th the Pittsburgh Steelers steamrolling their way through the AFC North, and the Philadelphia Eagles surprising everyone in the NFC East, there was strong speculation during the 2017 NFL season that we could be headed toward an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. As it turned out, the prognosticators were half right. The Eagles not only got to the big game, they stunned everyone by knocking off the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots even though Eagles back-up quarterback Nick Foles was at the helm.
The Steelers, as has often been the case with the team in recent years, failed to deliver on their promise. Pegged to be headed toward another AFC Championship Game showdown with the Patriots – it would have been the fourth matchup between the two in the conference title game since 2001 and the second in as many years – instead the Steelers stubbed their toes in the divisional round and were upset 45-42 at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Eagles Have Landed – And lately, they do so right on top of the Steelers. Philly and Pittsburgh met most recently in 2016. The Eagles waltzed into Heinz Field during the preseason and blanked the Steelers 17-0, taking advantage of four interceptions thrown by Steelers back-up QB Landry Jones. In Week 3 of the regular season, the 2-0 Steelers visited Philadelphia to face the 2-0 Eagles as 5.5-point road favorites and were throttled 34-3, Eagles QB Carson Wentz passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Home Cooking – There’s an ongoing trend when the Eagles and Steelers meet on the field and it’s that things generally go well for the home team. In regular-season play between the two clubs, the home team has emerged victorious in six of the past eight meetings. The Steelers are on a nine-game losing streak at Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s last win in Philly was a 20-14 decision on Oct. 24, 1965. The Eagles are 2-5 in their last seven visits to Pittsburgh, but at least many can recall Philly’s last win there, 23-20 on Nov. 23, 1997.
Preseason Bitters – The Eagles have fared much better in Pittsburgh during preseason play, though it’s still not what you would call compelling evidence to place a wager on them. They won there 17-0 as mentioned in 2016, and took a 21-16 verdict at Pittsburgh in 2003 as well. But the Eagles are 2-4 in their last six preseason road trips to face their cross-state rivals and have surrendered an average of 26.25 points per game in the four losses at Pittsburgh.
State Champions – If Green Bay can lay claim to the name Titletown, U.S.A. thanks to the many NFL championships won by the Packers, including four Super Bowls, perhaps Pennsylvania can label itself Titlestate, U.S.A.? The Eagles ended a 57-season championship drought with their Super Bowl LII victory. The Steelers share the NFL record for Super Bowl wins by a franchise with six, but can relate to the Eagles’ pain and suffering. A franchise born in 1933, the Steelers didn’t appear in the playoffs until 1972.
Future Watch – At +850, Bovada lists the Eagles as their second choice to win Super Bowl LIII, right behind the Patriots at +650. Third on the list are the Steelers at +1000 and they are the only other AFC team to crack the top seven. Here’s some interesting trending that might make the Steelers a solid bet. The Eagles first made it to the Super in 1981, one year after the Steelers won the title. Philly got back again in 2005, and the following season, Pittsburgh beat Seattle 21-10 in Super Bowl XL at Detroit’s Ford Field.
Who Would of Thought– A year ago as the 2017 NFL season opened, Bovada listed the Eagles as co-16th choice to win Super Bowl LII at +4000. The total wins for the Eagles was set at eight, with odds of -150 for that wager. They were +2000 to win the NFC Championship and +275 to win the NFC East division title. Had you bet $100 on each of those four wagers at the start of the season, by the time the Eagles defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl, you would have collected $6341.67. Not a bad return for a $400 investment.
Trading Places – Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is listed by Bovada as the third choice to win the NFL MVP award at +950, but you’ve got to go much further along the list to find a guy who used to be a perennial contender for this award, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. He’s the co-11th choice in the Bovada future book at +2500. Steelers runnng back Le’Veon Bell (+4000) and receiver Antonio Brown (+5000) are also given chances to win the honor, while Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is all the way down there at +12500.
Other Wagers – BetOnline puts the Eagles as -160 favorites to capture the NFC East title, while the Steelers are listed as the chalk at -275 to wear the AFC North crown. The Eagles are the +500 choice to repeat as NFC Champions, while the Steelers (+500) are the second choice to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII, behind the perennially-favored Patriots (+275). They also like the Eagles as their second choice to win the Super Bowl at +800, but place the Steelers as co-fourth choice at +1200.
An Intriguing Play – MyBookie offers a unique wagering opportunity allowing you to bet on what you think the matchup will be in Super Bowl LIII. Naturally, a Steelers-Eagles tilt is a popular choice, with a line of +2500 placed upon that possibility becoming reality, but it’s only the fifth choice. Surprisingly, considering there’s never been a rematch of two teams in consecutive Super Bowls, Patriots-Eagles is listed as the chalk at +1400, followed by Rams Patriots at +1600, Vikings-Patriots (+1800) and Packers-Patriots (+2000).
MyBookie also lists Bell as the +250 second choice to lead the NFL in rushing yardage, and Brown as the +250 favorite to top the league in receiving yards.