Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS, 1-6 O/U) vs. Detroit Lions (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, 5-1 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 8:30 p.m. EST
The Line: Pittsburgh Steelers -3. Total: 45.
The Detroit Lions are coming off their bye week as they head into a home date with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ford Field on Sunday night. Detroit is the midst of a two-game losing streak that has come at the hands of Carolina and New Orleans. The Steelers have won two in a row at the expense of Kansas City and Cincinnati.
Since Roethlisberger’s disastrous five-interception performance in a 30-9 loss to Jacksonville, Pittsburgh is 2-0 and its veteran signal-caller has three touchdown passes while only getting picked off once. Over the past two weeks, Roethlisberger is averaging 9.7 yards per pass attempt. He had previously averaged just 6.5 in that department through five games. Similarly, running back Le’Veon Bell is helping out to a greater extent. After being held to 371 yards on 3.6 yards per carry during the first five weeks, Bell has rushed for 313 yards on 4.7 yards per carry in his last two outings. As for the defense, it limited Kansas City and Cincinnati to respective rushing totals of 28 and 71 yards. Pittsburgh had previously been giving up 137 yards per game on the ground.
“The sky’s the limit,” linebacker Bud Dupree said following last weekend’s 29-14 victory over the Bengals. “Not even the sky’s the limit. We’re not going to put a ceiling on our head. We’re going to keep going up.”
Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Lions are averaging a respectable 26.8 points per game. Their offense has accounted for only 14 of the 19 touchdowns and they rank 26th in the NFL in total offense at 298.0 yards per contest. Detroit is 30th in the league with a 4.6 yards-per-play clip. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is in the midst of his worst season in the last three years and he has especially struggled this month. In October, Stafford is 67-for-118 (56.8 percent) and averaging 250 passing yards per outing with five touchdowns and three interceptions. For the season as a whole, the former UGA Bulldog is averaging 237.0 yards per game with 12 TDs and four INTs.
Detroit’s running game, as usual, has not done anything to take the pressure off of its gunslinger. The Lions are 26th in the league with 86.0 yards per game on the ground and they have exceeded the 100-yard mark in that department only once.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are:
- 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 overall
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games
- 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game
The Detroit Lions are:
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last five home games
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records
Detroit leading receiver Golden Tate is dealing with a shoulder injury and is not expected to play on Sunday. That leaves Marvin Jones Jr. (20 catches for 280 yards and three touchdowns) as Stafford’s No. 1 option. Stafford has turned the ball over six times over the past two weeks. He had previously committed just one turnover through four outings. For the Steelers, meanwhile, Bell appears to be hitting his stride after missing training camp as part of a holdout. Pittsburgh is 11-5-1 ATS in its last 17 overall, 7-3 ATS in its last 10 on the road, and 8-2-1 ATS in its last 11 after rushing for more than 150 yards in its previous outing. The Lions are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 overall, 1-4 ATS in their last five at home, 1-6 ATS in their last seven against winning opponents, and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 on fieldturf. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -3
Fortunately for the Lions, they have stayed afloat thanks to an opportunistic and bend-but-don’t-break defense. They have have forced 14 turnovers–nine interceptions and five fumbles recoveries–and have recorded 13 sacks. The under is 22-8 in the Steelers’ last 30 overall, 20-6 in their last 26 on the road, 6-1 in their last seven on fieldturf, 35-16-1 in their last 52 following a win, and 8-1 in their last nine in Week 8. It is also 4-0 in the Lions’ last four following a bye week and 4-0 in their last four after scoring more than 30 points in their previous outing. Look for this one to stay under the total.