Matt Temple-Marsh previews Thursday's NFL

New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Thursday Night Football best bets, predictions, picks and preview

New England travel to Pittsburgh in this weeks TNF, though as expected, Matt Temple-Marsh is expecting defenses to be on top.

NFL betting tips: Thursday Night Football

1pt Under 24.5 match points at 21/10 (Bet365)

1pt TJ Watt 1+ sack at 1/2 (bet365)

0.5pts Under 20.5 match points at 4/1 (bet365)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair

New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Kick-off time: Friday, 01:15 GMT
  • TV: Sky Sports Main Event
  • Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5 @ 10/11
  • Total: Under 29.5 @ 10/11

This is a matchup of two of the worst offences in the NFL. The New England Patriots are averaging an NFL worst 12.3 PPG, whilst the Steelers are scoring a marginally better 16.0 PPG. Here’s a view of their points scored over the past three weeks:

Patriots: 0, 10, 6
Steelers: 10, 16, 10

The Patriots are in offensive hell right now, Mac Jones looks a shell of himself, and backup Bailey Zappe managed to complete just 52% of his passes for 141 yards in his season debut last week. They’re in serious contention for the number one overall pick – and one of the biggest storylines of the offseason will be if they move on from legendary head coach Bill Belichick – but it’s safe to say this is a lost season for the Patriots.

For the Steelers, two weeks ago they fired OC Matt Canada and managed to post up their first 400+ yard offensive performance since Canada’s arrival. However, they did only score 16 points, and last time out they were stunned by the Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Kenny Pickett suffered an ankle injury and will be out for some time – so backup Mitchell Trubisky is set to take over. In Pickett’s relief, Trubisky managed to throw for a measly 117 yards against a porous Cardinals’ defence.

For all the offensive struggles, this is a matchup of two stout defences. The Steelers are conceding just 19.1 PPG, ranking as the sixth fewest in the NFL. The Patriots concede 21.2 per game, but in terms of yards allowed per game this number is at 310.5 – the eighth fewest in the league. There are no glaring weaknesses on either side in terms of exploitable matchups, but TJ Watt is one of the lone superstars in this game – and a player who could make the difference. Watt suffered an ankle injury but returned to play against the Cardinals – and should be good to go come Thursday. He has at least a sack in six straight games, and 14 on the season. The Pats have given up 12 sacks over their past three games, including five last time out against the Chargers. Khalil Mack managed to bring Zappe down twice – and Watt will be playing a similar role to Mack – back him to bring down the quarterback.

The last three games for the Patriots have seen under 18 total match-points – and they’ve only scored 13 points in that three-game span. Pittsburgh are struggling to click offensively, and they have suffered some big injuries as of late. Coming off a short week with two backup quarterbacks starting – this has the potential to be one of the lowest scoring games of the season, and a tough watch for fans. Take the unders.

Score prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 15-3 New England Patriots

Preview posted at 1200 BST on 07/12/23

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