Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets – Week 16 NFL Betting Analysis
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6 9-5 ATS) at New York Jets (5-9 5-9 ATS)
The Jets are out of the playoffs and a 3-point home underdog facing the Steelers, who look to hang onto the last AFC playoff spot. The total for this AFC matchup is set at 38.5.
The public has backed the Steelers in this game, as they opened as a 2-point favorite and as of Wednesday are a 3-point favorite.
The Steelers are coming off a 17-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills where they struggled to move the ball. It did not help that QB Devlin Hodges was picked off four times, but Pittsburgh has decided to stay with him in this big game.
The Jets have lost two of their last three games after winning three in a row. In their last game, they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 42-21 where they gave up 218 rushing yards.
This season the Jets are 4-3 at home and the Steelers are 3-3 on the road.
The Steelers have covered the spread in four of their last five games facing the Jets.
The Turnovers May Have Hurt
In their last game, the Steelers were at home and lost to the Bills 17-10 and they had five turnovers in the game. While they only had 229 total yards they held Buffalo to 261 yards, but they gave up 130 rushing yards while only having 51. On top of that they were outscored 10-0 in the 4th quarter.
Hodges passed for 202 yards with one TD and four INT and he was sacked four times. He only had two INT coming into the game and the run game will be key, as if the offense is on his shoulders it may be too much for the undrafted rookie.
Pittsburgh leading rusher on the season in James Conner came back in the Bills game after missing a few with a should injury and while only rushing for 42 yards he averaged 5.3 yards per carry.
The Jets only rank 19th in the league in pass defense but 2nd in run defense. However, that run D was not sharp in the loss to the Ravens in their last game and has to be in this one, as Pittsburgh will lean on the run.
The Run D Was the Issue
While the Jets’ run defense has been a strength this season that was not the case in the 42-21 loss to the Ravens. They not only allowed them to rush for 218 yards, but Baltimore averaged 6.4 yards per carry.
Sam Darnold passed for 218 yards with two TD and an INT and it was the 2nd straight game with two TD and one pick.
Le’Veon Bell rushed for 87 yards averaging a respectable 4.1 yards per carry in the loss to Baltimore but only caught one pass. He has come out and said he has been underutilized this season and that may be the case. He only has 676 rushing yards and is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry. He does have 57 receptions for 404 yards and going against his former team in the Steelers he may have more motivation.
Pittsburgh has not allowed more than 17 points in their last four games and on the season they rank 5th in the league in pass defense and 11th in run defense.
The Steelers have covered the spread in four of their last five road games and are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games facing a team with a winning record.
The Jets are only 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
Despite the trends above I think the Jets are the pick in this game and will play at home where they are over .500 on the season. Their run defense will get back on track and Bell will play well against his former team. This game will be a close one and the Jets will, at least, cover the spread.
PICK: Jets +3