In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds
Bills vs. Steelers Prediction
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Table of Contents
- Introduction & Team Review
- The Running Game
- The Passing Game
- Final Outlook & Prediction
- Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com
- Insiders' Best Bets
Last Updated: Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 11:31am EST
The two teams holding the wild card spots in the AFC take the field in prime time in the Steel City. The Buffalo Bills are on the road as they travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night. Buffalo comes in off a 24-17 home loss to Baltimore in their previous game last Sunday. Pittsburgh defeated Arizona 23-17 on the road in their previous contest last Sunday. The Steelers own a 14-8 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams and have won the last six matchups. That includes a 27-20 road win in the most recent matchup on December 11, 2016.
Buffalo Bills Review
Buffalo has been off to a strong start this season as they have found ways to win close games this season. The Bills are 9-3 on the year and have their best start since the Jim Kelly Super Bowl years: the problem is, they stand behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Buffalo opened the year with a come from behind 17-16 win over the Jets on the road and then dumped the Giants 28-13 in the same stadium in week 2. The Bills rallied for a 21-17 home win over Cincinnati in week 3 before falling 16-10 to New England at home for their lone loss in week 4. Buffalo earned a hard-fought 14-7 road win over Tennessee to head into the bye with momentum. Coming out of the bye, the Bills had a home date with winless Miami, prevailing 31-21 before getting drubbed 31-13 at home by the Eagles. Buffalo rebounded to down Washington 24-9 before losing at Cleveland 19-16. The Bills went to Miami and dropped the Dolphins (37-20) before stifling the Broncos (20-3) at home before beating Dallas (26-15) on the road in their first Thanksgiving appearance since 1994. That set the stage for their game with the Ravens.
Against Baltimore, Buffalo started slow and their offensive struggles ended up costing them the game. The Bills trailed 10-0 after a Josh Allen fumble set up the Ravens with a short field but chipped back to within 10-6 at the half. Miscommunication led to a 61-yard touchdown pass for the Ravens in the opening two minutes of the second half. The Bills trailed 24-9 with under 10 minutes to play before putting together a drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Cole Beasley. The ensuing two-point conversion made it a seven-point game with seven minutes to play. Buffalo got the ball back one final time and drove to the Baltimore 16. On fourth down, Allen’s pass to John Brown was broken up by Marcus Peters and the Ravens ran out the clock. Buffalo was outgained 257-209, gave up 18 first downs while picking up 16 and lost the time of possession 32:49 to 27:11 in the game. Both teams turned the ball over once.
Pittsburgh Steelers Review
Pittsburgh started the year about as poorly as one can only to turn things around since that point in time. The Steelers were 0-3 after losses to New England (33-3) and San Francisco (24-21) on the road sandwiching a 28-26 home loss to Seattle. Pittsburgh lost star QB Ben Roethlisberger for the season in Week 2 with an elbow injury, turning the offense over to Mason Rudolph. The Steelers rolled over the winless Bengals 27-3 for their first win of the season in week 4 before falling 26-23 in overtime to the Ravens to drop to 1-4. Pittsburgh lost Rudolph in that game with a concussion, leaving third-string Devlin Hodges to lead the team to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. The Steelers turned back Los Angeles 24-17 and that sparked the team. Pittsburgh came out of their bye with a 27-14 win on a Monday night at home against Miami followed by wins over the Colts (26-24) and the Rams (17-12) at home before losing to Cleveland (21-7) on a Thursday night. The Steelers bounced back with a 16-10 win at Cincinnati though that game came with a quarterback change. In their rematch with the Browns, the Steelers scratched out a 20-13 win to hold their spot in the playoff picture heading into Arizona.
Against the Cardinals, the Steelers got off to a 10-0 lead after the opening quarter before seeing the Cardinals rally. Pittsburgh took a 13-10 lead at the half and was up 20-10 after three quarters. After seeing Arizona cut the lead to three, the Steelers chewed up 5:02 to kick a field goal to go up six with under two minutes to play. The defense did its job and sealed the victory for Pittsburgh, rendering the last drive of the Cardinals a train wreck. Pittsburgh outgained Arizona 275-236, picked up 20 first downs while allowing 17 and held a time of possession margin of 31:54 to 28:06 in the game. The Steelers forced three takeaways, including two inside their own 30, while turning it over twice. Pittsburgh also scored on an 85-yard punt return by Diontae Johnson, which proved critical in the contest.
The Running Game
Buffalo Bills Running Offense
Pittsburgh Steelers Running Defense
Buffalo Bills Running Offense
Buffalo has found a way to recommit to the ground game and it has served them well this season. The Bills have gone over the 100-yard mark as a team 10 times and averaged at least four yards per carry in 10 of their games this season. In six of those games, Buffalo has run for at least 125 yards and they have averaged at least 4.9 yards per carry in seven of their 12 games this season. The Bills have run for at least 100 yards in each of their last four games, including a season-high 244 yard showing against the Broncos in week 12. Last week against Baltimore, Buffalo ran the ball 23 times for 104 yards.
Frank Gore is second on the Bills in rushing as he has run the ball 150 times for 558 yards and two scores on the season. Josh Allen contributes 95 carries for 439 yards and eight touchdowns while Devin Singletary (115 carries, team-high 642 yards, two TD) and T.J. Yeldon (10 carries, 45 yards) provide solid production when called upon. The Bills have 13 run plays that have covered at least 20 yards this season: Singletary has seven of those while Gore adds four on the year. Buffalo has moved the sticks 98 times via the ground this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers Run Defense
Pittsburgh has had their struggles stopping the ground game by the opposition as they have allowed more than 125 yards four times this season. Three of those contests came in a four-week span from weeks two through five in games against Seattle, San Francisco and Baltimore. In the last month, the Steelers have been tougher against the ground game as they have held two of their last four opponents under 100 yards. The Steelers gave up 24 carries for 106 yards to the Browns in their rematch before holding the Cardinals to just 71 yards on 22 carries last week
Linebacker Devin Bush has made a major impact defensively as the 10th overall pick leads the team with 88 tackles (54 solo) with one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries, including one for a score, this season. Terrell Edmunds (83 tackles), Mark Barron (69 tackles, fumble recovery), Joe Haden (58 tackles, forced fumble) and Cameron Heyward (64 tackles, forced fumble) are among the team leaders in tackles this season. T.J. Watt (41 tackles, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries) leads the team with 19 tackles for loss. Bud Dupree (55 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries) has 16 while Heyward adds 13 on the season. As a team, the Steelers have recorded 99 tackles for loss, forced 18 fumbles and recovered 15 with two fumble returns for scores this season.
- 7th in run play percentage (45.71 percent)
- 6th in rushing attempts per game (29.5)
- 5th in rushing yards per game (135.3)
- 9th in yards per carry (4.6)
- Tied for 14th in rushing TD (12)
- 21st in longest rush (41 yards)
- 18th in percentage of run plays against (41.53 percent)
- 20th in run plays per game against (26.8)
- 9th in rushing yards allowed per game (101.2)
- 5th in opposing yards per carry (3.8)
- Tied for 1st in rushing TD allowed (five)
- 6th in longest rush allowed (37 yards)
Who has the Edge?
Buffalo is more than capable of running the ball and they have pounded the rock against some pretty stout defenses. Pittsburgh is known for getting after the quarterback but their run defense can be attacked. The Bills' best course of attack is to try and move the ball on the ground to blunt some of the pass rush. Pittsburgh is going to do their best to put Buffalo behind the chains to avoid that sort of situation. In the end, Singletary and Gore, along with the mobility of Allen, gives Buffalo an edge here.
Advantage: Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers Running Offense
Buffalo Bills Running Defense
Pittsburgh Steelers Running Offense
Pittsburgh, despite having moved on from the whole Le’Veon Bell fiasco that plagued them all of last season, was unable to do much when it came to moving the sticks on the ground. The Steelers have been held under 85 yards in seven of their 13 games this season. Pittsburgh has only five 100-yard games this season. Three of those games have come in the last three weeks. Pittsburgh ran the ball 38 times for a season-high 159 yards against the Bengals in week 12 and followed that with 32 carries for 124 yards against the Browns. That was followed by a 35 carry, 140-yard showing against the Cardinals last week.
James Conner has been bottled up all season long despite leading the team in rushing yards. He has run the ball 102 times for 390 yards and four scores on the season but has been battling a shoulder injury in recent weeks. Reports are that he returns here after missing the last three games and five of the last six. Jaylen Samuels has 61 carries for 169 yards plus a score but missed a couple of weeks after knee surgery. Benny Snell Jr. (81 carries, 320 yards, TD) and Trey Edmunds (22 carries, 92 yards) have seen their share of action with the injury issues. Pittsburgh has nine running plays that have covered at least 20 yards this season: Snell Jr. leads the team with three while Conner and Devlin Hodges (18 carries, 65 yards) each have two. Kerrith Whyte (14 carries, 94 yards) along with Edmunds have one apiece. The Steelers have picked up 63 first downs via the ground game this season.
Buffalo Bills Run Defense
Buffalo has been pretty tough against the run this season despite allowing eight of 13 teams to crack the 100-yard mark this season. The Bills have an aggressive front seven that can plug holes and make life tough to find daylight. Seven of Buffalo’s 13 opponents have been limited to 3.8 yards or less per carry on the season. It’s been a bit of an issue in recent weeks as the team has allowed more than five yards a carry in five of the past seven games. However, the Bills have limited two of their last four opponents to under 100 yards. Buffalo gave up 118 yards on the ground to the Ravens last week but that was a season-low performance from Baltimore. The Bills held the Ravens to only 3.6 yards per carry in the game.
Tremaine Edmunds leads the Bills with 97 tackles (56 solo) this season from his inside linebacker spot. Jordan Poyer (90 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries), Matt Milano (83 tackles, fumble recovery), Levi Wallace (65 tackles) and Micah Hyde (63 tackles, two forced fumbles) each are among the team leaders in stops. Shaq Lawson (27 tackles) leads the team with 13 tackles for loss: Jordan Phillips (23 tackles, forced fumble) adds 12 while Edmunds adds 10 and Milano nine on the year. As a team, the Bills have 95 tackles for loss, 12 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries on the year.
- 9th in run play percentage (43.53 percent)
- 16th in rushing attempts per game (25.6)
- 24th in rushing yards per game (94.6)
- 26th in yards per carry (3.7)
- Tied for 26th in rushing TD (six)
- Tied for 17th in longest rush (45 yards)
- 11th in percentage of run plays against (39.2 percent)
- 8th in run plays per game against (24)
- 14th in rushing yards allowed per game (105.3)
- 21st in opposing yards per carry (4.4)
- Tied for 14th in rushing TD allowed (11)
- Tied for 21st in longest rush allowed (65 yards)
Who has the Edge?
There hasn't been the kind of explosion in the run game that you would expect from the Steelers this season. Conner has missed multiple games and is trying to get back in the mix this week. Pittsburgh has posted better numbers on the ground of late but it's not because the running backs suddenly got hot. It's more about volume: more carries means more potential yardage. Buffalo has tightened up on the ground game lately and they held the Ravens more than 80 yards below their league-leading average last week. Buffalo will challenge the run and force Hodges to make plays in the passing game.
Advantage: Buffalo Bills
The Passing Game
Buffalo Bills Passing Offense
vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense
Buffalo Bills Passing Offense
Thanks to their ability to move the ball effectively on the ground, the Bills haven’t had to rely a ton on the passing game. Buffalo hasn’t hit the 300-yard mark through the air this season but has gone over the 250-yard mark six times this season. After surrendering 20 sacks in the first seven games this season, the Bills have allowed only 14 in the last six weeks though 10 of those have come in the last two games. One other important stat: after tossing eight interceptions in the first five games of the year, the Bills have only one pick in the last eight games. Last week against Baltimore, Buffalo threw for 146 yards in the defeat.
Josh Allen is 242 of 405 passing for 2,737 yards with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season. He has been sacked 33 times for 197 yards in losses. Matt Barkley is nine of 16 for 127 yards with an interception: he has been sacked once for a loss of nine yards. John Brown leads the team with 64 receptions for 908 yards and five touchdowns this season: he also threw a 28-yard touchdown pass against Dallas on his lone attempt. Cole Beasley (59 receptions, 664 yards, six TD), Dawson Knox (26 catches, 344 yards, two TD), Isaiah McKenzie (23 catches, 236 yards, TD) and Singletary (26 grabs, 190 yards, TD) are other solid options to look for in the passing game. Duke Williams (six catches, 58 yards, TD) caught the winning touchdown against the Titans in week five but has been a non-factor since that point. The Bills have 44 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season: Brown leads the team with 14 while Beasley adds eight and Knox contributes six.
Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense
Pittsburgh had their problems containing the passing game in the first three games of the season before getting things into shape in the last couple of games. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick to the secondary after acquiring him from Miami has paid huge dividends. Five of the Steelers’ last seven opponents have thrown for less than 200 yards. That trend continued last week as the Steelers held the Cardinals to 194 yards through the air. After recording six sacks in their first three games combined, the Blitzburgh defense is back: they have at least four sacks in eight of their last 10 contests, making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
Watt leads the team with 12.5 sacks on the year. Dupree contributes 9.5 sacks while Heyward is right behind with eight sacks on the season. Haden leads the team with 15 pass defenses while Mike Hilton (52 tackles, sack, four tackles for loss, forced fumble) adds 10 while Minkah Fitzpatrick (46 tackles, forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, TD) contributes nine. Fitzpatrick has picked off five passes (TD) in his 11 games with the team to lead the way. Haden adds four while Watt and Bush each add two. Hilton, Trey Edmunds (five tackles, pass defense), Barron, Cameron Sutton (14 tackles, tackle for loss, five pass defenses) and Kameron Kelly (20 tackles, pass defense) each have one. As a team, Pittsburgh has recorded 48 sacks, 71 pass defenses and 18 interceptions, including one pick-six, this season.
- 26th in pass play percentage (54.29 percent)
- 30th in completion percentage (59.7)
- 27th in passing yards per game (206.6)
- Tied for 21st in TD passes (18)
- Tied for 12th in INT thrown (nine)
- 20th in net yards per pass attempt (6.4)
- 29th in longest pass play (51 yards)
- 21st in passer rating (85.7)
- 15th in pass play percentage against (58.47 percent)
- 5th in passing yards per game allowed (209.8)
- 10th in completion percentage allowed (62)
- 19th in TD passes allowed (21)
- 2nd in INT (18)
- 1st in sacks (48)
- 5th in passer rating allowed (81.2)
- 5th in net yards per pass attempt (6.2)
Who has the Edge?
This is going to be a test for Allen and the Buffalo offensive line. Ty Nsekhe remains out, which puts rookie Cody Ford at right tackle once again. The scheme that Wink Martindale called for the Ravens last week with plenty of Cover Zero helped generate six sacks and a ton of hits. It helped that Allen airmailed a few passes, while there were a few flat out drops as well. Pittsburgh is going to get after Allen and they have a solid secondary group. The Steelers get the edge here.
Advantage: Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense
Buffalo Bills Passing Defense
Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense
Pittsburgh has tried to move the ball through the air but having injuries to their quarterback group and inconsistent production from their receivers have hampered them this season. The Steelers have to try to get healthy and find a way to develop some chemistry in a hurry if they hope to stay in the mix for a playoff berth. Pittsburgh threw for 276 yards in the opener against the Patriots but things have sputtered a bit since then. That was the high-water mark offensively through the air for them this season. In the last month, Pittsburgh’s best showing was 242 yards against the Rams. Last week against Arizona, the team finished with 152 yards through the air.
Ben Roethlisberger was 35 of 62 for 351 yards with no touchdowns and an interception before suffering an elbow injury that ended his season. Mason Rudolph is 162 of 263 for 1,636 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine picks: he missed the game against the Chargers after suffering a concussion against Baltimore. Devlin Hodges is 57 of 82 for 682 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He is going to make his fourth career start here. Samuels is four of five for 35 yards with an interception running out of the Wildcat formation. JuJu Smith-Schuster is second on the team with 38 receptions for 524 yards plus three scores. He’s missed the last couple of weeks with a knee injury and is questionable here. Conner (30 receptions, 242 yards, two TD), Diontae Johnson (42 catches, 483 yards, four TD), Samuels (41 receptions, 252 yards, TD) and Vance McDonald (33 grabs, 245 yards, three TD) are solid secondary options in the passing game. The Steelers have 31 pass plays that have covered at least 20 yards this season. James Washington (34 catches, 611 yards, three TD) leads the team with 11. Smith-Schuster adds seven while Conner and Johnson both have four.
Buffalo Bills Passing Defense
Buffalo has been stout against the pass this season as they have been good at forcing opposing quarterbacks to make throws that were off the mark. The Bills have allowed just two 300-yard passing games this season though they’ve come in the last four weeks. On the plus side, most of the yards they allowed were empty ones as it was the Dolphins (323 yards in Week 11) and Dallas (355 in week 13) going over the mark. Large chunks of those yards came when the games were well in hand. Buffalo did a solid job keeping the Baltimore passing game in check as they allowed just 145 yards through the air.
Phillips leads the Bills with 7.5 sacks this season while Lawson adds 5.5 and Ed Oliver (33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, forced fumble, two pass defenses) is next in line with five. Tre’Davious White (54 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, sack, two forced fumbles) leads the team with 15 pass defenses. Milano is next in line with nine while Lorenzo Alexander (48 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, forced fumble) adds nine of his own. White has four interceptions to lead the team. Hyde, Edmunds, Poyer, Star Lotulelei (13 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, pass defense) and Trent Murphy (25 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass defenses, forced fumble, two fumble recoveries) each have one pick. As a team, the Bills have 38 sacks, 74 pass defenses and nine interceptions this season.
- 24th in pass play percentage (56.47 percent)
- 16th in completion percentage (62.9)
- 31st in passing yards per game (195.5)
- Tied for 23rd in TD passes (16)
- Tied for 23rd in INT thrown (13)
- 22nd in net yards per pass attempt (6.2)
- 9th in longest pass play (79 yards)
- 26th in passer rating (81.8)
- 22nd in pass play percentage against (60.8 percent)
- 3rd in passing yards per game allowed (191.5)
- 8th in completion percentage allowed (61.9)
- 3rd in TD passes allowed (12)
- Tied for 18th in INT (nine)
- Tied for 9th in sacks (38)
- 3rd in passer rating allowed (79.9)
- 3rd in net yards per pass attempt (5.6)
Who has the Edge?
Much like Allen, Hodges is a young quarterback who has been thrust into the starting role thanks to injury (Roethlisberger) and inconsistency (Rudolph) this season. He has less experience than Allen does and Buffalo is one of the league's stingiest defenses against the pass. White is a lockdown corner while Hyde and Poyer are one of the league's most underrated safety duos. Buffalo can get pressure of their own and that's something that the Steelers have to watch for. It's going to be a challenge for either side to do much through the air.
Advantage: Buffalo Bills
Buffalo is slightly below average, ranking 20th in the league in scoring offense as they put up 21.1 points per game on the season. The Bills are 20th in the league in total offense with 341.9 yards per game and stand 19th in yards per play with 5.3 yards per snap. Buffalo is rock solid defensively, ranking 2nd in the league in scoring defense as they give up an average of 16.3 points per contest. The Bills are 3rd in total defense as they allow only 296.8 yards per game and are 4th as they give up 4.8 yards per play. Buffalo is tied for 11th in the takeaway/giveaway department as they are a +2 on the season.
The Bills are 10th in red zone success as they have cashed in 61.11 percent of their drives that got inside the opposition’s 20-yard line into touchdowns. Buffalo is 20th in red zone defense as they have limited opposing teams to a 58.82 percent success rate as far as scoring touchdowns goes. Buffalo is in the middle of the pack in extending drives as they are 18th in the league by converting 36.99 percent of their third-down situations. The Bills are above average in getting off the field as opposing teams have converted 34.5 percent of their third downs, which is currently 6th in the league. Buffalo is 11th in the league in time of possession as they hold the ball 50.98 percent of the time.
Stephen Hauschka has connected on 26 of 28 extra point tries and 18 of 24 field goal attempts with a long of 51 this season. Corey Bojorquez has averaged only 42.3 yards per punt on 54 boots: his net average is a dreadful 37.6 yards this season. He has had one punt blocked while dropping 27 punts inside the opposing 20-yard line with seven touchbacks. Andre Roberts has averaged 26.8 yards on 21 kick returns with a long of 66 and 7.5 yards on 26 punt returns with a long of 22. Micah Hyde has averaged 23.5 yards on two returns: that includes an onside kick return against Miami that went for 45 yards for a score. He has averaged 5.3 yards on three punt returns with a long of 10 this season. Darryl Johnson (nine tackles, sack, 1.5 tackles for loss) blocked a field goal attempt against the Titans in week five while Lotulelei blocked a field goal try by Dallas in week 13.
Pittsburgh is 23rd in the league in scoring offense as they put up 19.9 points per game on the season. The Steelers are 28th in the league in total offense with 290.1 yards per game and stand 27th in yards per play with 4.9 yards per snap. Pittsburgh is 6th in the league in scoring defense as they give up an average of 18.6 points per contest. The Steelers are 5th in total defense as they allow 310.9 yards per game and stand 5th as they give up 4.9 yards per play. Pittsburgh is 2nd in the takeaway/giveaway department as they are a +12 on the season.
The Steelers are a dismal 32nd in red zone success as they have cashed in 34.29 percent of their drives that got inside the opposition’s 20-yard line into touchdowns. Pittsburgh is 9th in red-zone defense as they limit opposing teams to a 51.28 percent success rate as far as scoring touchdowns go. Pittsburgh is 25th in the league in third-down conversions as they have converted 34.62 percent of their situations this season. The Steelers are near the top of the pack in regard to getting off the field as opposing teams have converted 35.98 percent of their third downs, which is 11th in the league. Pittsburgh is 20th in the league in time of possession as they hold the ball 48.84 percent of the time.
Chris Boswell has hit all 25 extra point attempts and 26 of 28 field goal attempts with a long of 51 this season. Jordan Berry has averaged 46.1 yards per punt (41-yard net average) on 57 punts with a long of 62 this season. He has dropped 19 punts inside the 20-yard line with three touchbacks on the year. Ryan Switzer has averaged 18.4 yards on nine kick returns with a long of 26 while he’s averaged 3.6 yards on eight punt returns this season. Johnny Holton averages 18.3 yards on three kick returns with a long of 21 while Diontae Johnson has a 12.6-yard return on his 13 punt returns this season. He ran a punt back 85 yards for a score against Arizona in week 14. Cameron Heyward blocked an extra point against the Colts in week nine.
Who has the Edge?
Both teams have their pros and cons in this department. The defenses are nothing short of sensational as they are top-five scoring defenses. Both sides make it tough to have extended drives and they make you work for every yard. Pittsburgh is good at protecting the ball and not turning it over, as noted by their ranking in the giveaway/takeaway department. Buffalo has gotten better in that department as the majority of their giveaways came in September. The Bills have just four turnovers in their last nine games after committing 10 in the first four. Pittsburgh's red zone struggles are a big thing here as Buffalo is good in the red zone. The Steelers get the nod in the kicking game but all things considered, this is pretty much a wash.
We're looking at what should be a good, old-fashioned slugfest. There's not going to be a game like the 49ers and Saints from last week in this one. Expect a lot of the run game in chilly temperatures in the Steel City. Buffalo is looking for their first 10-win season since 1999 when Doug Flutie was still the starting quarterback. The Bills are 5-1 on the road for the first time since 1966 and they had a chance at being 6-0 had Hauschka not missed a pair of field goals against Cleveland. Buffalo knows their scenario is simple to make the postseason. All they have to do is win one of their last three games. Pittsburgh is fighting to stay in the picture, which is impressive considering they started 0-3 and are playing their third-string QB.
According to Covers.com, the Bills are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss and 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 road games. Pittsburgh has gone 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game. Pittsburgh had their struggles last week to put up points against an Arizona team ranked dead last in total defense and 30th in scoring defense. This is a much tougher mountain to climb. Take the points and the Bills as they punch their ticket to the postseason.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills +2Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com
Additional Insiders' Best Bets
Full-game Total Bet
We know that points are likely going to be at a premium in this contest. The Bills have held nine opponents under the 20 point mark this season while Pittsburgh has done that seven times on the year. Buffalo has scored more than 30 points twice, both against Miami, while Pittsburgh's season high is 27 points. They attained that mark against Miami and Cincinnati. Should we really expect anything different from these teams from the Rust Belt in mid-December?
The under is 4-0 in the Bills' last 4 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game and 6-0 in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Pittsburgh has seen the under go 5-0 in their last five overall and 4-0 in their last four after a straight up victory. Expect a lot of hard hitting and methodical drives that don't necessarily do a ton. This one falls under the mark as 17 points may be enough to get a win.
Half-time Side Bet
Buffalo is just 21st in first half scoring this season with an average of 10.2 ppg this season. The Bills do carry a +2.7 ppg scoring differential in the first half this season. On the other side of the equation, Pittsburgh is tied for 23rd in first half scoring output with 9.5 ppg this year. The Steelers hold a -0.3 ppg scoring differential in the opening half of games this season. Take the half-point and the Bills because if the game's tied, you're still a winner here.
Half-time Total Bet
Buffalo is tied for the league lead in first half scoring defense as they allow a paltry 7.5 ppg in the first 30 minutes of action this season. That, coupled with their offensive output, generates a total of 17.7 ppg in the first half of games this year. Pittsburgh is seventh in first half scoring defense by allowing 9.8 ppg this season. With their offensive production, their first half on average sees 19.3 ppg on the year. Two hard-hitting defenses keep the points at a premium and this one falls short of the mark.