Buffalo Bills @

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sun, Dec 15
10:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 321
Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers -1.5, Total: 36

Game Analysis

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Note: This game was released as a Best Bet on the Over early in the week but that play no longer applies at the current line. I still lean Over.

Best Bet – *Over (35.5) – PITTSBURGH (-1.5) vs Buffalo 

Devlin Hodges is rewarding Mike Tomlin for making the switch at quarterback, as he’s averaging a healthy 7.5 yards per pass play compared to Mason Rudolph’s 5.5 yards per pass play. James Washington is gaining 3.06 yards per route run the last two weeks since Hodges took over and he should avoid Bills top cornerback Tre’Davious White on Sunday night. Instead, Washington will mostly line up across from Levi Wallace, who ranks 8th-worst amongst cornerbacks, allowing a reception every 8.2 cover snaps. JuJu Smith-Schuster is expected to miss another game and the wide receiver is worth 0.7 points to Pittsburgh’s offense – although the model still rates the Steelers’ attack as underrated.

The Steelers generate pressure on 15% of opponent’s passing snaps, which leads the NFL, but they will likely be contained up front in this game as Buffalo’s offensive line ranks 8th in pass blocking efficiency. Cameron Heyward and Javon Hargrave have combined for 94 pressures, a league-high for an interior rushing tandem. However, Buffalo’s interior offensive line has only conceded 3 sacks all season and Heyward and Hargrave should be limited. I expect Buffalo to rely on Josh Allen’s passing attack with Pittsburgh’s pass rush mostly negated and the Bills 10th-rated ground game neutralized by a Steelers rush defense ranked 1st. Cole Beasley has 62 targets in the slot (9th-most) and he has a promising matchup on the inside versus nickelback Mike Hilton, who is surrendering 1.44 yards per cover snap in the slot (4th-worst).

Our metrics still have Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph rated about the same but based on his performance so far it looks like Hodges provides an upgrade to Pittsburgh’s offense. Buffalo leads the NFL with a 38% no huddle rate the last 4 weeks and they will likely continue playing fast utilizing the passing offense. Our model favors the Steelers by 0.9 points with a predicted total of 40.2 even assuming no upgrade for Pittsburgh’s quarterback. Pittsburgh and Buffalo have both been Under teams so far this season but our model feels that the total has over–adjusted and is now too low. Pittsburgh tends to play higher scoring games at home, as Steelers’ games have averaged 49.8 points at home the last 5 seasons, compared to just 41.0 total points on the road. This season the Steelers’ games have been 5 points higher scoring at home (40.8 total points) than they’ve been on the road (35.8 total points). That trend wasn’t factored into our model but I certainly feel better about the over with this game being in Pittsburgh rather than being in Buffalo. The Over is a 1-Star Best Bet at 36 points or less (Strong Opinion at 36.5 points).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Bills
  • Steelers


  • Pass Plays 35.1 37.2
  • Succ Pass Plays 43.3% 40.8%
  • Sack Rate 7.4% 8.3%
  • Int Rate 1.9% 2.0%
  • Deep Pass Rate 21.4% 12.6%
  • Big Pass Yards 46.5% 33.9%
  • NYPP 6.1 5.1


  • Rush Plays 29.5 24.0
  • RB YPR 4.4 4.4
  • Stuff Rate 20.5% 25.2%
  • Succ Rush Plays 48.8% 47.4%
  • Big Rush Yards 45.0% 47.2%
  • Yards Per Rush 4.6 4.3


  • All Snaps 64.6 61.2
  • Early Down Succ 48.9% 46.8%
  • Succ Rate 45.5% 43.4%
  • Big Yards Rate 45.8% 39.3%
  • Yards Per Play 5.3 4.8
  • Fumble Lost Rate 0.6% 0.8%
  • Time Per Play (sec) 28.4 29.1
  • Run Ratio 45.6% 39.5%
  • Starting Field Pos 29.0 27.6
  • Game Control 1.6 -1.6
  • Points 21.1 16.3
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