NFL Football: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/12/2021

by James Q

NFL Football:  Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/12/2021

 
Game Time:  1:00 Pm ET, Sunday, September 12th, 2021
Venue:  Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
Where to Watch:  CBS
 

 

Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Buffalo -6.5; O/U 49 points
BetMGM:  Buffalo -6.5; O/U 48.5 points
PointsBet:  Buffalo -6.5; O/U 48.5 points
 
Season Record
 
Steelers:  0-0;  First game of the season.  
Bills:  0-0; First game of the season.
 
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills Preview and Analysis

 
Recent Form
The Steelers finished last season 12-4. A SHOCKING finish for a team that started 11-0.  It was confusing.  Everyone who watched kind of agreed that we saw Ben Roethlisberger completely fall apart towards the end.  Ben is the Quarterback again!  He came into camp lighter than last year.  Apparently he decided that the year he is forced to retire should be the year he eats right and trains in the off-season.  Big Ben has the luxury of not being Aaron Rodgers.  He is not as good and his team did not go out and get a rookie in the first round to take over soon.  The AFC North will be competitive this year and the “Black and Yellow” can’t afford to drop game 1.
 
The Bills are on a roll.  After every offseason and nfl preseason they seem to come back a little bit better.  Better than last season for the Bills would be beating Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. It’s not enough to make it to the NFL playoffs, they need a division title.  They need to face Tom Brady and his backup dancers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.  The entire city of Buffalo is in love with young quarterback Josh Allen.  They drafted Josh, they turned the offense over to him and let him develop right before their eyes.  They paid Josh the big bucks this offseason and now everyone expects more.
 

Offensive Analysis

Ben Roethlisberger was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 and for most of those 17 years he has run a big passing game with his big arm.  He is a gunslinger. Last season’s awful last 5 games of the season led to being bounced in the first game of the Postseason by the Cleveland Browns.  A team that Ben Roethlisberger has dominated for the entirety of his career until that point.  Instead of facing the writing on the wall and moving off Big Ben the Steelers have opted to get him more weapons and try again.  Ben has a pair of top notch wide receivers in Juju Smith-Schuster and new edition Chase Claypool and a recently surgically repaired arm.  His entire season will be spent proving he has more in the tank.  

Josh Allen seems like a young Big Ben.  A big kid with a big arm in a cold winter Northeast city.  He has gotten stronger year after year and his weapons have improved right along with him.  They added WR Emmanuel Sanders to the already working mix of Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. Emmanuel comes over from the Denver Broncos with a Super Bowl ring, 8619 receiving yards and 50 touchdowns in his career. It’s odd to think a young team adds a 34 year old wide receiver to get better but that looks like that has happened.  Josh Allen is adept at running when the pocket breaks down, 421 yards 8 touchdowns running,  though the Bills are hoping he won’t have to as much.  They also used RB Devin Singletary to the tune of 687 yards and 16 rushing TD’s.  So they are indeed strong.    The Bills only real weakness on offense is mental, Cole Beasley (the 3rd option receiver) is a highly paid dummy. He is willing to risk all this momentum and growth the Bills have had since drafting Allen by being a vocal anti-vaxxer. He is willing to risk possible forfeiture of games for the entire team, and long absences for himself on maybe just possible protocol mistakes.  If others on the team are as seemingly dumb as Beasley they could shortcircuit what looks as if it will be the best Buffalo season since Marv Levy was the Coach.

Defensive Analysis

The Steelers had the highest quarterback pressure rate in 2020. A d-line led by TJ Watt and Melvin Ingram can’t be ignored. They got after it and got after it hard.  The Steelers were in the league’s top three in Sacks per pass attempt, takeaways, points allowed per game, passing yards allowed, total yards allowed.  They were the best defense.  Making Big Ben’s statistical collapse at the end of 2020 so much harder to stomach. They are a tight unit with few weaknesses and a strong culture.  They led the league in sacks with 52 and have an extra game to top that mark this season.

The Bills Defense were ranked 9th in the league according to NFL.com.  With Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier still in place and the main pieces still in place, they should improve on that ranking. They have another year of LB Tremaine Edmunds and DT Ed Oliver to strive for proving their 1st round selections were justified. They plan on getting improvement too.  They added pieces Last year AJ Espenesa and this year Greg Rousseau.  It’s time the defense was top five to match an offense that was ranked #2.  

Steelers vs Bills Prediction
This is a great matchup of the Bills powerful offense against the Steelers powerful defense. We have little insights from the preseason games that starters were not risked in… Though the basic make-up of each team has remained the same.  So,
 
Our prediction for Sunday September 12th is    Bills 28 - Steelers 17       
 
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NFL Betting Trends

The Steelers have won 16  of the 27 meetings of these two franchises all time.
Buffalo beat the spread 11 times in 16 games last season.
Buffalo logged an Over  11 out of last seasons 16. 
 
The Steelers will have more money bet on them to win as road underdogs than Buffalo will have on them to win as home favorites.  Such is the enthusiasm of Steelers fans.
Last Season the Steeler went 8 Over and 8 Under in 16 games. 
 

Key Injuries

Steelers: Zach Banner OT, (knee); Stephon Tuitt DE Injured reserve
Bills:  Micah Hyde S,  Questionable (personal)
 

Players to Watch

Steelers:  Najee Harris.  Can the rookie running back improve last season’s last place ranked run game.  It would be almost hard not to if Najee is healthy.
Bills: Cole Beasley.  Will the un-vaxxed slot receiver blow it for everyone and get the game cancelled the day of? I sure hope not.  I like football and making money.
 

Notable Quotes

“The world is a lesser place (today)... We mourn the loss of former Steelers player and broadcaster, Tunch Ilkin.”   - Pittsburgh Steelers Twitter statement.
 
Bills:  No direct quotes but Adam Shefter of ESPN pointed out all the AFC EAST quarterbacks are 24 or younger with Josh Allen being the oldest.  Jerry Jones pointed out that the Buffalo Bills should stay in Buffalo.  (a position that would make him money of course)
 

Starting Lineups

Steelers:  QB Bg Ben, RB Najee Hariss, WR Diontae Johnson, WR Juju Smith-schuster, WR Chase Claypool, TE Eric Ebron
Bills:  Qb Josh Allen, RB Devin Singletary, WR Stefon Diggs, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Cole Ceasley, TE Dawson Knox

Statistical Leaders

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger 
Bills: Josh Allen 
The performance of these two will decide the entire game.  That and if Cole Beasley shows up with a tickle in his throat.
 
Coaches:
 

Weather Forecast

Rain.  A high of 77*, that will give way to rainy rain.  Wind at 13 mph.


James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

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