In Week 13, the Pittsburgh Steelers boosted their hopes of returning to the NFL playoffs with a win over the rival Ravens. For now, they are still on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, but they are very much in the mix with five games left in the regular season.
One of the reasons why the Steelers are on the outside looking in is a Week 10 tie with the then-winless Detroit Lions. Those Lions are now winless no more, thanks to last week’s last-second upset of the Minnesota Vikings. While the Steelers are trending up heading into their matchup with the Vikings, the Vikings are trending down and need a win tonight to keep pace in the race, at minimum.
As far as Thursday Night Football matchups go, this one is probably a B. At least the small spread says we should get a close game.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) vs Minnesota Vikings (5-7), FOX, 8:20 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings NFL Betting Odds
- Pittsburgh Steelers +3 (-110)
- Minnesota Vikings -3 (-110)
- OVER 44 (-110)
- UNDER 44 (-110)
- Pittsburgh Steelers +142
- Minnesota Vikings -170
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 12:32 p.m. ET. Want to see NFL betting odds from several top online sportsbooks for every NFL matchup each week? Check out our NFL odds.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings NFL Betting Picks
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview
The Steelers halted a three-game winless streak last week by beating Baltimore 20-19. They needed a massive 4th quarter to do it and hitting the road after an emotional game like that looks like a letdown spot.
Outside linebacker TJ Watt has 16 sacks already this season and is one of the betting favorites for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. But overall, their defensive numbers are worse than expected. That has put a lot on an offense that is pretty banged up. In three of their last four games, they have not scored more than 20 points. But the Vikings have one of the worst defenses in the NFL so maybe that helps them out enough.
Is the Vikings’ season all but dead at this point? They are still very much in reach of one of the final two playoff spots in the NFC, but how much longer will that be the case? This week, they have to navigate a short week after inexplicably losing the Lions. Maybe they rally this week, but you can also see them falling off the cliff.
Not helping matters are injuries to running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and wide receiver Adam Thielen (ankle). Thielen has been ruled out already, but the outlook is a little more positive on Cook. QB Kirk Cousins needs as many of his weapons as possible to be his most effective.
Of course, none of that will matter if the Vikings can’t make enough stops on defense. I am not sure Pittsburgh is all that much better than Detroit on offense and the Vikings gave up 29 points to the Lions in Sunday’s loss. Minnesota may play a lot of close games, but they also lose a lot of them.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings Best Bet
Pittsburgh Steelers +3
It is always hard to handicap emotion, but I think you can handicap coaching. I would definitely back Mike Tomlin over Mike Zimmer to have his guys more ready. Pittsburgh gives us the three-point cushion though I think they are a good bet to win outright too.
I think the Steelers will be able to turn this one into a grinder, and they can win a low-scoring game like last week and some of their other wins this season. I just hope they don’t wait until the fourth quarter to get it done.
Prop Watch: Najee Harris Over 18.5 Rushing Attempts (-113)
Harris has had 20+ carries in six of his last eight games and should have regular touches against the Vikings, who are 29th in the NFL against the run. Harris had 21 carries last week and should reach or surpass that mark in this game. If Pittsburgh is playing with a lead, like I think they will, they will run him plenty.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings Score Prediction
Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Minnesota Vikings 16
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