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Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Point Spread - Pick

Minnesota Vikings (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: MIN +6/PIT -6
Over/Under Total: 45.5

The Minnesota Vikings come to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in big week two Sunday action. The Steelers went into Cleveland on Sunday in week one and won, 21-18, though they didn't cover the spread. At home, they should be better this week, especially as hold-out Le'Veon Bell makes his way back into the fold. It won't be easy this week as the offense looks to be tested by a solid Minnesota defense that shined in week one in a 29-19 win over the Saints. With Sam Bradford deadly-accurate and a strong debut by RB Dalvin Cook, the offense also looked improved and though this is an out-of-their element road game, look for a solid Minnesota effort, as week one had to be an energizing experience.

The Steelers game against Cleveland wasn't as close as the score indicates, with the Browns adding a TD and a two late in the game. Still, it was a competitive game against a 1-win team from last season. A leading conference contender, the Steelers can be up-and-down. Some games, their stocked offense and rising defense are too much for opponents. But sometimes, things don't click for the Steelers and when they don't, Pittsburgh is imminently beatable. They are indeed a good team and will likely have a big say in the conference conversation this season, but they can play with a wide range of form from week-to-week.

It helps that when all else fails, the firepower on offense will still surface. On Sunday, Antonio Brown caught all 11 of the balls targeted for him for 182 yards, including an improbable late reception that helped sew up the win. And Bell is one of the best in the business and should be more on-point this week. Having what might be the best WR and RB in the conference is a gift that Ben Roethlisberger makes good use of. He threw two TDs to tight end Jesse James, who is becoming a nice red-zone threat. Now, we need to see the other pieces of the offense perform on a more-consistent basis—guys like Martavis Bryant and a nice cast of young receivers that shine some weeks and disappear in others. Helping it all come together is one of the better offensive lines in the conference.

The Steelers look to have a defense that has finally peaked, The youth movement has taken hold, with enough experience to make it all come together. They gave up two touchdowns against the Browns and some yardage, but also made the big plays when it counted. Among the youth rising to the top is in the middle with dynamic Ryan Shazier, along with rookie TJ Watt. In his NFL debut, Watt picked off a DeShone Kizer pass and registered two sacks. Adding pass-rush menace in week one was another growing force in the middle with Anthony Chickillo. New Steeler and former Brown CB Joe Haden was effective against his old team, both against the pass and with a sack of his own. The front was also effective with Javon Hargrave and Cameron Heyward getting sacks on the day. This is an offense that does two things well and both of them are worth their weight in gold—making big stops when it counts, in addition to making game-changing big plays in the form of turnovers, sacks, and the like. For a Vikings offense that struggles to gain foothold at times, this is a big test for them. Still, Pittsburgh got the short end of the stick injury-wise, with Bud Dupree banged up and DE Stephon Tuitt lost indefinitely.

Granted, the Vikings started last season fast and it didn't end up going anywhere, so we want to temper our optimism. Plus, there were certain conditions that were favorable, namely how the Saints didn't play well and might have made the Vikes look better than they are in certain areas, Still, it was an awfully-impressive season debut for Minnesota on both sides of the ball. The offense ran smoothly and the defense kept the high-powered Saints' offense in-check for most of the game.

Sam Bradford was excellent on MNF, going 27-for-32 with 346 yards and three touchdowns. He got a big assist from rookie back Dalvin Cook, who ran for 127 yards. Making it all come together was exemplary offensive-line play that allowed Bradford to sit back and coolly operate in a clean pocket. Through the air, the improving receiving duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs were excellent, Thielen had 157 yards on 9 catches, while Diggs had 93 yards and two touchdown grabs. Tight End Kyle Rudolph also caught a TD.


It was a close game until late in the second quarter, at which point the Vikes' defense clamped down on the Saints and allowed the offense to pull away. Seven of the Saints' points came at the end with the game already in hand. Guys like Terrance Newman, Trae Waynes, Andrew Zendejo, and Harrison Smith were excellent in the secondary, with Brees not really able to get untracked. Linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks were active and Everson Griffen was applying the pass-rush from up-front. They look to be a tough group and with a more-complete season, they might be one of the best units in the conference.

Still, beating the Saints at home and then playing in a cross-conference game on the road on the short week are two different things. The defense the Vikes will see this week is in a different dimension from what they saw on MNF. Still, the Vikings look to be a team that at the present moment, won't be easy to beat and if so, the margin might not be that big.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Minnesota Vikings plus 6 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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