Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills Prediction, Pick and Preview, September 12: NFL Week 1
- Sep 10, 2021, 9:27:12 AM
Credit: photo by Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
|Time||1:00 p.m. EST|
|Steelers money line||+235|
|Steelers spread||+6.5 (-111)|
|Bills money line||-270|
|Bills spread||-6.5 (-109)|
|Over / under||48|
2020 season stats
|Road / home record||5-3||7-1|
|Points per game||26.0||31.3|
|Points allowed per game||21.2||23.2|
|Pass yard per game||250||289|
|Rush yards per game||84||108|
|Total yards per game||335||396|
|Total yards allowed per game||311||363|
AFC North champions Steelers open their season against last year's newly-crowned AFC East winners the Bills this Sunday. These teams met in week 14 of the 2020 regular season with Buffalo eventually handing the Steelers their second loss of the season.
The Steelers ended the 2020 season with a 12-4 record losing four of their last five games after going 11-0 and then were dumped out of the playoffs by their division rivals the Cleveland Browns in Wild Card weekend. Mike Tomlin will once again start the season with Ben Roethlisberger under center, but they did add former Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins to the roster in the offseason to go along with Mason Rudolph.
The Bills had an incredible 2020 season going as far as the AFC Championship game where they were eventually defeated by the then reigning Super Bowl champs the Kansas City Chiefs. Josh Allen had a breakout season and will be looking to continue those impressive performances in 2021.
Even though Big Ben didn't look his best as the 2020 season went on, he still managed to throw for 3803 yards and 33 touchdowns after coming off an injured 2019 season. The Steelers had the worst rushing offense in the entire league last year. They lost James Conner to Arizona in the offseason but did draft a talented rookie in Najee Harris from Alabama. Ben will also have his wideout targets from last season back on the field this year including Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and tight end Eric Ebron.
The Bills didn't have an efficient running game last season outside of Josh Allen. Both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss failed to cement themselves as the undisputed feature back. In spite of that, they were the second-best offense in the league scoring 501 total points. That offense was heavily predicated on the ability of Allen to get the ball to star wideout Stefon Diggs. Diggs had a career year in 2020 leading the league in yards and receptions with 1535 and 127, respectively. They managed to add a solid number 2 receiver in Emmanuel Sanders from the Saints and added Matt Breida to their inconsistent backfield.
The Steel Curtain defense was back last season. Pittsburgh only gave up 21.2 points per game to opponents which ranked them joint 4th in the NFL and they added more defensive pieces in this year's draft in addition to three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Melvin Ingram and tied down T.J. Watt to a new 4-year contract extension. Minkah Fitzpatrick is also back and ready to go for the Steelers. He led the team with four INTs last season.
The Bills defense will once again be buoyed by 2020 Pro Bowl corner Tre'Davious White and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. They were a middle-of-the-pack defense last season giving up 23.2 points per game to opponents ranking them at 14th in the league.
Neither of these teams has an established running game but the backfield committee of Moss and Singletary should be more productive than a reliance on a rookie. Josh Allen's mobility and arm strength give him a distinct advantage and especially with the weapons he has at his disposal. On the defensive side, the Steelers will be solid once settled, but their offense may have to find their way against the Bills' defense. Ultimately, I can't see Josh Allen's dynamism and Digg's route running being stifled for four quarters by the Steelers defense.
PICK: Bills -6.5 (-109)
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