NFL · Thu (12/9) @ 8:20pm ET
|U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1, 5-7 ATS) at Minnesota Vikings (5-7, 6-6 ATS)
PointsBet line: Vikings -3.5 (43.5)
The skinny: Two teams that in the past four weeks couldn’t beat the cellar-dwelling Detroit Lions meet in this interconference game with their realistic playoff hopes at stake.
Facts: The Vikings, who have yielded the most yards in the league the past six weeks, are coming off a 29-27 loss Sunday as a 7-point choice at winless Detroit. In Week 10, the host Steelers and Lions played to a 16-16 tie.
These teams haven’t met since Week 2 of 2017, when Minnesota emergency backup QB Case Keenum made his Vikings starting debut. The Steelers romped 26-9 as 9.5-point favorites, but the Vikings went 12-2 the rest of the way to the playoffs and the ensuing Minneapolis Miracle win over New Orleans.
Pittsburgh pass-rush wiz T.J. Watt came off the COVID list in the nick of time last week to get 3.5 sacks in a 20-19 home win over Baltimore, which increased his league-best sack total to 16 despite missing two games and parts of two others. He also helped put Lamar Jackson off-target with the Ravens QB’s desperation pass on a 2-point attempt with 18 seconds left. The Steelers totaled seven QB traps in the game, tied for second most by any NFL team this season.
Minnesota already has been without star RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder), the league’s seventh leading rusher despite playing only nine games (shoulder), who reportedly is highly unlikely to play this week. Add to that the absence of the team’s second-leading receiver Adam Thielen (doubtful, ankle), who got hurt early last week. While he was out Sunday, WR Justin Jefferson had career highs of 11 catches for 182 yards.
Uh-oh! Pittsburgh was 11-0 last year before having to face Washington and play on extra short rest like they are this week. WFT won 23-17 as a 6.5-point dog.
Steelers-Vikings Betting Analysis And Pick
How are the Vikings going to respond after their playoff hopes took a blind-side hit last week against 0-10-1 Detroit? Probably not too well. Since 2000 there have been eight instances in which a team lost to a squad that was winless with at least 10 defeats. In their next game, they went a collective 0-8 ATS, 2-6 SU.
In 2001, the Vikings were one of those teams. After falling to an 0-12 Lions team, they followed up with a 33-3 loss to Jacksonville as 3-point favorites.
If this trend holds, Minnesota will be ripe for defeat against a team that’s riding a high after last week’s win and are 6-2 when T.J. Watt is healthy, which he is.
One more thing: Underdogs in Vikings games are 9-2 ATS, with one pick ‘em.
Pick: Steelers 23, Vikings 17
Last week: 5-9 ATS, 8-6 SU
Season total: 91-100-3 (.476) ATS; 116-71-1 (.601) SU