Pittsburgh (8-6) needs to win out in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Steelers are coming off a tough 17-10 loss to the Bills last Sunday night and are currently tied with the Titans for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Pittsburgh holds the tiebreaker over Tennessee based on its 6-4 record against conference opponents. The Titans will host the Saints on Sunday. A Steelers win and a Titans loss would clinch a playoff spot for Pittsburgh.
New York (5-9) has had 10 days off since a 42-21 loss to the Ravens and MVP favorite Lamar Jackson, who threw for five touchdowns and ran for 86 yards on eight carries. It will be a revenge game for running back Le’Veon Bell, whose five-year run with the Steelers ended in a contract dispute that forced Bell to sit out the entire 2018 season. It will also be an emotional reunion for Hines Ward. The current Jets wide receivers coach spent 14 memorable seasons in Pittsburgh.
ESPN’s FPI gives Pittsburgh a 52.3% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Sunday’s matchup between the Steelers and Jets.
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Steelers vs. Jets Game Details
Date: Sunday, December 22
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Met Life Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey)
Spread: Steelers -3
This line opened at Steelers -3 and has held firm at most books despite the majority of the bets coming on Pittsburgh and the majority of the money coming in on the Jets.
- Steelers are 8-6 SU and 9-4 ATS this season
- Jets are 5-9 SU and 5-9 ATS this season
- Under is 11-3 in Steelers games this season
- Under is 7-7 in Jets games this season
Analysis & Picks
This game features two teams that have been ravaged by injuries this season. Unlike the Steelers, who have rebounded nicely after the season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger, the Jets have floundered after some bad injury luck earlier this season. Sam Darnold‘s bizarre diagnoses of mono, followed by a dreadful performance in primetime where he was terrorized by the Patriots defense, has defined Gangreen’s season. On the other side, Mike Tomlin’s steady hand has guided the Steelers to the brink of the postseason despite key injuries to Roethlisberger, top wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and lead running back James Conner. The Steelers defense has also been a big reason why the team has stayed in the hunt. Pittsburgh is ranked third in the NFL allowing just 4.8 yards per play. The low total in this game leads me to believe that Pittsburgh’s defense will control the tempo. I think Darnold will be on the run for most of the game and the Steelers get the job done.
PICK: Steelers -3
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith