New England Patriots @

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sun, Sep 18
10:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 275
Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers +3, Total: 40

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – New England Team Total Over (21.5 -105)

Lean – New England (-3) over PITTSBURGH

Lean – Over (40)

· The Patriots only scored 7 points last week, but our metrics showed they should’ve been closer to 20.

· New England got the ball on nine occasions last Sunday in Miami. One of them was the strip sack fumble TD and one was to kneel at the end of the half. On the remaining seven possessions, the Patriots drove inside of Dolphins territory on five and reached the 50-yard line on another. 

· Mac Jones gained 6.0 yards per pass play, which was only slightly below expectations. I do not think it’s time to hit the panic button on New England’s offense.

· TJ Watt is out for at least six weeks with torn pectoral muscle and Pittsburgh’s defense has looked vastly different without the All-Pro edge rusher on the field since he entered the NFL in 2017. The Steelers have been about 8 points per game worse using Watt’s on/off Expected Points Added (EPA) splits. 

· I don’t think Watt is worth 8 points to the spread but there’s a decent argument to be made he is the most valuable defender in the league except potentially Aaron Donald. I’m going to mark the loss of Watt down for 2.2 points which drops the Steelers to a below average defense like they’ve been in the 600 career snaps he’s been sidelined. 

· Pittsburgh’s other edge rusher Alex Highsmith had a league-leading three sacks in week 1 but I doubt he gets to Mac Jones this Sunday without Watt distracting protection schemes. The Patriots offensive line allowed only 4 pressures (2nd) last week.

· The Steelers surrendered 6.5 yards per target to opposing running backs last year (25th). Pittsburgh’s defense allowed 96 yards on 10 receptions to Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine in week 1. The Patriots targeted RBs on 30.0% of passes in the season opener (5th-most).

· The total for this game was 43 before last week and is now down to 40.5 even though Watt is out. The Steelers are clearly worse on defense while I think New England nearly met expectations on both sides of the ball based on the underlying metrics. Our model suggests we should bet this full game total over, but I’m not going to get caught counting on Mitchell Trubisky to score more than 17 points against Bill Belichick.

· Trubisky had 32.5% of his yards last week come from a flea-flicker and a tight end screen. He showed severe limitations throwing anywhere but the right side of the field. Belichick will make him go anywhere other than right and take away his favorite receiver TE Pat Freiermuth.

· Freiermuth’s nine week 1 targets were tied for the most among all tight ends. New England’s defense conceded a league-low 5.1 yards per target to opposing TEs last season and Miami’s tight ends combined for just 15 receiving yards versus the Patriots last week.

· Our model has the Patriots by 4.5 with a predicted total of 44.5, which projects 24.5 points for New England with upside potential given that the Steelers have been worse defensively without Watt than I adjusted for.

New England’s Team Total Over 21.5 is a Strong Opinion at 22 or less. The alternate play is the game Over 40.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Patriots
  • Steelers


  • Pass Plays 0.00 0.00
  • Succ Pass Plays 0.0% 0.0%
  • Sack Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Int Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Deep Pass Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Big Pass Yards 0.0% 0.0%
  • NYPP 0.00 0.00


  • Rush Plays 0.00 0.00
  • RB YPR 0.00 0.00
  • Stuff Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Succ Rush Plays 0.0% 0.0%
  • Big Rush Yards 0.0% 0.0%
  • Yards Per Rush 0.00 0.00


  • All Snaps 0.00 0.00
  • Early Down Succ 0.0% 0.0%
  • Succ Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Big Yards Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Yards Per Play 0.00 0.00
  • Fumble Lost Rate 0.0% 0.0%
  • Time Per Play (sec) 0.00 0.00
  • Run Ratio 0.0% 0.0%
  • Starting Field Pos 0.00 0.00
  • Game Control 0.00 0.00
  • Points 0.00 0.00
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