On Sunday Night Football, the Pittsburgh Steelers will travel to Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan to take on the Lions. This Sunday Night Football matchup will kick off at 8:30 PM/ET.
The Steelers and Lions are both in position to win their respective divisions. The Steelers are coming into week 9 winners of five of their first seven matchups. In those five games, the Steelers beat both the Chiefs and Vikings, two teams destined to make a run in the playoffs.
While those victories backup the narrative that Pittsburgh is a contender this season, their losses are equally as head-scratching.
The Steelers two losses are somewhat shocking, having lost to Chicago and Jacksonville. Every year, the Steelers seem to lose games that they seemingly should have won. Will Pittsburgh show up in Detroit this week, or will the Jekyll and Hyde-like play rear it’s ugly head for Big Ben and Company?
Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions are a team in need of a big win. The Lions (3-3) before their bye, are on a two-game losing streak and three of their last four. After starting the season with two wins, Detroit has struggled to get over the hump. Before their bye week, the Saints blew out the Lions with a score of 52-38. Coming out of the bye, the Lions will look to turn their season around with the NFC North still up for grabs.
The Steelers: Contenders or Pretenders?
The Steelers (5-2) are at the top of the AFC contenders list but are they for real. Pittsburgh develops wide-receivers as well as any team the league. Ben Roethlisberger is still a reliable passer, even if he’s not a top-tier quarterback. His best weapons, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, are arguably the best wide-receiver, running back combo in the NFL.
The Steelers offense is good enough to win, and that’s not the question. It’s their defense. How good is the Steelers defense, and is that unit good enough to win them a championship?
Yes. The Steelers’ defense is good enough and makes Pittsburgh legitimate contenders in the AFC this season. According to NFL Stats, the Steelers defense ranks 2nd overall in terms of yards allowed.
Pittsburgh is allowing 259 yards of total offense to their opponents. The Steelers also boast the 6th best mark on third downs, according to NFL Stats. With such a stout defense, coupled with a strong offensive attack, the Steelers are a team that can beat any team on any given week.
In the Rodger-less NFC North can Detroit make their move?
With the injury to Aaron Rodgers, the Packers hold on the NFC North is no longer an issue. There’s now an opening and Detroit needs to make a move. There’s still the issues of the Vikings to contend with, but the Lions have already defeated them this season. While Minnesota has a one-game lead on the Lions this is Detroit’s best opportunity to make the playoffs and contend for a title.
According to NFL Stats, the Lions have the 26th ranked offense. Despite the inability to pick up yards, Detroit’s offense still manages to score points. The Lions’ average 27 points per game, according to NFL Stats. So, despite their inability to move the ball, when the offense has the opportunity, they’ve made the most of it.
Before their bye week against the Saints, the Lions scored 38-points but gave up 52-points on defense. The Lions biggest issue is playing a complete game. If the Lions can play a complete game on both sides of the ball, then expect a solid effort against a strong Steelers team.
Lions vs Steelers Betting Lines
BetOnline.ag has the Steelers favored to win the game by 2.5 points. The over/under on total points scored is 45.5. You can read our full BetOnline review here.
Coming off a bye week, Detroit needs desperately to get off on the right foot. The Steelers defense is no joke, however, and Mathew Stafford hasn’t yet shown he’s ready to compete for an NFC North title. On the season, Stafford has thrown 12 touchdowns to only four interceptions. The biggest issues for the Lions is their offensive line. According to NFL Stats, Detroit has given up the fourth most sacks in the league. Against a Steelers defense that already has 24 sacks on the season, expect Pittsburgh to get to Stafford early and often on their way to victory.
Play: Steelers -2.5 @ BetOnline.ag
Detroit Lions Betting • NFL 2017 Week 8 Betting Pick • NFL Sunday Night Football Betting Pick • Pittsburgh Steelers betting