Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions Predictions: Will TJ Watt Take Over?
The Detroit Lions are the only winless team left in the league and want nothing more than to get in the win column and erase any doubts that this season will end up like their 2008 0-16 campaign. Will the bye week last week be any aid in helping them upset the Steelers? Or will Pittsburgh improve the winning team from Monday Night Football’s record to 9-0 the following week?
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds
Date: Sunday, November 14
Game Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: FOX
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions Injury Report
Questionable: RB Jamaal Williams, CB AJ Parker
OUT: G Logan Stenberg, CB Corey Ballentine, WR Quintez Cephus, C Frank Ragnow
Questionable: TE Eric Ebron, WR Chase Claypool
OUT: DT Carlos Davis, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, DE Tyson Alualu
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions Prediction
Detroit has a massive scheduling advantage in this game, as they are coming off a bye week while the Steelers played a grueling, hard-fought game on Monday night. The Lions have a lot to figure out offensively, as they rank at or near the bottom in nearly every offensive category. Jared Goff has yet to shed the label of a quarterback that can win outside of head coach Sean McVay’s system, as he is 0-15 in his career under coaches other than McVay. In addition, his 11-game losing streak as a starter is the longest of any active quarterback.
Pittsburgh nearly made history of the wrong kind last night, after almost blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead. The Steelers entered yesterday 214-0-2 in their previous 216 games, where they led by 14 or more points in the fourth quarter. However, Ben Roethlisberger engineered his 50th career game-winning drive to help avoid an upset loss to the Bears. As a result, Pittsburgh became the first franchise to reach 50 wins on Monday Night Football, and they have now won 19 straight at home on Monday nights.
Much will be made of the fact that the Steelers allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter to the Bears after allowing just six through the first three quarters. However, Pittsburgh was in complete control of the game leading 23-13 and getting the ball back with six minutes left when they fumbled a punt return that led directly to a Chicago touchdown. Had the Steelers not gifted the Bears seven points in that situation, they would have been in a position to milk the clock and walk away with an easy victory.
While Pittsburgh is far superior to Detroit in every facet, a point spread wager is risky as we do not know what Lions team will show after the bye week. In addition, Pittsburgh’s win in Week 9 was a costly one, as second-leading wide receiver Chase Claypool had an MRI to evaluate the extent of a toe injury he suffered. In addition, Robert Spillane and Cam Heyward are dealing with ankle injuries, while Isaiah Buggs was diagnosed with a hip injury after the game. Lastly, defensive end Stephon Tuitt remains on IR, while it is debatable whether or not the team will activate Zach Banner and Anthony McFarland off IR this week.
If Claypool cannot play this week, the Steelers will give the Lions defense a healthy dose of Najee Harris. Harris entered last week, averaging 23.6 touches per game, which ranked second in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s four-game winning streak was heavily predicated on better offensive line play opening up more holes in the running game, as the team went from roughly a 25% rushing percentage through the first four games (in which they went 1-3) to rushing nearly 50% of the time. However, Ben Roethlisberger already has the quickest release in the league at 2.37 seconds. Without a downfield threat like Claypool to account for, not only will the Lions stack the box with extra defenders, but their secondary will sit on the quick hitch and out routes.
Therefore, the safest bet is the under. T.J. Watt is coming off a mammoth game where he tied his career-high with three sacks. He now has 61 career sacks, making him the fourth-fastest player to reach that plateau since sacks became a statistic in 1982. The Lions already have a compromised offensive line with center Frank Ragnow and right tackle Tyrell Crosby on IR.
Look for the Steelers defenders to live in Detroit’s backfield and for the under to cash for the sixth time in the last seven games that Detroit has been underdogs and the seventh time in Pittsburgh’s last nine games overall.