SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (2-0 SU, 1-0-1 ATS) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Sunday, Sept. 23, 1 pm ET
Favorite: Steelers -9
Pick: Steelers -9
The 49ers aren’t as good as their 2-0 record. All signs point to a rude awakening in Steeltown this Sunday. In two games, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have outscored their opponents 60-10, for a net point gain of 50 points, the best in the NFL.
Both San Francisco victories have been razor-thin, including last week’s 17-16 win over the St. Louis Rams as a 3-point underdog. The Steelers defeated Buffalo 26-3 as a 10-point favorite in Week 2. RB Willie Parker rushed for 126 yards with a touchdown on 23 carries for Pittsburgh, while Roethlisberger completed 21-of-34 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the win. Pittsburgh is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games, and 4-1 ATS in its past five at home.
As if the San Francisco defense won’t have enough to worry about, they will be playing their first game without linebacker Manny Lawson, whose promising season came to an abrupt end this past week. Lawson, a starting outside linebacker in the 49ers’ 3-4 defensive scheme, tore his anterior cruciate ligament during Wednesday’s practice. The speedy 6-foot-5 linebacker plays the strong side, covering tight ends and rushing the passer. Lawson was second on the team with 14 tackles while the Niners got off to a 2-0 start. San Francisco‘s defense has been largely responsible for the club’s strong start, holding its opponents to 33 points in two games despite meager production from the Niners’ offense.
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