Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets Pick 12/22/19
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6 SU, 9-5 ATS) vs. New York Jets (5-9 SU, 5-9 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 8:15PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Point Spread: PIT -3/NYJ +3 (SportsBetting.ag)
Over/Under Total: 38.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New York Jets in East Rutherford on Sunday in AFC action in week 16. Neither team had a really good time of it last week. The Jets, having seen some progress in recent weeks, saw that all get snuffed out in a 42-21 loss to the Ravens last Thursday. But in winning four of five games before that, they had started showing some fire, and they hope that resurfaces this week at home. They’ll need it against a Steelers team that suffered a bad Sunday Night Football loss at home in falling to the Bills, 17-10. But they have overcome adversity time and again this season and with a wild card still within sights, can they get back on the winning track in this tricky road-spot?
How to Look at the Steelers Coming off a Loss
For a team that was so hot, to fall at home on Sunday Night Football was a tough setback. Then again, it’s not going to be easy for the Steelers to deal with really good defensive teams, and they ran into one in the Bills on Sunday night. And in a game where their QB tossed four picks and in a game where they had five turnovers overall, a one-score loss wasn’t so bad. Sure, it makes it that much harder to forge a way to what a lot of people would have considered an impossible playoff spot, but it falls short of being able to say Pittsburgh hit a wall. Granted, they’re on the road this week, but this matchup should be more to their liking.
Still, it’s not going to be easy with this Pittsburgh offense. Maybe JuJu Smith-Schuster (questionable) will come back this week, but they’ve been working with a stripped-bare crew. Getting James Conner back will help, and with a week under his belt, maybe he can make more of an impact this week. But make no mistake, substandard quarterback play and an overall lack of firepower remains a significant hurdle to success for this team.
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Jets: On the Rise or Demoralized?
Time and again this season, we’ve learned to not hold a lopsided defeat to Baltimore against teams. In fact, it almost seems like throwing away those results would have been more helpful. And sure, the Jets looked bad, with the 42-21 win for the Ravens not even doing justice for what happened on the field. Leading into that game, the Jets had been thriving. It’s just hard to figure where this team stands. The wins came against Miami, Oakland, Washington, and the Giants. With losses in that mix to the Bengals and splitting two games with Miami, they deserve credit for making something happen after a 1-7 start, but there are still some harsh realities the Jets are ill-equipped to deal with. But I wouldn’t bank on a deflated Jets team in this spot.
Matchup Issues for the Jets
A defense that couldn’t assuage the Ravens last Thursday might fare better this week. One of the better run defenses in the league, the Jets have a lot of beef up front. The secondary isn’t as good, but the same can be said for the Pittsburgh aerial offense. This Jets’ defense can be stout on the right day without really making a ton of game-changing plays over the season. The Steelers aren’t prone to run any defenses over in their current state, and the Jets should be able to hold their own.
The same optimism doesn’t transfer to a Jets’ offense that hasn’t thrived against some of the more elite defenses they’ve faced. Some of their point-totals this season suggest a team that might be in trouble with a Steelers’ defense that hasn’t been giving up much lately. Not to dismiss Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell, and their various weapons, but it just hasn’t come off the way they expected it to, as there is nothing they do that great. With a sometimes-struggling O-line, Pittsburgh wields a lot of weapons for them to contain. With TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Cameron Heyward getting after the quarterback, 35 turnovers on the season, and a lot of balance against the pass and the run, this stands out as a significant hurdle for the Jets.
Jets at Home
The Jets can be gritty at home. There’s nothing unique about a team being better at home, but with the Jets, their home/away form-shift exceeds that of most teams. If looking at their road games, you see a team that is in the running for being the worst team in the league. At home, they’ve won three games in a row and have a much higher ceiling. Earlier in the season, they were embarrassed on occasion, and it could happen here, but if this isn’t that easy for Pittsburgh, it shouldn’t register much surprise. Other than week one, all of the Steelers’ road-games have been competitive contests. And after struggling to beat teams like the Cardinals and Bengals on the road in recent weeks, this game has the looks of another grind.
Take the Road Favorite
The Pittsburgh winning formula is a delicate recipe, as they’ve relied on their defense to nip close games. With two road games to close the season, they’re going to need the “D” to deliver. In this spot, I think it will. Having carried the team the whole season and facing one of the more-inept offenses in the league, this could be a week for them to shine. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s hard to lay points on this Steelers’ offense, but I see a win and cover this week for Pittsburgh.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers minus 3 points.