Major playoff implications are on the line for the Pittsburgh Steelers in this one when they head to face the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.
The Cardinals have lost five in a row, and they are 1-4 at home. Pittsburgh is 2-3 on the road, but they’re on a two-game winning streak and have been on fire lately. Could the Cardinals play spoiler to the Steelers’ shot at the AFC Wild Card?
Here’s a breakdown of the game followed by trends and our prediction.
Pittsburgh has won six of their last seven after an abysmal start. Considering they’ve had a bit of a quarterback carousel this year, that’s quite an accomplishment. Devlin “Duck” Hodges will get the start against Arizona, and he has been serviceable under center. Hodges has 530 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in four appearances this season (he has played two full games this year).
The Steelers have been excellent on defense this season, and their unit, led by T.J. Watt, is a huge reason Pittsburgh is still in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Steelers are allowing just under 18 points a game, and they have been opportunistic, recovering 15 fumbles and snagging 15 interceptions on the season. They should have multiple opportunities against this cardinals offense.
On the injury front, the Steelers will be without both JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Connor, leaving their offense depleted
If the Cardinals want a shot in this one, they’ll have to do a better job of protecting Kyler Murray. The Rams sacked Murray six times in the Cardinals’ 34-7 loss last week, and with the Steelers having a whopping 43 sacks on the season, (which is second in the league behind the San Francisco 49ers) this could be a long day for the Cardinals quarterback.
On defense, Arizona has been one of the league’s worst units, allowing 27.3 points and netting just six interceptions through 12 games. Chandler Jones and company should have a few opportunities against the inexperienced Hodges. Jones has 13 sacks on the season, and he’ll be looking to make some game-changing plays in this one.
Trends, Pick and Predictions:
*The following numbers and trends are all courtesy of Odds Shark.
Spread: Arizona +1.5
Odds Shark currently have the Steelers winning the game by a projected score of 23-18, with the Steelers covering the spread and the total score going under 43.5 points.
Some relevant trends surrounding the game:
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Pittsburgh’s last 7 games.
- Pittsburgh is 6-1 SU in their last 7 games.
- The Steelers are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games against Arizona.
- Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games against Arizona.
- The Cardinals are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Arizona’s last 8 games against Pittsburgh.
- Arizona is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games at home.
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Arizona’s last 5 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh.
We’re in agreement with Odds Shark on this one. This should be a low-scoring affair, and the Steelers should be able to do enough to get out with a win against an Arizona team that just can’t get it together yet.
Final Prediction: Steelers 21, Cardinals 14