Patriots fans had to deal with an inept offense for the majority of the 2023 NFL season, and a national audience gets to suffer with them in a peak “Thursday Night Football” matchup.
It’s probably befitting Al Michaels gets to call a New England-Pittsburgh Steelers game after the thriller the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks delivered last Thursday.
This is a matchup featuring two bottom-10 offenses and above-average defenses. Both sides will rely on their backup quarterbacks, but the Steelers still are in the playoff hunt, so they will come in plenty motivated to get the job done.
New England isn’t necessarily tanking, but another loss would help the Patriots secure a top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The offense unintentionally helped out in that effort when it went three straight games scoring seven points or less heading into Week 14. Bill Belichick’s defense did its job holding opponents to 10 points or less during that stretch, but the Patriots made history by losing those games.
Despite the ugly matchup, there likely still will be millions watching because no matter how bad the NFL product can be, people will watch regardless. If you are watching, you can at least try to make some educated wagers.
Ezekiel ElliottNE – RB
New England Patriots at (-6) Pittsburgh Steelers
When: Thursday, Dec. 7 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Where: Acrisure Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.
BETTING TRENDS TO KNOW
The Patriots are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games as an underdog, according to VSiN. New England also is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games against an AFC opponent, and it went under the total in five of its last seven games against an AFC opponent. The Patriots are 6-1 to the under in their last seven games against Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 4-11-2 in their last 17 games against the Patriots. But Pittsburgh is 8-2 ATS against teams with a losing record.
PATRIOTS PROP TO CONSIDER
Ezekiel Elliott over 15.5 rush attempts (-130) — The only other running backs expected to dress for New England are Ty Montgomery — who mostly has been used as a wide receiver — and JaMycal Hasty — who primarily is a special teams player. It should be the Elliott show with Rhamondre Stevenson out with an injury. How efficient the offense will be is irrelevant as the Patriots likely will hammer Elliott with touches to try to slow down T.J. Watt and the Steelers pass rush.
STEELERS PROP TO CONSIDER
George Pickens over 40.5 receiving yards (-113) — Trusting Mitch Trubisky is something no one should ever do, but we’re simply trusting the veteran to throw the ball to his best wide receiver. Pickens eclipsed this mark in four of the last five games, and while New England’s scoring defense has played well, it’s still a unit that can give up chunk plays, which is what Pickens’ role on the offense is.
PICK: Patriots +6 (-115)
We’re going down with a team that is a six-point underdog in a matchup with a 30.5-point total. Pittsburgh’s highest margin of victory this season has been seven points. New England has been beaten down by opponents by more than seven points, but except for the New Orleans Saints, they’ve been beaten down by good offenses. Pittsburgh is nowhere near a good offense, and with Mike Tomlin’s conservative approach to fourth downs and his tendency to kick field goals, that should keep Bailey Zappe and the offense in the game to at least keep the game close.