PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-2)
at DETROIT LIONS (3-3)
Ford Field Ė Detroit, MI
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:25 p.m. ET
Line: Pittsburgh -3.0, Total: 44.5
The Lions will be trying to get over the .500 mark with a victory over the Steelers on Sunday.
A 30-9 home loss against the Jaguars on Oct. 8 had a lot of people worrying about the Steelers, but this team is just fine. Pittsburgh has won-and-covered in each of its past two games, and those wins came over Kansas City and Cincinnati. The victory over the Chiefs also happened to come in Arrowhead Stadium, which is one of the toughest places to play in football. The Lions, meanwhile, are struggling coming into this one. Detroit is coming off of its bye week, but the team had lost two straight prior to that. The Lions know that this game is extremely important if they want to eventually end up in the playoffs. One trend that favors the Steelers when looking at this game is the fact that they are 28-15 ATS after gaining 400 or more total yards in their previous game under head coach Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh is also, however, a miserable 15-25 ATS in road games off of a home win under Tomlin. And if those trends arenít bad enough for Detroit, the Lions are also a lousy 4-10 ATS as a home underdog with Matt Stafford under center for them.
The Steelers have a chance to improve to 6-2 on Sunday and they know how important that is for their football team. Things havenít been perfect for Pittsburgh this year, but the team has seemingly found itself over the past two weeks. One guy that has definitely gotten himself going is RB LeíVeon Bell. Over the past two weeks, Bell has rushed for a total of 313 yards and a touchdown. He has also hauled in six passes for 70 yards. Bell is the best running back in football, but he definitely didnít play like it in the opening weeks of the season. Pittsburgh is ecstatic that he has found his footing now and he should be able to turn in a big performance in this one. As for the passing game, expect of heavy dose of QB Ben Roethlisberger throwing to WR Antonio Brown. Brown has already caught 52 passes for 765 yards with three touchdowns this season. That puts him on pace for a ridiculous 119 catches and 1,749 yards. Nobody in the league can stop him and itís hard to imagine Detroit doing it here. On defense, the Steelers really just need to make sure they get some pressure on Stafford here. He is still prone to making some bad decisions and Pittsburgh needs to try to force that.
The Lions can really use a victory on Sunday, but itís not going to be easy. This defense is going to need to be a lot better than usual. Pittsburghís offense is capable of beating teams in a number of ways, so Detroit must come ready to defend in every level. And on offense, the Lions will need to be ready to score enough points to win a potential shootout here. That means that QB Matt Stafford canít play the way he did against the Saints last game. The Lions might have scored 38 points in that game, but Stafford threw three picks in that one. If he is going to turn the ball over like that here then Detroit will have no chance of winning this game. The good news is that he has only thrown four interceptions on the year, so itís not like itís a common occurrence that he is that inaccurate. It would help Stafford if RB Ameer Abdullah were to find a way to be effective in this one, though. Abdullah is very hot-and-cold for this team, but one would think that the Lions found a good way to scheme for him in the bye week. If he rushes for 90 or so yards then the Lions will have a shot.