Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Seattle Seahawks (5-5)
The Seahawks are favored by 3.5 points here at home, where they are 21-4 straight up (outscoring opponents by an average of 11.38 points per game) in their last 25 games, since the start of the 2013 season. Over those 25 games, they were favored by fewer than 4 points just twice. They were favored by just 3 points at home over the Cardinals 2 weeks ago, a loss by a touchdown, but the Cardinals are much better than the Steelers, as the Steelers rank 12th in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Cardinals are 1st.
The Steelers have been better offensively in games where Ben Roethlisberger plays, moving the chains at a 75.14% rate in the 6 games he’s played, as opposed to 63.64% in their other 4 games, but they’re far from healthy offensively, missing running back Le’Veon Bell, left tackle Kelvin Beachum, and center Maurkice Pouncey for the season. Those are 3 key starters from last year’s dominant offense. They looked good offensively in their 2 last games before the bye, but that was at home against Cleveland and Oakland. On the road in Seattle is much tougher and they could easily struggle, much like they did three games ago, at home for Cincinnati.
Seattle isn’t quite as good as they have been in recent years, thanks to poor offensive line play, but they’re better than their 5-5 record. Four of their five losses came by a touchdown or less and they’ve lost to teams like Green Bay, Arizona, Cincinnati, and Carolina. The Seahawks of years past definitely would have won a couple of those games, but the Seahawks still rank 6th in rate of moving the chains differential against a tough schedule.
They’re going to be missing a couple of players with injury, running back Marshawn Lynch and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, but Irvin is largely a part-time player and rookie phenom Thomas Rawls has run much better than Lynch this season, as Lynch has been banged up all year . I’m confident in the Seahawks covering, especially since the public is all over the underdog. The only reason this isn’t my Pick of the Week is because close to 1 in 4 games are decided by a field or goal or less and I’m very worried about a backdoor cover. If this line does move down to a field goal, I may reconsider.
Seattle Seahawks 23 Pittsburgh Steelers 13
Pick against the spread: Seattle -3.5