TNF picks: Patriots vs Steelers Predictions, Props and SGP (+850)
Alex Buck makes his TNF picks and predictions for Patriots at Steelers in Week 14. Plus, best tips on props and SGPs.
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Patriots vs. Steelers Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - NFL Odds Week 14
Moneyline: New England Patriots +210, Pittsburgh Steelers -264
Spread: Patriots +6 (-110), Steelers -6 (-110)
Total: Over/Under 30.5 points
NFL Schedule Week 14 – Game Info - Patriots at Steelers
2023 NFL Regular Season Game
New England Patriots (2-10) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
Date: Thursday Dec. 7
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Venue: Acrisure Stadium, in Pittsburgh, Pa.
TV Channel: Prime Video
Live Stream: FuboTV
The New England Patriots head to Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football. Both teams have faced challenges at the quarterback position over the past few weeks, and that issue is expected to be a factor in this prime-time game.
The Patriots will now almost certainly look to select a quarterback early in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, since Mac Jones' time as the franchise QB is clearly coming to an end. The Pats have been alternating between Jones and backup Bailey Zappe, but it seems they have now made the decision to designate Zappe as their starter -- at least for the foreseeable future.
The Steelers, meanwhile, lost their No. 1 quarterback last week under different circumstances, as Kenny Pickett went down with an ankle injury that required surgery. He could be sidelined for four weeks, so it will now be up to backup Mitch Trubisky to step in and maintain the Steelers' position in the playoff picture as the regular season draws toward a close.
Patriots vs. Steelers Preview
It’s hard to look at this matchup and not imagine a defense-first game, and the oddsmakers seem to agree with that view. The 30.5-point over/under line is notably low by NFL standards and appears entirely fitting for this week's Thursday night game on Amazon Prime.
The New England Patriots currently rank last in the NFL in points per game this season, averaging a dismal 12.3. Remarkably, this team is scoring fewer points than the New York Giants.
The Patriots are having a tough time on offense. Their scheme seems dull, and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien hasn't come up with anything new to spark his players. There is a clear lack of talent at wide receiver, and the quarterbacks are struggling to score and making too many mistakes in crucial moments.
At the end of this season, the Patriots will need to take a long look at the roster. They will likely decide to tear it down and start again. Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster as their highest-paid wide receiver hasn't worked out. In addition, tight ends Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki lack consistency, and the offensive line needs improvement.
Patriots fans shouldn’t just point a finger at their quarterbacks when it comes to the team’s offensive struggles, and I think QB Mac Jones takes more than his fair share of blame. He makes mistakes, but not many quarterbacks could thrive in the situation he's dealing with right now.
On Thursday night, the Patriots will face a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that has a talented pass rush headlined (of course) by linebacker T.J. Watt.
Watt limped off the field with an apparent ankle injury during last Sunday’s loss to Arizona. He went into the medical tent for an evaluation and was then in and out of the game for the remainder of the fourth quarter
Despite the short week of practice, Watt is expected to be at full strength on Thursday night, and this is one game that he could star in against a struggling Patriots offense.
Watt has 15 sacks this season and has also forced three fumbles. His fellow linebacker, Alex Highsmith, gets in on the action in the opposing team’s backfield, too. The Steelers’ front seven can be a problem for any NFL team when they are on their game.
The question for Pittsburgh, as well as New England, is whether its offense will be able to find any level of consistency in this game. Mitch Trubisky replaced the injured Kenny Pickett at quarterback for the Steelers last Sunday, and went on to complete 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown to receiver Diontae Johnson.
Unlike New England QBs Jones and Bailey Zappe, Trubisky has legitimate weapons at his disposal. Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth has been a welcome addition since coming back from an injury, while receiver George Pickens is capable of a big play at any given moment. Johnson, who connected with Trubisky last week, is still a top receiver despite clashing with his own teammates multiple times this year.
The Steelers’ running game has been the team’s saving grace on offense in 2023, and while fantasy football owners debate the value of running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, the Steelers are simply enjoying the combined production they get from both guys.
Having two backs who can carry the football 15-plus times per game gives the Steelers the ability to extend drives when their passing game runs cold, and their offensive line is getting more push this year than it has over the last couple of seasons, too.
Patriots vs. Steelers Predictions and Pick
This could be a very quiet game in terms of scoring, and the fact that I’m still struggling to see the over cash on such a low total is quite telling. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is for the Patriots right now, because they can’t seem to score more than seven points in a game.
Over the past three games, New England has scored a total of 13 points. That's disappointing, especially considering that the Pats were just shut out last Sunday by the Los Angeles Chargers, a team with one of the worst defenses in football and which has given up lots of points this season.
Pittsburgh’s front seven will be disruptive, and I don’t see a path to 14 points for the Patriots. They have cashed four straight unders over their last four games, and are only 3-9 this season on overs.
The Pick: Under 30.5 Points (-110)
I think the Steelers will cover the spread here, but it will be close. Pittsburgh should score 14 to 17 points, and if the Steelers do that, they only need to hold the Patriots to seven or fewer. Given the strength of their defense -- and the game-wrecking ability of T.J. Watt and Co. up front – I would expect to see a turnover or two from the Patriots’ offense.
That could set up a short field for Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky, and even if it results in a field goal or two, that could be the difference that cashes the spread for the Steelers.
The Patriots face a challenging situation -- a night game on the road at Pittsburgh in December. Combine the Steelers’ strong home crowd with New England’s recent struggles in the scoring department, and I’m taking the Steelers.
The Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -6.5 (-110)
Best NFL Player-Prop Bets Today for Patriots @ Steelers
New England quarterback Bailey Zappe has now attempted 64 passes this season, including 25 in his first start of the year last weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers. He has yet to throw a touchdown pass in 2023, and I don’t see why that would change on the road against the Steelers.
As mentioned above, the Chargers’ defense has been subpar all year in allowing 265 passing yards and more than 21 points per game. Zappe threw 13 completions against them, totaling 141 yards, but had zero touchdowns.
DeVante Parker was the only Patriots receiver with more than 15 receiving yards last weekend, while other such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Hunter Henry, and Tyquan Thornton all failed to impact the game. There isn’t a difference-maker on this offense whom I could see scoring on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Warren has emerged as a breakout NFL running back this season, and he is now splitting carries with fellow RB Najee Harris in Pittsburgh’s 1-2 backfield punch. These two have formed a great partnership and are wearing down defenses together, supported by a budding offensive line that has added a few pieces.
Steelers rookie tackle Broderick Jones, a first-round pick out of Georgia, is making his presence felt. He was advertised as a talented run blocker who can shut out defenders when blocking downfield. We’re starting to see more of that as the season wears on, and it's one of the reasons the Steelers are running the football much better in 2023.
Jaylen Warren broke the 100-yard rushing barrier in Weeks 10 and 11 against the Packers and Browns, and he has cleared 50 yards over the two games that followed that outburst. His rushing total for this game is set at 44.5 yards, and with Pickett out -- and the Steelers likely controlling possession -- this might be my favorite line of the week.
Best Same-Game Parlay Picks for Patriots vs. Steelers Week 14: 3-Leg Parlay Pick (+850)
Leg 1: Under 30.5 Points (-110)
Anytime Touchdown Scorer
Leg 3: Jaylen Warren anytime touchdown scorer (+170)
Odds are subject to change*
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