The Buffalo Bills (3-1) head into Week 5 as 14-point favorites to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) which is a tough blow for the franchise. The Steelers haven’t been 14-point underdogs since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 which has made the odds for Sunday’s matchup a major talking point.
“You guys, everyone else thinks we’re underdogs. We don’t, so we’re gonna go in there with some confidence,” Pickett told reporters on Wednesday, October 5. “We know how great we can be when we’re detailed and we execute at a high level. So, that’s something that we need to take care of during the week or we won’t have a shot.”
“It’s the details. It’s the little things. Guys running at the right depth. I’ve got to be on time, give a great ball, and they’ll make the plays. The line will protect; they’ve been doing an unbelievable job all year. So I have a ton of confidence in those guys. So it’s really everyone doing their job and we’ll be OK.”
Later that night, Bills superstar Von Miller was sifting through posts on Reddit during a live stream when he came across a snippet of Pickett’s comments. The 33-year-old veteran balked at Pickett’s mindset and proceeded to go on an aggressive tirade against his rookie opponent.
“Who thinks you’re an underdog, bud?” Miller said. “Like, geez, Kenny. Stop it, Kenny! Don’t try to get crazy on us, man. Just come in and play the game. Why’s he looking at the spread? Nobody looks at the spread of the game. Like, nobody’s looking at none of that. We’re just getting ready to play the Steelers. Don’t try to get fake mad. Don’t try to get crazy on us. Nobody thinks you’re underdogs, Kenny. Don’t do it.”
NFL Analysts & Fans Strongly Reacted to Miller’s Rant
Several NFL analysts and fans didn’t appreciate Miller’s reaction. TribLive reporter Tim Benz clapped back, “Hmmm. I dunno. I’m pretty sure someone is getting fake mad in this conversation. But I don’t think it’s Pickett.”
CBS Sports reporter Bryan DeArdo wrote, “It’s odd that Pickett’s comments ruffled Miller’s feathers to the point where he decided to go on a one-minute rant on social media. Pickett didn’t guarantee a victory. Instead, he talked about how he and his teammates needed to have a sterling practice week in order to ‘have a shot’ at defeating a Bills team that many prognosticators have already put in February’s Super Bowl.”
The Fan‘s Andrew Limberg wrote, “Not sure exactly what Miller is trying to do here. The Steelers are a 14-point underdog… I think a lot more people are talking about the Steelers being an underdog than Miller thinks, especially since it’s the biggest one of the season.”
One man defended Miller and tweeted, “I just think he’s saying they go about each game in a professional manner. The bills are coached well. They don’t look at teams thinking we’re going to destroy them. They aren’t looking at spreads. Steelers need that same mentality. Pro’s vs Pro’s.”
The two-time Super Bowl champ likely wanted to hear more fight in Pickett before his first-ever career start, or perhaps a sentiment similar to that of Steelers center Mason Cole. “In our minds, we’re going to go out and win the game,” Cole said, per Sports Illustrated. “Screw the Vegas lines. We don’t worry about that, whether we are favorites or underdogs.”
Mike Tomlin Said He’s Concerned ‘About the Environment’ in Buffalo for Pickett’s First Start
While Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has full confidence in Pickett stepping up, he is worried about the 24-year-old’s first-ever start taking place in what’s typically a very loud, sold-out crowd in Buffalo, and playing against the current No.1 pass defense in the NFL.
“We have no reservations about what Kenny is going to be capable of in terms of schematics,” Tomlin said, per One Bills Live host Chris Brown. “Obviously, we have a level of concern about the environment that we’re taking him into, but you have a level of concern about any quarterback you take into that environment versus that defense in that venue.”