Saturday, November 16, 2013
Who I like, Detroit version
The Steelers played their most complete game last week and defeated the Buffalo Bills, 23-10, in a game that wasn’t even that close.
That win put them at 3-6 and, surprisingly, pulled them within two games of both the AFC North lead and the second wildcard spot in the AFC.
This week we’ll find out for sure if we have to start looking at the playoff races or if the it’s time to start looking at potential draft picks when the Steelers host the Lions.
Of Pittsburgh’s remaining seven games, only three are against teams with winning records, and Cincinnati and Green Bay, two of those teams, are struggling right now.
The other is the Lions, who come into Pittsburgh on a bit of a roll, having won three of their past four.
Obviously, everyone knows the Lions have star wide receiver Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing him the ball. It’s all that’s been talked about this week, along with Detroit’s potent offense.
But that offense is a little less potent on the road (21.8 points per game) than it is at home (32.2). And while the Lions don’t allow Stafford to be sacked – just 10 this season – they also don’t get a lot of sacks. Detroit, despite the presence of defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, has just 15 sacks this season.
That means today’s game will be the first this season outside of the opener in which the Steelers, who have 16 sacks, will have more than their opponent.
Certainly, other teams with low sack totals, Chicago, for example, have found ways to get to Ben Roethilisberger. The Bears just 14 sacks this season, but three came in a win over the Steelers.
The Lions are two-point favorites to beat the Steelers and this game could go down to the wire.
If the Steelers can keep Johnson under control and force somebody else on Detroit’s offense to beat them, they can win.
If Detroit can get to Roethlisberger and force some turnovers, they could run away with it.
Take Detroit, 24-17