New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers u48.0 (-110)
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
October 9, 2016, 10AM PST
Our sim work calls for a Pittsburgh win, 27-19, when the Jets visit Heinz Field tomorrow morning. As such, we are pairing our play on the Steelers to cover with a wager on the UNDER.
In stark contrast to the Steelers' strong aerial and ground games that combine for 27 points per game, the Jets are 22nd in the league in points scored, averaging less than 20 per contest. Aside from the week 2 win at Buffalo, New York has registered below average productivity each week.
While Pittsburgh talented and diverse offense could easily run up the score if Jets' QB Ryan FItzpatrick is unable to control the ball (Fitzy tossed NINE picks over the last two weeks), we don't expect the 12th year man from Harvard to turn the ball over as he has most recently. The flurry of INTs Fitzpatrick amassed in weeks 3 and 4 unfolded against the Seahawks #1-ranked defense and the Chiefs' 9th-ranked D. At 18th, the Steelers' defense is decidedly lower on the totem pole -- right at the average by DVOA. Further, Pittsburgh is slightly below average in opponents interceptions. Accordingly, we do not think the Steelers are equipped to cause the kind of havoc on defense that flummoxed Fitzpatrick and the Jets offense in weeks 3 and 4.
In fact, the Steelers are more prone to throwing the ball away themselves than they are likely to force Fitzpatrick into INTs. Big Ben Roethlisberger is averaging a pick a game this year, while Pittsburgh's opposition averages 0.8 picks. Wuth that said, the Steelers do seem to have a knack for recovering fumbles, a known weakness of the Jets offense. Thus, rather than QB-produced turnovers, New York's ball carriers need to be especially vigilant Sunday--a doable imperative, in our estimation.
The UNDER is riding a three-game win streak in head-to-head action between these teams. The UNDER is also 11-5 all-time when the Jets and Steelers get together. Pittsburgh's O/U is 5-11 since last year against teams from the AFC, and is 2-6 overall in the Steelers' last eight games.