Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers Vie to End Week 1 Woes Against Redskins

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Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers have finished better than they started in recent years, which they aim to change against the Washington Redskins in a Monday Night Football betting matchup.

The Steelers, who harbor Super Bowl ambitions, are three-point favorites against Washington with a total of 50 points.

Pittsburgh is only 1-4 straight-up and 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five games in Week 1. However, the Steelers, who lost in the divisional round of the 2015 playoffs, are 11-2 SU in their last 13 games after a loss.

Roethlisberger is projected to helm an elite offensive attack built around big-play WR Antonio Brown. Brown will have a challenging matchup now that Washington has bolstered their pass coverage with CB Josh Norman, who helped the Carolina Panthers win the NFC title last season.

Wideout Markus Wheaton (shoulder) is not expected to play. However, the Steelers offensive line was among the top 10 in the NFL last season in run blocking and pass protection, which should help Roethlisberger utilize all of his receivers and the rushing attack.

Washington, which paid top dollar to make Kirk Cousins their franchise QB, is 1-5 ATS in their last six games against the AFC. They are also 4-6 SU and 3-6-1 ATS in their last 10 September home games.

Washington won the NFC East in 2015 largely due to a productive passing game. The WR trio of Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder is facing a Steelers secondary that made great strides in the second half of last season and brought in CB Artie Jones as a first-round pick.

Whether Washington can stay out of obvious passing situations will be telling. Pittsburgh had the NFL’s fifth-best rush defense in 2015, and Washington is counting on unproven RB Matt Jones.

The total has gone under in five of the Steelers’ last six games as a favorite of three or fewer points. The total has gone under in eight of the Redskins’ last 11 games where they were an underdog by three points or fewer.

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