The Colts 3-6 record is a quite an accomplishment having in mind all the injury woes the team is having this season. They are coming off from a solid road win over another injury-plagued squad, Houston Texans that ended the three-game losing streak and a confidence level might be on the rise. Steelers on the other side are riding a three-game winning streak but I can still feel the chills when I think about that Big Ben’s meltdown in the press conference after that home loss by the Jaguars and I’ve been waiting for another similar kind of event to happen since. Their latest victim was Detroit, two weeks ago before their bye week.
The Colts are 5-4 against the spread this season (3-1 at home) and they are 6-3 in Over/Under while the Steelers are 5-3 against the spread (3-2 on the road) and 1-7 in Over/Under. Total points for Sunday’s matchup are set at 43.5 and bookies are giving a solid advantage to the Pittsburgh Steelers at -10. Very interesting showdown is ahead so let’s check some basic info about the teams’ form so far into the season.
The absence of Colts’ starting quarterback Andrew Luck due to a shoulder injury is taking its toll on the team who had high hopes since the arrival of Frank Gore. Recently Luck suffered a setback in his recovery from surgery to repair the torn labrum in his shoulder and was placed on the I-R list on November 2nd, which means that he won’t play in 2017. The reports say that Luck has been advised not to throw for 2-3 months in order to focus on his rehab and we’ll hopefully see him in the 2018 season. The Colts probably won’t see the playoff this year but we must show some respect to Jacoby Brissett who managed to do some good things at the helm of their offense in a very short period of time.
On the stat sheet, the team is averaging 304.6 total yards in offense (205.9 passing yards and 98.7 rushing yards) per game and 4.8 yards per play. Offensively they rank 25th in the league (23rd in passing and 20th in rushing). On the other side of the field, they allow 393.6 total yards (279.7 passing yards and 113.9 rushing yards) to their opponents and 6.1 yards per play. Their overall defense is ranked 31st in the league (31st in passing yards allowed and 17th in rushing yards allowed) while they also allow most points in the NFL this season (28.9).
Individually, QB Jacoby Brissett leads the offense with 1950 total yards, seven TDs and four picks while running back duo Frank Gore and Marlon Mack top the team in rushing with 455 and 212 yards and four scores combined. TE Jack Doyle and WR T.Y. Hilton who is having a great season so far top the receiving corps with 441 and 702 yards and five scores combined. On defense, linebacker Jonathan Bostic and strong safety Matthias Farley lead the team in total tackles with 40 and 34 while DE Jabaal Sheard has team-high 4.5 sacks.
John Simon (stinger) is out while Matt Jones (ankle), Vontae Davis (groin) and Quincy Wilson (knee) are all listed as questionable for Sunday.
Even though they are 6-2 the Steelers don’t look like a team that is ready for some long postseason run this year. There have been many problems in the locker room and they are all connected with their starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who is obviously having some confidence issues lately. Misunderstanding with his top receiver Antonio Brown in Week 4 against the Ravens and emotional meltdown that followed after the game with the Jaguars in which he recorded career-high five picks and the statement that he “Maybe Just Don’t Have It Anymore” during the post-game press conference is clear indicator that something is rotten in kingdom of Denmark. I’m sure that the Steelers will evaluate their QB unit at the end of the season, no matter how far they go into the playoffs that look as a certainty at this moment.
Statistically, the team is averaging 363.8 total yards in offense (254.9 passing yards and 108.9 rushing yards) per match and 5.6 yards per play. Defensively, they allow 286.6 total yards per game (180.0 passing yards and 106.6 rushing yards) to their opponents and 4.8 yards per play. Their defense ranks 5th in total yards allowed and 2nd in points allowed per matchup (16.4).
Ben Roethlisberger has 2062 passing yards, 10 TDs and nine interceptions so far while star running back Le’Veon Bell leads the team’s ground attack with 760 yards and five scores. WR duo Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster top the receiving corps with 835 and 424 yards and seven scores combined. Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams top the team in tackles with 50 and 32 while DE Cameron Heyward collected team-high 5.0 sacks.
Vance McDonald (knee), Mike Mitchell (ankle), Stephon Tuitt (back) and Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) are listed as questionable while Martavis Bryant (disciplinary) is listed as probable for Sunday.
Colts vs. Steelers Betting Lines
As aforementioned, the Steelers team doesn’t reflect much confidence this season by my opinion and they are doomed to flop earlier than most expect. Still, this probably won’t happen against the subpar Colts without Andrew Luck at the steering wheel but a -10 spread look a bit high and that’s why my money here goes on the Colts. On the other side, more than 43.5 points in total look like a no-brainer and it’s a much less risky pick then the ATS. I expect a very interesting and relatively close game at Lucas Oil Stadium with the Steelers as the final winners but under 10 points difference.