We’ve made plenty of jokes about the quality of some of these Thursday Night games, but the NFL has gotten the last laugh with this Week 14 matchup between the Patriots and Steelers. The 30 total is the lowest we’ve seen in a primetime game in NFL history and somehow has nothing to do with the weather.
The 2-10 Patriots head into Pittsburgh after dropping their Week 13 game 6-0 against the Chargers. Although the media has forced this stat down everyone’s throats, I still find it appalling and worth repeating. The New England Patriots are the first team in NFL history to allow 10 or fewer points in three straight games and manage to lose each one of them.
Bailey Zappe had the reins at QB for the Pats and looked hapless against a Chargers defense that has struggled mightily all year. It didn’t help that RB Rhamondre Stevenson went down with an ankle sprain and is likely to miss multiple weeks. The Patriots didn’t find themselves in the red zone once during this game and the closest they came was the LAC 31 on the play where Rhamondre injured his ankle and fumbled.
Mind you, following this performance against the Pats, the Chargers are ranked 28th in defensive DVOA. The Patriots are facing a serious step up in class going up against this Steelers unit, currently ranked 5th in the league in defensive DVOA.
On the other side, the Steelers offense took a hit as well, as Kenny Pickett also went down with an ankle sprain. Mitch Trubisky will now suit up under center and while this isn’t a massive downgrade, I still view it as a downgrade. The Steelers offensive progression after the firing of OC Matt Canada was halted by horrible weather in a Week 13 game that featured multiple weather delays due to unplayable conditions.
It’s hard to knock down an already low unit after this performance, but the Trubisky news is enough. The Steelers are worthy of the 6-point favorite recognition in the market just based on how bad this Patriots team is. As implied by the total, I’m just not sure how anyone scores points in this game. I can only see this total continuing to trend under if it moves at all, as I’m just not sure how any respected money is going to touch the over at this point.
If you must pick a side, I’d lay the 6 with the Steelers in the hopes that Mitch Trubisky can do just enough to get the Steelers in field goal range a few times, or if the defense can come up with some turnovers to give Pittsburgh easy field position.
I’ll be targeting a couple alternate options in this one, starting with the Patriots team total. I’ll be splitting up 1.5% on this looking for the Steelers to hold them to just a few field goals if any. We’ll take a ladder on the under for the Patriots total points. DK currently is showing these prices:
Also, it could be a time to look into Draftkings’ “race to X” market. I don’t mind the “Neither” team getting to 15 points at +320 and “Neither” team to reach 20 points at +105.
I think this is an easy game to live bet as well, if the Steelers have any sense of normalcy in their offense against a Patriots defense that could just be sick of it at this point. If Trubisky looks decent under center, you can quickly look at some alternate spread numbers as it’s unlikely the Patriots will remain competitive.
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