When the Steelers (6-5-1) travel to the Vikings (5-7) in the opening game of NFL Week 14, they will be looking to keep improving their AFC playoff hopes while further hampering the hosts’ postseason chances in the NFC. Pittsburgh is coming off a big home win vs. Baltimore, while Minnesota lost in a massive road upset at Detroit.
Ben Roethlisberger is playing well again for the Steelers, perhaps with the sentiment he wants to finish his possible last season strong. Kirk Cousins has had more trouble finishing close games late for the Vikings.
While the Steelers’ offense will be at full strength led by rookie running back Najee Harris and wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, the Vikings will be without wide receiver Adam Thielen (ankle) and possibly also running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder), putting more pressure on wide receiver Justin Jefferson and maybe backup back Alexander Mattison to have big games.
Pittsburgh has the key defensive edge going in with T.J. Watt wreaking havoc at full speed.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Steelers vs. Vikings in Week 14, including updated odds, trends and our expert’s prediction for “Thursday Night Football.”
Steelers vs. Vikings odds for Thursday Night Football
- Spread: Vikings by 3
- Over/under: 43.5
- Moneyine: Steelers +144, Vikings -172
The Vikings are holding the short-week home-field advantage with the number in their favor. But recent results say the Steelers are the more complete team with their defense rebounding last week. The Vikings haven’t been the same type of unit on that side of the ball for Mike Zimmer.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Steelers vs. Vikings all-time series
The Steelers and Vikings have played 18 times in their long history of being NFL franchises. They have split the series 9-9, so barring an overtime tie, someone will hold the new advantage for a while. The Steelers have won four of five matchups going back to 2001. The Steelers won 26-9 at Pittsburgh in 2017.
Three trends to know
—52 percent of spread bettors are siding with the Vikings as mild home favorites to beat the Steelers and take care of the number.
—52 percent of over/under bettors are siding with the under given the defensive reputations of both teams and a few offensive limitations, too.
—The Steelers are 4-6 against the spread and 5-4-1 in their past 10 games. Only four of those games have gone over. The Vikings are 5-5 ATS and 5-5 SU and the over also has gone 5-5 vs. the under.
Three things to watch
Ben and Diontae
Roethlisberger has played well because he’s locked into a healthy and confident Johnson, who’s been consistent making plays and cutting down on drops. He’s acting like the No. 1 wideout he was drafted to be with the body type and playing style of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. The Vikings’ secondary is a mess and can’t cover him or Chase Claypool.
Kirk and Justin
The Vikings have a young candidate to take over the mantle of best wide receiver in the game, Justin Jefferson. After a stellar award-winning rookie season, Jefferson has been even better with 78 catches and 1,209 yards and 7 TDs in only 12 games. The Steelers need to contain him and focus on him after getting the break of not worrying about Thielen.
Mike and Mike
Mike Tomlin continues to coach the Steelers at a high level. Just when it looks like things are dire for the Steelers, he digs deep to get them back on track toward contention. His motivation is strong and he’ll be on it again this week. Meanwhile, Zimmer might see his long tenure ending soon after his team cannot figure how to win close clutch games.
Stats that matter
37 vs. 36. The Steelers lead the NFL as a team with 37 sacks. The Vikings are second with 36 sacks. They both can rush the passer with several players, outside and inside. Although the Vikings have had good pass protection for Cousins, they will be missing first-round left tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle) for another game. The Steelers’ line has played much better of late and the Vikings have more liabilities in the secondary.
Steelers vs. Vikings prediction
The Steelers are playing well and will carry over their confidence from the Ravens takedown and will be prepared to win another tight contest vs. another purple-clad team. Pittsburgh has more matchups across the board to like, and will take advantage of a weakened run defense well with Harris to complement making more big pass plays than Minnesota.
Steelers 23, Vikings 20