0-3 and losing 4 of their first five games. The future looked bleak with unproven Mason Rudolph at quarterback. Instead, the Steelers won four straight and 6 of their last 7 games. If the season ended today, Pittsburgh would be in the playoff as a wild card which was borderline unfathomable when Ben Roethlisberger opted for season ending elbow surgery.
The Arizona Cardinals won’t come anywhere near the postseason this year but there is finally hope on the horizon. Kyler Murray looks legit. Most impressively, he’s turned the ball over just twice in his last eight starts. There’s plenty of work that needs to be done in Arizona but Murray so far has looked like a quarterback you can build a franchise around. Arizona is just 3-8 on the year and enters this game on a four game SU losing streak but they’ve been extremely competitive this season with a 7-4 record against the spread. They’re 7-3 as an underdog this year and 2-0 in non-conference play. They’re also coming off of their worst performance of the season–a 34-7 home loss to the LA Rams.
One of the best lessons that a sports handicapper can learn: “No team is as good as they look at their best or as bad as they look at their worst”. That makes us think that the Cardinals will be good for a strong effort this weekend. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers are feeling pretty good about themselves with the solid play of their recent starting quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges who took over from Mason Rudolph. They’re also coming off a big win against hated rivals Cleveland. The Steelers beat the Browns 20-13 at home to avenge their only loss since a Week 5 defeat to Baltimore.
This will be the Steelers’ third road game in four weeks and the first that entails a significant amount of travel with the previous two in Cleveland and Cincinnati. It’s also a dangerous letdown spot coming off the win over the Browns and with a game against 9-3 Buffalo on deck that will be their final home appearance this year. This might be Arizona’s most ‘winnable’ game remaining this season. They’ll host Cleveland on 12/15 before closing out the season on the road against Seattle and the LA Rams. The Steelers have been a poor road favorite under Tomlin going 25-35-2 ATS. Shop around and you can get a full FG with the home team.