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Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Betting Picks & Odds

Pittsburgh Steelers Latest odds, expert picks and season analysis

The Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of four games in a row, are very much alive. With the Baltimore Ravens losing on Thursday, the Steelers can actually pull into a tie for the AFC North lead.. First however, they have to beat the Detroit Lions, and do so without their starting quarterback.

That is their dilemma, as these teams line up at 1 p.m. Eastern at Heinz Field.

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Pittsburgh goes without Big Ben

Ben Roethlisberger has been put on the COVID-19 list and will not be available for this game. Roethlisberger says he is vaccinated, so that would mean he has had a “breakthrough” infection. So Pittsburgh will have to move ahead with a backup at quarterback. And they have someone with experience in that capacity in Mason Rudolph.

The second round draft pick in 2018 out of Oklahoma State hasn’t played yet this year, but he made one start last season and eight the year before that, as Roethlisberger was sitting out with an injury. He has thrown for 6.4 yards per attempt in his career. That’s not much, but it’s not far off with Big Ben has done this season. Remember that with his shoulder bothering him, Roethlisberger has short-armed the ball quite a bit. And he is down at the bottom of the NFL quarterbacks list (32nd, in fact) in terms of intended air yards.

Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Here are the numbers…

Let’s take a look at the NFL betting odds posted at BetOnline, which have the Steelers as favorites:

Lions+6 (-110)40½ (-110)+205
Steelers-6 (-110)40½ (-110)-255
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The Detroit Doldrums

Mercifully, the Lions got a bye week last Sunday. And that represented the only weekend of the season in which they did not lose. At 0-8 (4-4 ATS), this is kind of the rebuilding project that never ends. Management has conceded that this was going to be a process, but the last thing they want to endure is a second winless season. And maybe because of that, head coach Dan Campbell might be on the hot seat.

Campbell: Fiery, but not effective

Campbell, a former NFL tight end, has a lot of respect around the league. He is an animated personality, and he has gotten emotional at times about his team’s fate. Campbell was at one time the interim coach of the Miami Dolphins, and his enthusiasm got the team off to a couple of resounding wins. But then it all fizzled out, and he was gone after the end of the season.

Lions aren’t roaring

If you’re looking for guys who short-arm the ball, Jared Goff is your guy. He does not attack down the field, which is why the Rams traded him to Detroit in exchange for Matthew Stafford. But really, this is not the biggest problem for this team.

The Lions are last in the league in both points and yards allowed per drive. The 8.8 yards per attempt they allow is almost a yard more than the next worst team on the list, the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a banged-up secondary. What is also worst about their stop unit is that they have trouble stopping people from getting into the end zone when they are inside the 20. Opponents have an 83.3% success rate in scoring touchdowns in the red zone.

Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Betting Picks

While the Lions seem overly permissive, we are not completely confident that Rudolph can exploit that to its fullest. At least Roethlisberger has the veteran savvy and ability to make a big play once in a while. As it stands, we are not sure either team is going to make any big plays.

Yes, the Steelers have the better shot here, because they are more likely to stick with the ground game. That was an adjustment in approach that helped them win three straight before running into Chicago last week. Najee Harris was kind of inconspicuous last Monday night, in that narrow win. But remember that Detroit allowed Philadelphia to run for 236 yards the last time they were on the field. So all systems could be “go” for the Men of Steel.

As bad as Detroit’s defense is, they have still gone under in five of their last six games. With Pittsburgh a very real possibility to kill the clock, that might be the best way to go in this one.

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