Patriots vs Steelers NFL Week 2 Odds, Picks, Predictions

Patriots vs Steelers NFL Week 2 Odds, Picks, Predictions article feature image

Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Mac Jones (center).

  • The Patriots are favored on the road this week against the Steelers.
  • Pittsburgh enters the game 1-0 after upsetting the Bengals, while New England lost its opener in Miami.
  • Phillip Kall breaks down the game and makes his prediction below.

Patriots vs. Steelers Odds

Sunday, Sept. 18
1 p.m. ET
Patriots Odds
-110o / -110u
Steelers Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

A monstrous defensive performance in Week 1 helped the Steelers pull off a massive upset against the Bengals as 6.5-point underdogs. This week, as underdogs again, Pittsburgh will look to lean on its defense once more for a 2-0 start. That will be easier said than done, though, without Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt.

The Patriots leaned on a similar defense-first game plan last week but failed to come up with a win. They did hold a newly dynamic offense in Miami down to just 13 points. However, two turnovers in New England’s first three drives put it too far back for their defense to carry.

In an NFL that's built on speed and burst, the Patriots and Steelers will provide a unique and classic smash-mouth game. Typically, the under is where you should turn in these circumstances, but that line has moved from 43.5 to 40.5. Let’s see if we can find an edge on the spread instead.

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Patriots vs. Steelers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Patriots and Steelers match up statistically:

Patriots vs. Steelers DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA234
Pass DVOA255
Rush DVOA127
Overall DVOA2613
Pass DVOA2119
Rush DVOA2715

That absence of Watt blurs any projection of how this game will play out. In the past two seasons, he has led the league in sacks and tackles for loss. Without Watt on the field, Steelers defenders will see different blocking schemes and play calls than they're used to.

Fortunately, Pittsburgh still has Cameron Heyward, who demands multiple blockers. The Steelers front should still be formidable despite missing some of the splash plays Watt provides.

As for the Steelers offense, there was excitement for this passing attack because of the depth of receiving options they have. Sadly, the story looks to be the same as last year, though. Pittsburgh threw for just 4.9 net yards per pass. On the ground, the rushing attack also looked like last year on repeat. Steelers RBs were smoothed nearly immediately, running for a mere 30 yards on 13 carries. 

As for the Patriots, it is hard to gauge their offensive effectiveness based on Sunday’s outcome. We knew coming into the year there were all sorts of questions about how this offense would look without a true coordinator. In Week 1, New England's production seemed to not match the scoreboard, with five of its eight drives ending in Dolphins territory.

If the Pats can protect the ball and keep things within a one-score game, this offense should produce. However, as we saw last week, New England lacks the burst to score quickly.

Looking at their defense, the Patriots did a solid job holding their own in what was a bad matchup. New England is built to play strong upfront and use pressure to help its relatively weak backend. Miami’s offense, meanwhile, is built to hit receivers quickly and let them create in space to mask their weakness upfront.

With that in mind, New England only made one mistake, and Jaylen Waddle turned that mistake into a touchdown and put the Patriots down 17 at the half. 

New England now has a chance to redeem itself against a similarly weak offensive line but much less dynamic receivers.

Betting Picks

Last week, the Steelers played a nearly perfect game defensively and were lucky to walk away with a win. This week they will try to recreate that magic without one of the best defensive players in the league. The Patriots will also be playing a much more conservative style, leaving fewer opportunities for Pittsburgh to make game-swinging plays. 

That will leave the pressure on the Steelers offense to make things happen. The good news is that it may only need one or two good drives to outscore the Patriots. The bad news is that they will be doing so against a Bill Belichick defense.

One of the regular themes in an NFL game is the Patriots forcing you to win with your off-hand. In this case, that will be forcing the Steelers to throw the ball outside. Last week the Steelers receivers had just 3.5 yards per target on their 22 opportunities.

With the Steelers offense hampered, the Patriots should feel no pressure on defense. This will allow them to stick with their game plan and play a run-first, ball-control offense. On the only scoring drive against Miami, we saw them play this way it ended in a touchdown. The drive took nearly eight and a half minutes but given their limited receiving core and quarterback it’s their path to victory. 

Trust the Patriots to lean on their defense and ground and pound their path to victory. This should be a close one given the nature of the game. If you have to lay more than a field goal stay away.

FanDuel Quickslip: Patriots -2.5 | Bet to -3

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