Unlike last week when the Seahawks faced the 49ers, Sunday's game against the Steelers appears to be a toss-up. Here's what the national media are expecting from the matchup at CenturyLink Field.
After a relatively easy victory over the struggling San Francisco 49ers last week, the Seattle Seahawks face a more formidable foe Sunday when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink Field.
And according to our search of national media predictions, the game appears to be a toss-up.
The Seahawks (5-5) are 4-point favorites over the Steelers (6-4). Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m., and CBS (Ch. 7) has the telecast.
Three of our four Seattle Times writers in the Seahawks Pick’em chose the Seahawks, the lone exception being columnist Matt Calkins.
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Here’s a national roundup of picks for the game:
Bob Condotta: Seahawks 21, Steelers 20. Pittsburgh’s passing attack will be a real challenge for the Seahawks, especially with Ben Roethlisberger back and coming off of a bye week. But the Steelers don’t have the running threat they previously had with Le’Veon Bell out, and the Seattle defense seems due to get a turnover or two at a critical time. The Seattle offense, meanwhile, appears to run just fine with Thomas Rawls. The Seahawks will get and keep a fourth-quarter lead against a good team this time.
Jayson Jenks: Seahawks 27, Steelers 24. The Seahawks have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season, and they have not yet shown that they can hold a lead against a quality team. But I’m going with this as the game when both of those trends change.
Larry Stone: Seahawks 24, Steeelers 20. The Seahawks haven’t yet beaten a quality opponent, but that will change in this game. With Thomas Rawls giving a big boost to the offense and Russell Wilson coming off of his best game of the year, it will come down to Seattle’s defense slowing down Ben Roethlisberger and Co. just enough to pull out the victory.
Matt Calkins: Steelers 21, Seahawks 17. The league’s best quarterbacks have had their way with the Seahawks this year, and Ben Roethlisberger is in that upper tier. Pittsburgh will squeak this one out.
Eight of 13 pickers chose the Seahawks. Bob Golic, K.C. Joyner, Mark Schlereth, Tom Jackson and Mike Ditka chose the Steelers.
Sheil Kapadia: Seahawks 27, Steelers 24. The Seahawks’ defense has already given up 34 pass plays of 20-plus yards through 10 games. They allowed 32 such plays all of last season. The biggest question mark going into Sunday’s game is whether they can hold Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the Steelers’ passing game in check. The key might be more about defensive linemen Michael Bennett (6.5 sacks) and Cliff Avril (6.5 sacks) pressuring Roethlisberger than the coverage in the back end. The Seahawks have held fourth-quarter leads in every game this season, and they’ll need the offense to do its part. Seattle escapes with a close win decided in the final two minutes.
Four out of eight pickers chose the Seahawks.
Pete Prisco: Steelers 27, Seahawks 24. The Seahawks have had trouble with good quarterbacks, and here comes Ben Roethlisberger. Is the Legion of Boom up to defending him? I don’t think they are anymore. The Steelers steal a road victory.
Four of the five “Around the NFL” experts picked the Seahawks. Conor Orr picked the Steelers.
Elliot Harrison: Seahawks 19, Steelers 15. What a fun game this should be: Antonio Brown versus Richard Sherman … Ben Roethlisberger versus the Seahawks pass rush … Marshawn Lynch running into that improved Steelers front. Well,that’s not happening. Enter Thomas Rawls, who ran around like a kid at a public swimming pool against the 49ers last week. We’re going with Seattle, while acknowledging that Pittsburgh will be motivated by the Bengals’ consecutive losses. The AFC North is still within reach, but the Steelers probably have to win out, or at least go 5-1, to claim the division. Pete Carroll’s club is three back of the Cardinals, with one head-to-head left to play. Heck, they’re trying to stay relevant in the wild-card race. Considering the ‘Hawks are at home, the long road trip the Steelers must make and the improved play of the offense last week, we’re giving this one to the two-time NFC champs … narrowly.
Six of seven pickers chose the Seahawks. James Parziale chose the Steelers.
Michael David Smith: Seahawks 20, Steelers 17. This is close to a must-win game for the Seahawks for an NFC wild card berth, and it’s a big game for the Steelers for an AFC wild card berth as well. I think Seattle, playing at home, will turn in a good defensive effort and win a close one.
Mike Florio: Seahawks 27, Steelers 24. Seattle needs another win, badly. Thomas Rawls has given the offense a huge boost, and the bye week gave them more time to figure out how to use Jimmy Graham. The Steelers remain viable contenders in the AFC, but it won’t be easy to pull out this one.
Two of six pickers — Joel Thorman and PFT Commenter — chose the Seahawks.
Four of eight pickers chose the Seahawks.
Gary Davenport: You’re going to be hearing a lot over the next several weeks about the Seattle Seahawks and “must-win” games. When you’re .500 through 10 games and three games out of first place in the division after making the Super Bowl two years running, that kind of talk is going to start up. … And so every week for the Seahawks it’s going to be the same thing. Win, and the story will read that the NFC champs are heating up at the right time. Lose, and it becomes an exercise in finger-pointing. It took a coin flip to get there, but the vote here says the Seahawks get to avoid the postmortem on 2015 for at least one more week.