The Minnesota Vikings will attempt to end a two-game losing streak and climb back into playoff contention in the NFC when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Week 14 edition of Thursday Night Football. The Vikes have dropped two in a row and became the first team this season to lose to the Detroit Lions, 29-27, on the final play of Sunday’s game.
It was Minnesota’s fourth defeat by a field goal or less, something they will lament should the postseason not be in the team’s future. Despite losing four of their last six games and falling to 5-7 on the season, the Vikings opened as a 3.5-point favorite on the NFL betting line.
The Week 14 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 9 and will be televised on FOX and NFL Network.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings Odds
Steelers +3.5 | Vikings -3.5 [BET NOW]
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings Over/Under
Over/Under 45 [BET NOW]
After playing four of their previous five games on the road the Vikings return home where they’re positioned as a 3.5-point favorite. They upset Green Bay in their last home contest a few weeks ago and are 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in their five home games. The recent road trip was a waste with losses to San Francisco and Detroit while going 0-2 ATS.
Overall the Vikings are 5-7 SU and 6-6 ATS. The Steelers are still in the hunt for the AFC North title after upsetting division leader Baltimore 20-19 as a 4-point dog for their second payout in three games. It stopped a string of two consecutive losses and three straight without a victory. Pittsburgh dropped its last two games on the road allowing 41 points in each and is 2-3 SU and 3-2 ATS in away games.
With reports surfacing of this being the last season for Ben Roethlisberger it only makes sense that the team would do all it can to send the franchise icon out in style. Ben’s teammates can do all the work necessary, but what it really comes down to is Roethlisberger’s performance behind center. It’s obvious Big Ben isn’t the player he was a few years ago and the Steelers don’t have the players around him to make them an offensive juggernaut. But Roethlisberger has to be more consistent in his game to make the offense work.
He was efficient on Sunday completing 21 of 31 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over and was sacked just once after being brought down 10 times in his previous three starts. Still, the Steelers managed just 20 points, the seventh time they’ve scored that many or fewer in a game. The Steelers average 20.3 points and rank 22nd in total offense.
The struggles on offense and particularly in the run game have left the defense to shoulder much of the load. For the most part the group has come through and it did against Lamar Jackson and the explosive Ravens on Sunday. T.J. Watt (3.5) and Chris Wormley (2.5) combined for six of the team’s seven sacks and Minkah Fitzpatrick had a pick. They also stopped a potential game-winning 2-point conversion.
Certainly no stranger to playing close games the Vikings have been involved in nine straight one-score contests with 11 of their 12 games being decided by eight points or less. Unfortunately they’ve come out on the wrong end more times going 4-7 SU and 5-6 ATS in those matchups. Sunday’s setback will sting, but there is little time to lament the loss to the previously winless Lions with a short turnaround.
The Vikings are doing a nice job offensively averaging nearly 385 yards per game. They amassed 426 yards against Detroit with Kirk Cousins throwing for 340 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, they failed to score touchdowns on two first quarter red zone trips instead setting for field goals and a 6-0 lead. In all they scored on half their six red zone trips, which proved to be a major factor in the setback.
It’s easy to see what’s holding Minnesota back from becoming a playoff contender. After taking the lead with less than two minutes to play, the Lions drove 75 yards getting the game-winner on an 11-yard pass with no time remaining. They Vikings have allowed more than 31 points per game over their last three cashing the OVER every time. They also rank 30th in total defense and 29th against the run, something that certainly bothers Mike Zimmer.
Steelers vs Vikings Prediction
I actually think the opening total is low and will jump on the OVER before the number goes up. We’ve seen the Vikings struggle giving up 29 points to the offensively-challenged Lions and things aren’t getting any better with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr likely to sit this one out. Pittsburgh yielded 41 points in each of its last two road games and the Vikes are much more stable on offense. The value here is with the OVER and I’ll back the points with the visitors.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 and OVER 45
View all NFL Week 14 betting lines.