It’s one thing for Andrew Luck to look good playing at home against a feeble St. Louis Rams defense. It’s another for him to take his show on the road and look as cool as a seasoned veteran against the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Betting Line: Steelers -3.5
Luck had a phenomenal preseason debut when he went 10-of-16 for 188 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams. The Steelers defense debut was just as sparkling as they held the Philadelphia Eagles to zero first half points while collecting a pick and a sack.
The Steelers defense will be a particular challenge for Luck not just because they have better talent and better coaching than the Rams, but because they are a 3-4 that’s often confusing for rookies to pick up. Even so, the Steelers are just a 3.5-point favorite on the NFL odds, which indicates that the experts believe Luck is for real and might be able to handle his own. We’ll find out shortly.
While the Steelers defense will be looking to make a statement, don’t look for the offense to flash too much. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley is quietly confident about his unit, which has plenty of explosiveness – assuming Mike Wallace makes training camp sometime soon – has some new tricks. Haley would like to keep the element of surprise on his side, such as the shorter passes and the no-huddle offense, which is why the unit was so vanilla in the preseason opener, but don’t be surprised if they open things up a tad in the second game.
Haley’s job is to correct the short and intermediate passing game, and boost the red zone production in the regular season – not the preseason. Pittsburgh may add a few more tricks in Week 2 but don’t look for them to open up their hand fully and show all of their new offensive wrinkles against Indianapolis. There’s really no need for them to do it.