The Steelers are desperate for a win, and here are four bold predictions for their game against the Bills.
The Steelers stumble into week five with a poor record and little talent showcasing their skill. That said, there is an infusion of hope, as Kenny Pickett is set to make his first of hopefully many, starts against the Bills. That doesn’t make this matchup any easier though, as the Bills are one of the best teams in the league.
Buffalo has put together one of the more complete rosters in the NFL. Even with their secondary hurt, their defense can still hold its own thanks to a good front seven. Their offense is dynamic and can hurt you in a wide variety of ways. The Steelers have long odds of winning, but there are still plenty of things that can occur in this game. Here are four bold predictions for the Steelers as they take on the Bills.
Stefon Diggs goes off
Predicting Stefon Diggs to go off in any given week isn’t usually much of a bold prediction, as his connection with Josh Allen is one of the best in the league. While he started the season red hot, he has since cooled off as Allen has spread the ball around more. That said, I think he exploits a banged-up Steelers secondary.
Every member of the Steelers starting secondary found their way onto the injury report at some point or another this week. That doesn’t bode well for a group that has been average at best so far this season. I think Diggs goes off as a result, as he finds quite a few ways to exploit this ailing secondary.
Najee Harris gets back on track
While I have been lower than most on Najee Harris, his startling bad start to this season was surprising to me. I expected the team to try and move their offense through him. Instead, he has been mostly a nonfactor and has seen quite a few snaps go to undrafted rookie Jaylen Warren. Worse yet, he isn’t even getting involved in the passing game much.
I think that changes this week, as the new-look Steelers offense benefits from a Harris ground attack. Pickett helped jump the offense against the Jets, and I expect him to keep some of that momentum this week. Harris benefits, as he combines for 150 total yards and a pair of scores. He still isn’t perfect, but Harris gets closer to looking the part of a first-round running back.
Steelers lose in close fashion
I predicted last week that the Steelers would lose, and in a similar manner, I’m predicting that the team can’t get the win this week. While that alone isn’t a bold prediction, I don’t think this game is a blowout. Vegas has this game around a 14-point deficit, making Pittsburgh a huge underdog. I think the Steelers keep it much closer this week.
The team is far from perfect, but they show some flashes of improvement. The running game gets going while the defense does an admirable job of slowing down the Bills offense. All said and done, it is a three-point game that gets lost close to the end of the game. Specifically, one player is to blame for the loss at the end of the day.
Pickett loses the game for the Steelers
I don’t think Pickett has a horrible debut as the starting quarterback this week. In fact, I think he builds off a decent performance last week. A tad more conservative than what he showed against the Jets, he throws for 250 yards and adds a touchdown pass, the first of his career, on top of it. His performance as well as the ground game gives the team a chance to tie or even win the game late in the fourth quarter.
This is where his rookie issues resurface. In field goal range, I think Pickett forces a pass toward the endzone that results in an interception. In turn, the comeback falls short, and the Steelers once again lose. Pickett flashes some great talent, but ultimately his aggressiveness results in another loss for this team.
The Bills are by far the toughest team the Steelers will have faced so far this season. They have talent on both sides of the field and can win in a variety of ways. Keep these bold predictions in mind as the Steelers try and pull the upset against Buffalo this week.