Seahawks (15-3) vs. Steelers (14-5). Line: Steelers by 4. Over-Under: 47.
Sunday, Feb. 5, 6:27 ET
SUPER BOWL XL

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 20 Games): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 20 Games): Steelers by 2.

The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: Seahawks: OUT: OLB Jamie Sharper, S Ken Hamlin. Steelers: OUT: KR Quincy Morgan.

For the first time since 2003, the Vegas oddsmakers are not predicting a blowout. It's amazing how many similarities the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks share. Both teams have Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks who have been at their best in the playoffs; imposing offensive lines that are the best in the business; dominant defensive fronts that excel at putting pressure on opposing signal callers; head coaches who are familiar with the Super Bowl setting; and reliable field goal kickers who won't pull a Mike Vanderjagt by kicking the ball through imaginary goal posts located in Section 115 of the stands.

Former Redskins running back John Riggins was a guest on "PTI" on Tuesday. He opined that the key for Pittsburgh is to contain Shaun Alexander. I couldn't disagree more. Even though Alexander was the NFL's MVP, he won't have much success running against one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. The Steelers were fourth against the run this season and they shut down almost every rushing attack they've encountered. What Pittsburgh must do in order to win Super Bowl XL is get immense pressure on Matt Hasselbeck. The Steelers managed to rattle Jon Kitna, Peyton Manning and Jake Plummer during their improbable playoff run. If they can get to Hasselbeck, he obviously won't have time to find his talented receivers in third-and-long situations.

That said, the Seahawks have the best offensive line in the NFL; the unit surrendered just 27 sacks in 2005. While Seattle won't score on every possession, the team will sustain some lengthy drives. When Hasselbeck is given time to throw, he will easily find Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram and Jerramy Stevens. Pittsburgh's secondary has improved over the course of the season, but I still question the level of its effectiveness if Joey Porter is restricted from slamming opposing signal callers onto the turf.

You don't make it to the Super Bowl if you can't stop the run. As I've mentioned, the Steelers were ranked fourth this year. Seattle was ranked second. The 2004 Steelers would have been in trouble at this point; Ben Roethlisberger without a running game? Bet against the Steelers! Well, that's obviously not the case anymore. Roethlisberger has evolved into arguably the second-best quarterback in the NFL. I expect Pittsburgh to come out of the tunnel firing the ball downfield. Once again, the key for the defense will be putting pressure on the opposing signal caller. The Seahawks, who registered a league-high 50 sacks this season, should be able to swarm Roethlisberger.

As far as intangibles are concerned, both squads have something in their favor. The Seahawks, who are getting absolutely no respect, must be enraged that no one outside the state of Washington is picking them to win. Meanwhile, the Steelers seem like a team of destiny. Just think about what they've gone through to get to Super Bowl XL: Both the Chargers and Chiefs had to choke at the end of the regular season for the Steelers to qualify for the playoffs; Carson Palmer suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the first round of the postseason; Colts cornerback Nick Harper foolishly went up the middle of the field, instead of cutting right after scooping up Jerome Bettis' only fumble of the season; and the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL missed a field goal by about 50 yards.

These two teams are virtually the same. This is one of those games where picking a point-spread winner seems easier than picking the actual winner. This will be another Super Bowl that goes down to the wire.

Imagine this. The Steelers, down 20-16 with 54 seconds remaining in regulation, have the ball on the Seattle 2-yard line. Bettis is given the football and is inches from crossing the goal line. Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu rams his helmet into the ball, causing it to rattle in the running back's arm. But, instead of dropping the ball, Bettis has the determination to rumble into the end zone, scoring a touchdown on the final carry of his illustrious career.

Steelers 23, Seahawks 20


The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 26-4 as a starter (21-9 ATS).
  • Line Movement: Steelers -4 (open) to Steelers -4.
  • Total Movement: 47 (open) to 47.
  • Weather: Dome.

Prediction: Steelers by 3. (Seahawks +4). Money Pick. Under.


My Team by Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed.


Cowboys: 5-9
Eagles: 8-8
Giants: 9-6
Redskins: 9-8

Bears: 9-7
Lions: 10-5
Packers: 9-6
Vikings: 10-6

Buccaneers: 9-7
Falcons: 9-6
Panthers: 12-5
Saints: 9-6

49ers: 4-12
Cardinals: 6-9
Rams: 8-8
Seahawks: 11-7

Bills: 8-7
Dolphins: 5-11
Jets: 10-6
Patriots: 9-9

Bengals: 12-5
Browns: 10-6
Ravens: 8-8
Steelers: 9-10

Colts: 11-6
Jaguars: 6-11
Texans: 8-8
Titans: 10-6

Broncos: 7-10
Chargers: 8-7
Chiefs: 7-7
Raiders: 12-3

Divisional Games: 47-44
Trend Edge: 34-44
Game Edge: 41-36
Game & Trend Edge: 7-8


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My Team-by-Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

Cowboys: 9-7
Bears: 7-7
Bucs: 8-8
49ers: 8-9
Eagles: 7-10
Lions: 11-5
Falcons: 5-10
Cardinals: 10-5
Giants: 7-9
Packers: 8-8
Panthers: 8-9
Rams: 7-9
Redskins: 9-7
Vikings: 7-9
Saints: 13-4
Seahawks: 9-10
Bills: 12-4
Bengals: 8-8
Colts: 11-6
Broncos: 8-11
Dolphins: 11-5
Browns: 3-13
Jaguars: 7-8
Chargers: 11-6
Jets: 8-8
Ravens: 9-6
Texans: 10-5
Chiefs: 6-11
Patriots: 10-8
Steelers: 6-10
Titans: 5-7
Raiders: 9-7
Divisional: 51-44 (2011-12: 90-93)
2x Game Edge: 14-22 (2011-12: 41-40)
2x Psych Edge: 35-26 (2011-12: 57-54)
2x Vegas Edge: 40-38 (2011-12: 89-104)
2x Trend Edge: 24-23 (2011-12: 48-55)
Double Edge: 9-10 (2011-12: 17-23)
Triple Edge: 1-0 (2011-12: 1-1)
Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011: 0-0)

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