SNF Picks: Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills (9-4 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 15, 8:20 EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Point Spread: Buf +2.5 / Pitt -2.5 (Best Bonus)
Over/Under Total: 36.5
Sunday Night Football travels to Steel City for week 15 Sunday Night Football, with the Buffalo Bills paying a visit to the Steelers. For those of you that love high scoring, pass-happy football games, this will not be for you. This will be an old fashioned slugfest, and though these two teams may not be scoring on the field, they come into this game scoring for their bettors, having 2 of the best ATS records on the season. The sportsbooks are making the Steelers 2½ point favorites, with the total at a paltry 36.5. The play is to take the points with the visiting Bills. Here is the handicap.
Pittsburgh’s Offense Can’t Score Against Buffalo
Pittsburgh may have the worst offense in the NFL – at least their offense that will wear the black and gold in week 15. They have no play-makers at the skill positions, and their quarterback is an undrafted rookie free agent. Last week they went to Arizona to play the worst defense in the league and managed only one offensive touchdown and couldn’t eclipse 300 yards. With James Connor out, Pittsburgh trotted out four running backs that carried the ball 33 times for 132 yards. Devlin “Duck” Hodges has taken over the quarterback role, as Coach Mike Tomlin believes he has the best chance to “not kill his team”. While JuJu Smith-Shuster is nursing a knee injury, Hodges is throwing to Diontae Johnson and James Washington. Both have made some nice plays this year, but neither strike fear in the heart of defensive coordinators, especially when Duck is throwing them the ball. Buffalo’s defense will be able to shut down this offense. Smith-Shuster and Connor may return this week, but neither will be 100%, and neither have been elite players when they were on the field this year.
The Bills defense is one of the best in the league, allowing the third-fewest points in the league and boast the 6th best yards per play against. They held the Ravens to 257 total yards last week on 4.4 yards per play. Their weakness is against the run, but they limited the Ravens to 118 yards on 33 attempts. Buffalo is 8th in the league in sacks and has been playing better as the season has progressed. Lamar Jackson could only muster 16 completions and 145 passing yards against the Bills, but 3of those completions were touchdowns. Needless to say, Duck Hodges will not be confused with Lamar Jackson, and Buffalo will not have to concern themselves with Hodges’ elusiveness. I don’t expect the Steelers offense to score more than 10 or 14 points this week, so it will be up to their defense to win this game.
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Buffalo Can Score Against Pittsburgh
The Bills offense has been playing better as the season has rolled on. Their rushing offense ranks 5th in the league in yards per game, and Josh Allen is turning into a capable NFL quarterback. Rookie Devin Singletary leads the rushing attack averaging well north of 5 yards per carry. Allen is completing over 60% of his passes with 17 touchdowns. Allen is also 1 of the best running QBs in the league, averaging over 30 yards per game with eight rushing TDs. John Brown has provided a deep threat for Allen with Cole Beasly working underneath. Each has scored five touchdowns, with Brown averaging 14 yards per reception. The Bill offense should be able to sustain drives with their running game and have enough success in the passing game to get in the endzone and put 20 points on the board.
Pittsburgh’s defense is bringing back memories of the Steel Curtain years. They have held 4 of their last five opponents to less than 20 points, but those opponents were the Cardinals, Bengals, Browns (in Pittsburgh), and the Rams. Overall, the Steelers are 5th in fewest points and yards per play allowed. But the strength of this defense and what has made them special is their ability to take the ball away. They have 33 takeaways on the year, which leads the league. Those takeaways are generating points, including four defensive touchdowns. The key to the game is Buffalo not letting the Steelers take the ball away, and I think that will happen this week. Pittsburgh has to either score a defensive TD or get a short field to win this game, and I don’t think it happens.
Buffalo Is the Better Team
These teams both win their games the same way, score a few points, and hold their opponents to even fewer – but the Bills do it better. They have the same basic record, but Buffalo has outscored their opponents by 60 points on the year compared to the Steelers outscoring their opponents by only 17. Neither has played a challenging schedule, but the Bills are dominating when they play inferior competition while Pittsburgh is barely squeaking by even against bad teams. Pittsburgh has been waiting around for their opponents to make mistakes, which has continuously worked, but the Bills have only turned the ball over 13 times this year. Coach Sean McDermott will stress to his team to take care of the ball, which they have proven they are very capable of. The line implies these teams are even, but Buffalo is a better team.
Play the Bills +2.5
This game will go a long way towards determining who the AFC wild-card teams are. As long as Buffalo doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot and do something to lose the game, I doan’t think the Steelers can beat them. Play the Road Dog Bills in Pittsburgh. Attention football bettors! We have negotiated a special deal with one of the BEST sportsbooks on the web! Deposit $100 to $300 and receive a 100% REAL CASH bonus at MyBookie! Only a 5x rollover! This is THE BEST bonus on the web! (Must use bonus code PREDICT100)
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