Can the Pittsburgh Steelers Keep NFL Playoff Hopes Alive in Week 14 vs Patriots?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Can the Pittsburgh Steelers Keep NFL Playoff Hopes Alive in Week 14 vs Patriots?

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have pretty solid odds to make the NFL playoffs. But entering Week 14 against the New England Patriots, they have a chance to cement their status as likely Wild Card entries.

This is not meant to be hyperbolic. Sure, the Patriots aren’t good. But that’s the point. The Steelers are playing out a cupcake portion of their schedule. They played and beat the Cincinnati Bengals without quarterback Joe Burrow in Week 12. They pulled the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. And on Thursday Night Football in Week 14, they will host the fast-sinking Patriots, at 8:15 p.m. eastern standard time on the field at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Better still, the latest NFL online betting odds have billed them as heavy favorites over New England:

Pittsburgh Steelers-270+220New England Patriots

Please remember to double-check these online NFL betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Steelers vs. Patriots Week 14 betting odds are accurate entering Friday, December 1. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments leading into opening kick-off on Thursday night.

At first glance, the stakes of this game don’t seem very high. The Patriots are already looking ahead toward the 2024 NFL draft, and the Steelers will not forfeit their Wild Card spot even if they lose.

However, Pittsburgh’s schedule tightens up over the final few weeks of the season. Their final four games will unfold as follows: at the Indianapolis Colts, versus the Cincinnati Bengals, at the Baltimore Ravens and at the Seattle Seahawks. Three road games is a tough pull. And three of those teams are currently in the playoff hunt. The Burrow-less Bengals are the easiest opponent left after Week 14.

Beating the Patriots would go a long way to almost guaranteeing the Steelers a playoff spot. Will they get the victory? Or will New England turn in one of the NFL’s trademark, late-season “Any Given Sunday” moments? (Yes, we know this game is being played on Thursday.)

Here’s Why The Pittsburgh Steelers Aren’t Necessarily Guaranteed to Beat the New England Patriots

One word encapsulates why the Steelers could lose to the Patriots in Week 14: offense. Pittsburgh is 29th in points scored per game and showing very little signs of life. The passing attack, in particular, leaves much to be desired. 

Kenny Pickett has taken a lion’s share of the snaps under center, and the results aren’t pretty. He has thrown a touchdown on just 1.9 percent of his passing attempts, and the Steelers’ Week 12 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was the first time all year that he racked up 250 or more passing yards. 

Not surprisingly, the Steelers are 26th in net yards gained per passing attempt. They also rank second to last in total passing touchdowns. New England’s defense isn’t what it once was, but they have cobbled together some admirable stands against much better QBs. The Patriots also rank seventh in red zone defense, which is terrible news for a Steelers offense that ranks 28th in red zone efficiency.

Combine all this with Pittsburgh scoring just 26 total points over their past two games, and it gets easy to worry about the outcome. But for as bad as the Steelers may be on offense, the Patriots are even worse. New England ranks 31st in points scored per game, and only one team has thrown more interceptions. Pittsburgh’s defense, meanwhile, specializes in playmaking. Just two teams have forced more interceptions on the season. More than anything else, the defense is why the Steelers are so comfortably over .500 and on track to make the 2024 NFL playoffs. Much tougher opponents await after this game. But, well, we only care about this game.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers (-270)

Pittsburgh Steelers To beat the New England Patriots

Pittsburgh vs. New England Could End Up Coming Down to the Wire

Watching the Patriots for most of this season has not been pretty. But give credit where credit is due: They have managed to keep games close. And yet, that hasn’t stopped the general public from favoring the Steelers Week 14 point spread betting lines:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers, -6.5 (-115)
  • New England Patriots, +6.5 (-105)

Beating a team like the Patriots this late in the season by a touchdown isn’t necessarily a tall order. But the Steelers aren’t exactly setting the world on fire during their victories. Pittsburgh’s first seven wins have come by an average of just 5.3 points—the smallest margin of victory in the NFL. They also happen to have the worst point differential of any team in the NFL with seven or more wins. Drop that filter down to six wins, and they still have the second worst point differential of the group.

We’re picking the Patriots to cover. And this is much less about our faith in New England than our lack of faith in Pittsburgh’s ability to create separation on the scoreboard.

OSB Prediction: New England Patriots, +6.5 (-105)

New England Patriots To cover the point spread against the Pittsburgh Steelers

Fans of Touchdowns and Big-Time Offensive Plays May Not Want to Watch Steelers vs. Patriots

Knowing how much both New England and Pittsburgh have struggled on offense this season, we expected the Steelers vs. Patriots over/under betting lines to be incredibly stingy. And guess what? We were right:

  • Over 35.5 points (-110)
  • Under 35.5 points (-110)

This total is so low that many will simply default to the “over.” But each of the past two games for both squads have failed to clear 36 combined points.

Defenses can get a little cavalier this late in the season. So, perhaps a surprise detonation from Pittsburgh and/or New England is in play. Base on what we know, though, these are two teams that should struggle to combine for 32 points, let alone 36.

OSB Prediction: Under 35.5 (-110)

Steelers and Patriots To score under 35.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2023 NFL betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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