Detroit Lions vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Preview, Prediction & Odds - Aug. 21, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Tuesday, Aug 17, 2021
Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 21, 2021
Venue: FedEx Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Where to watch: NFL Network

Preseason to date
Lions: 0-1 (lost 16-15 vs. Buffalo in Week 1)
Steelers: 2-0 (won at Philadelphia in Week 2)

Last week’s stats leaders

Passing: David Blough -- 5-for-6, 76 yards; Jared Goff -- 7-for-9, 56 yards
Rushing: Craig Reynolds -- 6 carries, 49 yards, 1 touchdown
Receiving: Tom Kennedy -- 4 catches, 46 yards
Defense: Bruce Hector, Julian Okwara -- 1 sack

Passing: Dwayne Haskins -- 16-for-22, 161 yards, 1 touchdown
Rushing: Tony Brooks-James -- 9 carries, 51 yards
Receiving: Rico Bussey -- 4 catches, 45 yards
Defense: Jamir Jones -- 1 sack

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Steelers -5.5, Lions +5.5
BetMGM: Steelers -5.5, Lions +5.5
FanDuel: Steelers -5.5, Lions +5.5

Larry Ness went 3-1-1 last week in the first set of NFL Preseason games. Keep an eye on our Shop Picks page to see what Larry and our other champion handicappers will do this week. Don’t miss that big winner, or any of their premium picks.

Lions - Steelers preview

The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to improve to 3-0 on the preseason when they play home at FedEx Field for the first time to take on the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

Pittsburgh has started off strong in the first two exhibition contests, both without the services of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Instead, it’s been former first-round pick and reclamation project Dwayne Haskins, who has looked to steal the backup quarterback spot from Mason Rudolph. Through two games, the former Washington Football Team quarterback has thrown for 215 yards and a touchdown with a 94.3 quarterback rating.

Whether this is the week we see Roethlisberger for the remainder of this preseason schedule is not set in stone. Given the fact Haskins has done well with the first-team offense, there might be no rush to give Roethlisberger that much time to get warmed up. He knows the offense and his personnel, how he gels with Chase Claypool and fellow wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

If Haskins gets the bulk of the work again, the good news is Pittsburgh will have a well-rested veteran quarterback ready to go for Week 1. Pittsburgh’s mantra has always been not what you do in August, but what happens when you get to those postseason games. That’s when Big Ben shines … unless he plays the Cleveland Browns in the playoff again.

While the Steelers have their eyes set on the postseason, the Lions are looking to figure out where they are in the circle of the football world.

The Lions are coming off a one-point loss to the Buffalo Bills in their first preseason game. It was the Detroit debut of Jared Goff, who was traded from the Los Angeles Rams for Matthew Stafford. Goff was fine, but averaged just over six yards per attempt. In order for the Lions to be a good team, it has to come off the arm of Goff.

But there’s David Blough, the 26-year-old who averaged 15 yards per completion against the Bills. Could this be a potential quarterback battle brewing? Going against the stout Pittsburgh defense is going to be a tough test as is after shutting down the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. One of these quarterbacks has to play well and get some protection from Detroit’s offensive line.

Javon McKinley and Tyrell Williams are going to be relied upon on the outside to get some production for head coach Dan Campbell’s squad.

This game is normally the dress rehearsal before the preseason, and we should expect the same for the Steelers having already played two preseason games.

Betting trends

The Lions are 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 on the road, and are 3-7 in their last 10 as a dog on the road.

The over has cashed in four of the last five meetings.

DET - PIT prediction

NFL Preseason Week ⅔ action, where things start to get more magnified and key players start to make their presence felt. This has the makings of the Steelers keeping their offense going, no matter who’s under center, and pick apart the Lions’ defense and remind folks that they can indeed compete with the Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and even the Cincinnati Bengals (pending a healthy Joe Burrow) to be a real threat in the AFC North. Steelers win 27-13.

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today.  And if you enjoyed this Detroit Lions - Pittsburgh Steelers prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NFL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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