NFL fans are in for a treat tonight as two of the league’s top teams, the (9-4) Buffalo Bills and (8-5) Pittsburgh Steelers meet at Heinz Field with playoff implications on the line (8.20pm ET, Sunday on NBC).
If the season ended today, the Steelers would be looking at the sixth and final seed in the AFC, set to play familiar postseason rival, the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card round. It’s a seed that Pittsburgh holds quite tenuously however, as, also at 8-5, the Tennessee Titans are breathing down the Steelers’ necks. Any loss sustained by the Steelers over the next three weeks could be detrimental to their chances, including this tough Sunday night matchup against the Bills and season finale against the AFC’s best, Baltimore Ravens.
Having a season of their own, the Bills, thanks to a recent rough patch from the New England Patriots, find themselves just one game back of their divisional rival, when it comes to the AFC East. A division dominated by New England for almost two full decades, the Bills have a great shot in 2019 to win the AFC East for the first time since 1993, and become the first non-New England team to win since the Miami Dolphins did it in 2008. A win today will be crucial to that goal however, as the Bills will meet the Patriots the following week, likely with the AFC East title on the line.
Needless to say, this is a big game for both teams as they look to maintain and improve their positioning heading into the final stretch of the season and the playoffs to come soon after.
Defense Wins Championships And Regular Season Games Too
It’s an old sports adage that is supported nearly every year in the NFL playoffs. Defense wins championships. Teams tighten up and scoring tends to be kept lower, but even in high-scoring games, it is often key defensive plays such as creating turnovers or big fourth down goal line stops, that determine the Super Bowl champion. That doesn’t mean that defense isn’t prevalent prior to the start of the playoffs either. In fact, tonight that is exactly what will be on display as the Steelers and Bills boast two of the league’s best in that category.
Entering this NFL matchup, the Bills rank third in the NFL in total defense, allowing opponents an average of just 16.3 points and 296.8 total yards per game. The Steelers rank fifth with averages of 18.6 points allowed to opponents and 310.9 total yards per game. These two teams have thrived this year on their defensive prowess, using it to supplant what at times have been two somewhat shaky offensive units.
Led by second-year starter Josh Allen, the Bills have a middle-of-the-pack offense. Allen is tied for 18th among all quarterbacks with 17 touchdowns and ranks 20th in passing yards with 2,737. His QBR of 43.7 is 26th best in the NFL. Pittsburgh, normally led by future Hall of Famer, Ben Roethlisberger, has operated with several different starters this year, following Big Ben’s season ending injury which occurred early in the year. Mason Rudolph’s numbers were unspectacular leading the way for Devlin Hodges, who is undefeated in his three starts this year, picking up wins over the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers.
Our Preview’s Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
When week three of the NFL season rolled along, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills were on very different and adverse paths. Wins over the New York Jets, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals saw the Bills open their season 3-0, and over their first six, 5-1.
The opposite was the case for the Steelers who lost their quarterback, their first three games (against the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers) and seemingly their playoff chances. This looked especially the case when the team went 1-4 in their first five.
However, as mentioned in this preview earlier, if the playoffs started today, the Steelers would be in it, having secured their spot by nature of a great 2/3 of their season. Since October 13th, the Steelers are 7-1. It has been an incredible turnaround indicative of a great organization and a great head coach as Mike Tomlin has led his injured soldiers into battle with tremendous success.
Coming to our Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers predictions, odds with the leading legal offshore sports betting sites have the Steelers favored by just one point or it is ‘pk’, which is no spread at all. The bookies expect a close one no doubt as both of these teams are more than capable and both have something very important to play for. A win for Pittsburgh helps them continue to control their own destiny as far as the postseason and getting that final seed go. A win by Buffalo helps them keep their hopes of winning the AFC East and contending for a first-round bye alive. So which way do we fall with our Bills at Steelers predictions?
- It’s a tough call, but we are going with Pittsburgh at ‘pk’ or ‘0’ (ie: no spread) @ best odds of -110 with Bovada.
- As for the total points, as we focused on earlier, these teams are dominated by what they can do on defense. So look for the total to stay under the projected 37 points @ -110 with Bovada or Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.