CHICAGO BEARS (2-0)
at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (0-2)
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: Chicago -2.5, Total: 40.5
The Steelers hope to finally get into the win column when they host the unbeaten Bears on Sunday night.
The start of the year has been very different for these two clubs. Chicago won its first two games behind some late-game heroics from QB Jay Cutler, while Pittsburgh's offense has looked sloppy, producing a total of 19 points in losses to Tennessee and Cincinnati. The last time these two teams met was in 2009 when the Bears hosted the Steelers in what ended in a 17-14 win-and-cover in favor of Chicago. Cutler threw for 236 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in that win over the Steelers. Cutler takes way more chances now that WR Brandon Marshall is in town. Marshallís presence is a complete game changer that really opens up Chicagoís offense for RB Matt Forte to run. Over the past three seasons, Pittsburgh is just 8-18 ATS (31%) when playing on a grass field, but is 19-8 ATS (70%) in home games after losing to a division rival since 1992. The Steelers have won their past two home games against Chicago.
Last week, Cutler threw a touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett in the front left corner of the end zone to put Chicago up one with just 10 seconds to go in the game. It was the second come-from-behind victory for the Bears, who topped the Bengals after being down 10 points in the third quarter. So far this season, Cutler has been on fire under a new Marc Trestman-led coaching staff, completing 68% of his passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns. Cutler has also thrown three interceptions, but he has been great when the Bears need him most. WR Brandon Marshall has been Cutlerís go-to receiver, much like he has been in recent years, with 15 receptions for 217 yards and 2 TD this season. Cutler has also established a liking for TE Martellus Bennett, who played for the Giants last season. So far this year, Bennett has 10 receptions for 125 yards and three scores, but he's listed as questionable because of a shoulder injury. Chicagoís defense has struggled so far this season as they have allowed 51 points and 690 yards in two games, but they did get an interception return for a touchdown from Charles Tillman against the Vikings last week, one of six takeaways for Chicago in two games.
Pittsburgh has now lost its past two games, and in the process the offense has looked ugly. The Steelers didnít get on the board against the Titans in their opener until there was 1:23 remaining in the game, which made it a meaningless score. Against the Bengals last Monday, the Steelers were tied 10-10 at half but could not put any points on the board in the third and fourth quarters. So far this season, QB Ben Roethlisberger hasnít looked like himself as he has thrown for 442 yards (6.3 YPA), 2 TD and 2 INT while completing a pedestrian 58.6% of his passes (7th-worst in NFL). With RB LeíVeon Bell still out with a foot injury, the Steelers have completely lacked any resemblance of a running game. Felix Jones is the teamís leading rusher this season with just 37 yards on 10 carries. No player on Pittsburgh has had a carry of at least 15 yards on the season. One positive for the Steelers has been the play of CB Ike Taylor on the defensive side of the ball. Last game, Taylor was able to hold Bengals star wideout A.J. Green to just six catches for 41 yards after his dominant opening week performance in which he had 162 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh has done a tremendous job stopping the run (2.7 YPC allowed), and has allowed just 229 total YPG this year despite not forcing a single turnover yet.