Pittsburgh's Road Struggles

Tony Salinas: Pittsburgh's Road Struggles

The mainstream media has been focusing on two main storylines for Sunday afternoon's Pittsburgh-Denver Wildcard game in the NFL Playoffs. If they're talking about Pittsburgh, they're talking about injuries. If they're talking about Denver, they're talking about Tim Tebow.

Well, if a game has a road favorite laying almost 10 points, shouldn't somebody be looking to see if that road favorite is capable of winning by that much?!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have not looked like a playoff team on the road this season. Their best games have been a home. Any evidence that they're capable of blowing out bad teams has come at home rather than on the road with one exception. This is definitely something handicappers should be looking at as they try to analyze this game.


  • Pittsburgh (+1) lost at Baltimore 35-7: everything that could go wrong did go wrong here, and flat-footed Pittsburgh was badly outclassed by a revenge-minded divisional rival. Of course, you can't compare fired up Baltimore to suddenly slumping Denver. So, this isn't an ideal match for what might happen today. But, the result did set the tone for a poor road campaign.

  • Pittsburgh (-10.5) beat Indianapolis 23-20: this was in the early part of the season when Indianapolis was playing truly terrible football. It wasn't even expansion caliber because expansion teams are usually better than the Colts were back then. Yet...the Steelers almost lost! Sunday's Denver team is much better than that Colts squad was.

  • Pittsburgh (+4) lost at Houston 17-10: yes, this was Houston at its best rather than after all the injuries really hit hard. But, that's an 0-2 straight up and ATS record vs. playoff caliber teams so far for the Steelers.

  • Pittsburgh (-4) won at Arizona 32-20: a rare highlight, as the Steelers started to look like their normal selves for the first time. They'll have to match this performance to get the money in Denver.

  • Pittsburgh (-3.5) won at Cincinnati 24-17: you may have watched this one on television. Cincinnati had a chance to tie the game at the very end, but couldn't quite get there. Pittsburgh gets a win and a cover to move to 2-3 both straight up and ATS. But, this victory margin wouldn't cover Sunday's spread in Denver...and that Cincinnati team may not be very different from the Denver squad that's going to be on the field.

  • Pittsburgh (-10.5) beat Kansas City 13-9: one of the ugliest TV games all year, and another example of Pittsburgh playing very poorly vs. a bad team. This was one of the Tyler Palko games for the Chiefs. That guy was one of the worst starting quarterbacks the league has seen in years (along with Caleb Hanie of Chicago). Yet, we have a defensive war that Pittsburgh barely survived. What a horrible combo that is...beating the Colts by 3 and the Chiefs by 4 with the QB's that were on the field in those games for the home dogs.

  • Pittsburgh (+3) lost at San Francisco 20-3: Another playoff team, another loss where the offense couldn't get anything on the board. We're nearing the end of the season...does any of this strike you as vintage Pittsburgh?

  • Pittsburgh (-7) won at Cleveland 13-9: another bare survival against a non-playoff team using its backup quarterback.

Let the TV pundits talk about Pittsburgh's injuries. The Steelers have been struggling with their health all year and flailing on the road vs. bad opponents! Please mention the ugly wins against Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Cleveland that didn't get anywhere near the Denver spread!

Let the TV pundits talk about Tebow. He's a backup quarterback, and Pittsburgh hasn't been blowing out backups this year. If Brady Quinn comes in on a white horse to try and save the day, he's not going to be any worse than Todd Collins, Tyler Palko, or Seneca Wallace.  Pittsburgh beat those guys by 3, 4, and 4 points.

You longtime readers know that a big playoff dog is very likely to get serious consideration from TONY SALINAS. No surprise there. I may or may not be releasing the Broncos as one of my biggest plays on Sunday though. My customers only get the selections I'm betting the biggest myself. It could be that I prefer the total in this game to the team side based on success I've had during past playoffs. It could be that I have so little faith in the extremely over-hyped Tebow that I couldn't bring myself to release him no matter what the spread was. You'll have to sign up for my service to find out!

My Sunday selections will go up a few hours before kickoff in the morning. Remember that Sunday's games start earlier than Saturday's did...so you have to take care of business early. I'll also have some strong basketball available too. If you have any questions about my program, call my office at 1-888-536-8880.

It's very easy to get led astray by TV pundits who sound like they know what they're talking about...but rarely do. Don't take the worst of it because of talking heads. Make sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!


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