The Chicago Bears vs the Pittsburgh Steelers sounds like a defensive clash for the ages, and in most seasons it would be. Just not this season. Tonight’s Sunday Night Football game offers the most intrigue for bettors, who will either catch the game on NBC or watch Sunday Night Football live streaming online (links below) to see the 2-0 Bears take on an 0-2 Steelers team that’s not expected to put up much of a fight. If you believe all the prognosticators, the Bears vs Steelers is expected to be a one-sided affair. The only inspiration, it seems, to watch Sunday Night Football live is to see whether the Steelers can cover the three-point spread.
Seeing the Bears go into tonight’s game as mere three-point favorites is frankly a bit surprising. Chicago leads Pittsburgh in nearly every categorical ranking this year, and the Steelers haven’t scored 20 points in their first two games combined. Yes, the Steelers still have Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, but “Big Ben” is showing the signs of either age or that motorcycle wreck. Meanwhile, Bears QB Jay Cutler is putting up far more impressive numbers (48-71 for 534 yards and 5 TDs), and he’s got his team off to an undefeated start two weeks into the 2013 NFL season.
Tonight’s Sunday Night Football game kicks off at 8:30 Eastern / 5:30 Pacific. While it won’t be the headline act of last week’s game (Seahawks vs. 49ers), the Bears go into Pittsburgh hoping for their third 3-0 start of the past 20 years. The Steelers, meanwhile, could potentially fall to 0-3 for just the second time in the past 25 years. Bears fans would love to watch Sunday Night Football live streaming online and see their team stay atop the NFC North. Steelers fans, though, just want to see whether Roethlisberger and Co. can save the Steelers’ season or be stuck sweeping the cellars of the AFC North.
To hear Bears quarterback Jay Cutler tell it, though, tonight’s Sunday Night Football game will be the team’s biggest challenge so far this season. “We’re on the road, first road game. The noise is going to be a problem for us offensively,” he told ESPN. “Just the travel; you know we have some young guys on offense. Just see how the communication goes with the noise, keeping our poise out there. It will be a good test for us.”
Pittsburgh is also keen to see how its offense performs, in part because tight end Heath Miller is probable to play for the first time since tearing ligaments in his right knee in December. They’ll need everything Miller can provide, because Roethlisberger has completed just 58.6% of his passes and been sacked seven times behind an offensive line that’s still missing injured center Maurkice Pouncey. If Miller’s return gives Big Ben another viable threat, the Steelers may have a chance against a Bears defense that’s average at best this year (ranked 17th in the NFL).
Roethlisberger is bound to be motivated to make something happen against the Bears defense, as he was clearly frustrated after last week’s loss. But Bears quarterback Jay Cutler may ultimately end up with the better statistical line, pushing the opposing QB’s performance onto the back burner. As reported by ESPN, Cutler has improved in each of the past two games, generating passer ratings of 93.2 and 97.2, and he’s No. 5 in the NFL in completion percentage. He’s also only been sacked only once through the first two games, compared to six sacks through the first two games of 2012. Cutler will need that confidence and improved offensive line to do some damage, though, because the Steelers have the NFL’s 10th-ranked defense so far this year.
Chicago was a three-point victor when these teams last met in 2009, Jay Cutler’s first season with the Bears. Clearly he had the desired effect, because in the teams’ previous two head-to-head matchups, the Steelers won each by a wider margin. Tonight the betting line is Bears by three, perhaps due to history or perhaps because the SNF guys are stuck on the number (that was the spread last Sunday night, too). Either way, you’ll want to watch Sunday Night Football live streaming online or on TV to see whether the Steelers can miraculously eek out a win or at least cover the spread. To stream the game live online, you can use the links in the box above or check out the NBC Sports website for Sunday Night Football.