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Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread - Pick

Buffalo Bills (9-4 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5 SU, 7-4-2 ATS)
Week 15 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, December 15, 2019 at 8:20PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: BUF +1.5/PIT -1.5
Over/Under Total: 37

The Buffalo Bills come to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. This key AFC matchup has high stakes. For Buffalo, they will be looking to help extinguish the loss of last week when they fell to the red-hot Ravens. 24-17. While they lost and narrowly avoided covering the spread, they still showed some guts and that they belong with the elite of the conference, but playoff ramifications are abound and they'll be looking to do damage. But they will be on the road against a Steelers team that continues to win, coming off a 23-17 win over the Cardinals on the road last week—their 7th win in 8 games. With a realistic path to the postseason in a season that looked like it was shaping into a disaster, look for a tough game in Pittsburgh for the Bills this week.

Granted, last week didn't really work out, but in hanging in there with the Ravens and setting up a late drive that could have tied the game showed a lot for Buffalo. Whereas a few weeks ago, a lot of people questioned where the Bills really stand, there are more believers now. Between the tough defense, the growth of second-year quarterback Josh Allen, and some recent results, they might not be huge contenders, but are at least interesting dark horses in this league. A road-stomping of an upstart Denver team and a lopsided Thanksgiving whupping of Dallas led to the loss on Sunday. One should expect an urgent version of the Bills to surface on Sunday night.

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Moving forward, if the Bills fall short, it will likely be the offensive side of the ball that will be to blame. Allen did not have his best game on Sunday, completing 17 of 39 passes and failing to establish much rhythm on offense. Devin Singletary had some nice runs, but Frank Gore and Allen weren't able to get untracked with their legs. The combination of John Brown, Cole Beasley, and TE Dawson Knox combined for merely 91 yards. On off days with this offense, it becomes clear how few stars they have on this side of the ball. There's just not a ton of firepower. And against the defense they face this week, they're going to have to find some answers.

Allowing just 24 points to Baltimore could qualify as a moral victory, even if the team came up short in an overall sense. It says a lot about the Buffalo defense that this was actually a season-high in terms of points allowed by this bunch. In allowing very little through the air on Sunday, they once against flexed a pass-defense that is one of the best in the AFC. They're not much worse against the run and even the high-powered Baltimore offense had to be their most-resourceful and get the most of what they had on Sunday to beat this group. Against a Pittsburgh offense that sometimes lacks in firepower, one could imagine this defense thriving, even on the road against a team desperate for a win.

It's hard to overstate what the Steelers have been able to do amidst all kinds of issues. A 7-1 mark in their last 8 games has them on the precipice of a wild card berth, but they need to stay on-point. Beating the Bengals, Browns, and Cardinals is nice, but this is where they can really test themselves and see if they are indeed a contender. The offense has been decimated by injuries and still, they keep winning, with a big assist from special teams and especially a defense that has really come around and is among the more balanced and impactful groups in the business.

Devlin Hodges was 16-for 19 on Sunday and his efficiency has been commendable, as have his steel nerves and overall presence behind center. It's not the strength of the team. It's not just that they're working with their third quarterback of the season, but they're also missing guys like James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, meaning they're working with a stripped-bare crew of role guys. At running back is Benny Snell leading the way, with ball-catchers James Washington and Diontae Johnson the premier targets. It's amazing that a team can continue winning at this clip with a no-name offense like this. We'll see if Conner is maybe ready to return to the fold for this game, but make no mistake, it's a group without any star-power to speak of. On Sunday, they only scored 16 points, with the other 7 coming on a long return from Johnson, who had a big game.

This Steelers' defense is really the goods. On Sunday, more big plays helped steer the game in the Steelers' column, with Joe Haden getting two picks, while TJ Watt had one, as well. Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Cameron Heyward, and Bud Dupree all had sacks on the day. They make plays on all levels, getting after the quarterback and just being very disruptive. And they deliver every week. The secondary is not only stout, but capable of flipping a game on its head with big plays. Between their playmaking upside and general stoutness, it's hard to name a defense in the league that is playing better than this group. And against a Buffalo road-offense that doesn't always fire, this could be a big edge.

I see both offenses struggling in this spot. The Buffalo offense is perhaps a little better, but so is the Pittsburgh defense right now. I think it's the Steelers' playmaking on defense that could surface more in this matchup. I see a tight game opened up a little by the Steelers' defense. It's a tough matchup and Buffalo will be really angling for the win and they're a heck of a team in their own right. I see all that resonating with Pittsburgh, who will react accordingly with heightened urgency, nipping the cover at home this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers minus 1.5 points. Bet the Bills-Steelers game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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