Syracuse vs Pittsburgh Prediction
Longtime rivals meet this weekend as the Pittsburgh Panthers host the Syracuse Orange in an ACC battle. Game time is set for noon EST on Saturday, September 19, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Panthers are currently listed as 21.5-point favorites at home with an over/under of 50 points. Keep reading to find out more about both teams and get our official Syracuse vs Pitt prediction.
Syracuse Orange Preview
The Orange has come a long way since they won 10 games in 2018. Unfortunately, they’re moving in the wrong direction after going 5-7 last season. The Syracuse season opener didn’t exactly inspire confidence that the program is moving in the right direction. While the Orange put up a fight against North Carolina, trailing only 10-6 after three quarters, things fell apart in the fourth quarter with Syracuse losing 31-6.
The Syracuse offensive line is the biggest scapegoat from the season opener, conceding seven sacks. This was a huge problem for the Orange last season, so it doesn’t appear much progress has been made in that department. On the rare occasions that quarterback Tommy DeVito had time in the pocket, he made some nice throws. But with a quarterback under constant pressure and little production from the running game, it’s not surprising to see Syracuse finish the season opener with just six points.
Defensively, the Orange deserve a fair amount of credit. The Syracuse 3-3-5 formation had Sam Howell and UNC befuddled for the first three quarters. The Orange defense eventually ran out of steam late in the game with the offense going three-and-out on most drives. However, there are reasons for the Syracuse defense to be optimistic coming out of the season opener.
Pittsburgh Panthers Preview
On the contrary, the Panthers are filled with optimism after their season opener. Pitt crushed FCS opponent Austin Peay 55-0, which impressed voters enough to move them to no. 25 in the polls. Of course, the easy win is behind them and the Panthers now have to play 10 straight games against ACC opponents, including five games with teams that are currently ranked.
As expected, senior quarterback Kenny Pickett had a strong season opener. However, over the past two seasons, Pickett amassed just 25 touchdown passes compared to 15 interceptions, so he’s not quite reached the upper-echelon of ACC quarterbacks. That being said, Pitt has always been a run-heavy team. Last year’s leading rusher A.J. Davis is back in the fold and should start to establish himself as the feature back against Syracuse.
Defensively, the Panthers were impressive but weren’t challenged much against Austin Peay. Of course, with eight starters back, there are high expectations for the Pitt defense in 2020. The Panthers averaged close to four sacks per game in 2019 and will start three seniors on the defensive line this year. The rest of the defense is in good shape, especially the safety tandem of Damar Hamlin and Paris Ford, which could be the best in the ACC and will help ensure the Panthers are tough against the pass as well as the run.
Syracuse vs Pitt Prediction
Syracuse is no doubt fighting an uphill battle against the Panthers, especially with the way their offensive line struggled last week. The 21.5-point spread makes it clear that Pitt is expected to win this game comfortably. Also, Syracuse has just one win over Pitt in the last seven years. Of course, only two of those games were decided by more than one score, as this rivalry has a history of close games.
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