Two under-achieving teams meet on Monday Night Football when the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7) at Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN
- Time: Monday, November 28th at 8:15 p.m. ET
- Channel: ESPN
- MONEYLINE: IND ML (-140), PIT ML (+118)
- SPREAD: IND -2.5
- OVER/UNDER: 39.5
That low over/under tells you all you need to know about the type of game we should expect on Monday night. The Steelers seem like a lock to have a losing record for the first time in Mike Tomlin’s 16 years as head coach, while the Colts are three games behind the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South lead, so both of these teams seem likely to miss the playoffs.
Part of the season for the low total is the play of both defenses (when healthy). The Colts ranked fourth in the league in total yards allowed, sixth against the pass, and 12th against the run, so they have been a consistent defense across the board. Meanwhile, the Steelers are just 28th in scoring offense, 22nd in rushing, and 24th in passing, so they have been a below-average offense all year.
Kenny Pickett has been inconsistent as a starter, which is to be expected of a rookie. In six starts this season, he’s thrown for 1,426 yards and three touchdowns with eight interceptions. However, the Colts have just four interceptions as a team all season, so can they take advantage of the poor throws that Pickett has seemed prone to making?
The Steelers will counter by trying to keep the ball on the ground, which will mean a lot of Najee Harris since Jaylen Warren is battling a hamstring injury. Harris has been pretty subpar in his second season, rushing for 550 yards and three touchdowns on just 3.7 yards per carry, so Pittsburgh may need to find another way to move the ball.
When the Colts have the ball, they will be facing a Steelers defense that has its star T.J. Watt back. The team needs him in the worst way since Pittsburgh has struggled on defense since Watt got hurt in Week 1, ranking 28th in total yards allowed and 31st against the pass with 272.1 yards allowed per game.
The issue here is that Indianapolis doesn’t really want to throw the ball much. Since Jeff Saturday has taken over as head coach, he has simplified the offense and put the focus on ball control and a ground-and-pound attack. That led to two resurgent games from Jonathan Taylor, who has 231 rushing yards and two touchdowns over the last two games. That’s a nice improvement for a Colts team that ranks just 26th in rushing coming into the game.
If the Steelers are able to contain the ground game, then Indianapolis will turn to Matt Ryan to lead their 31st-ranked scoring offense. Ryan has been poor all season, completing 69.2% of his passes but for just 2,443 passing yards with 10 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has also taken 29 sacks in just nine games, which is a problem with Watt coming off the edge.
It’s easy to see a game in which neither offense can really get anything going.
Indianapolis Colts 23 Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Pat Freirmuth Over 42.5 receiving yards
When Pittsburgh does have to throw, Pat Freiermuth often benefits. The tight end has totaled at least 44 yards receiving in three of his last five games and has at least four catches in all but one of those. In Week 11, he saw a season-high 12 targets and has a 24% target share since Week 7. He’s going to be an active target for Pickett, so I think this total is too low.
SPORTSBOOK: Bet at DraftKings (-130)
Kenny Pickett under 213.5 passing yards
However, as we covered above, I don’t think Pickett is going to have too much success against this Indianapolis defense. They may not create many turnovers, but they just held Jalen Hurts and the Eagles to 173 passing yards in Week 11, so I feel pretty good about them being able to contain Pickett.
SPORTSBOOK: Bet at FANDUEL (-114)
Matt Ryan under 236.5 passing yards
We covered Matt Ryan’s struggles and conservative play above. Since Indianapolis wants to run early and often, I think this number is simply too high for Ryan against a Pittsburgh defense that will look to show up in primetime.
SPORTSBOOK: Bet at FANDUEL (-114)