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Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) rookie QB Kenny Pickett is in trouble when he visits the Buffalo Bills (3-1) at Highmark Stadium Sunday.
The #BillsMafia makes Buffalo a tough place to play and Bills head coach Sean McDermott is one of the best defensive minds across the NFL.
Buffalo’s offense led by QB Josh Allen is obviously dangerous but the defense will make or break the Bills’ championship aspirations.
Also, Steelers WR Diontae Johnson had a Freudian slip in a postgame interview following Pittsburgh’s 24-20 loss at home to the New York Jets.
With that in mind, the best way to get action on this game is to BET UNDER 16.5 POINTS for the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Bills are a top-five defense
Despite cluster injuries in the secondary, Buffalo’s defense is still elite. The Bills rank second in points per game (PPG) allowed (14.5) and tied for first in total yards allowed per game.
Buffalo’s defense is doing this while facing the fourth-toughest schedule of opposing offenses, per Football Outsiders. The Bills’ first four foes were a gauntlet of offensive talent.
They faced the reigning champion Rams at the NFL’s Kickoff Game. A Titans offense whom Buffalo has struggled with in previous seasons in Week 2. The Dolphins, featuring a top-five WR tandem in the NFL, two weeks ago. The Ravens last week whose quarterback, Lamar Jackson, could be the MVP.
Regardless of who’s missing, the Bills are able to modify their defensive game plan to stop their opponent. It’ll be no different in Week 5 vs. the Steelers with Pickett making his first-career start.
McDermott owns rookie quarterbacks
The Bills have been one of the best defenses in the league since hiring McDermott in 2017. In fact, Buffalo’s defense is second in expected points added per play over the last five seasons.
McDermott’s defenses have always been rough on rookie quarterbacks. The Bills are allowing just 14.3 PPG vs. rookie quarterbacks in the McDermott era.
Furthermore, when the Bills have been favored by at least a touchdown since McDermott’s first season, Buffalo is holding opponents to just 13.8 PPG across 18 games.
It’s Pickett’s first start but he did play last week. None of Pickett’s balls hit the ground but that’s not exactly a good thing. Pickett completed 10-of-13 passes for 120 yards with no TDs and 3 INTs.
Causation and Motivation
Buffalo has a revenge game with the Kansas City Chiefs on the schedule next week. We could see a stale offensive game plan or execution out of the Bills in Week 5.
And why would the Bills put any of their “good plays” on film for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to study? I’m confident Buffalo’s defense shows up Sunday because it might have to.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will have his guys ready to play. Pittsburgh could certainly make it a game with Buffalo and the Steelers’ defense played well vs. the Bills last season.
This leads us to the “motivation” angle for Buffalo’s defense holding the Steelers to Under 17 points. The Bills lost their home opener to the Steelers 23-16 in Week 1 last season.
But, this was as flukey as a win gets. Seven of Pittsburgh’s points were scored with a block punt TD. The Steelers gained 252 total yards in that game and weren’t successful on the ground or in the air.
The Bills are going to open a can of whoop ass on the Steelers Sunday.
BET UNDER 16.5 POINTS for the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook.
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