Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills: Prediction, Odds, Depth Charts (1/15/24)

On Monday (1/15/24), the Buffalo Bills host the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Wild Card game. In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full matchup preview. In addition, find our Steelers vs. Bills best bet which is the Bills -10.

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Buffalo Bills Prediction

After originally being scheduled to take place on Sunday, the Wild Card game between the Steelers and Bills was postponed due to dangerous weather conditions. The forecast predicted heavy snow and wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour. The weather on Monday is expected to be somewhat less impactful, but it won’t be a picnic out in Buffalo. However, this Bills team is built to succeed in those types of conditions.

Buffalo’s defense has rounded into form after a slew of midseason injuries, and the trade deadline acquisition of cornerback Rasul Douglas was massive. Since Week 10 when Douglas arrived, the Bills rank 5th in EPA/play allowed on defense. The Steelers are rolling with Mason Rudolph for this game in an effort to ride the hot hand, but it’s difficult to have any conviction in him moving the ball with consistency in this game.

Rudolph has three solid starts under his belt, but they came against questionable opponents. He produced against the Bengals and Seahawks, two bottom six pass defenses by success rate, before finishing with a brutal 46.2 PFF passing grade against the Ravens who were resting multiple starters. In tough weather conditions against an elite Buffalo pass defense, it will be a long day for Rudolph, especially if the Bills load the box and force late down and distance situations.

Meanwhile, the Bills are facing a Steelers defense missing its best player, T.J. Watt. For what it’s worth, the Steelers have gone a dreadful 1-10 without Watt since he was drafted compared to 69-36-2 with him in the lineup. It will be difficult for the Steelers to generate enough meaningful pass rush to disrupt Josh Allen in this game, and Allen is one of the few quarterbacks you can trust in any weather conditions with his powerful arm and physical running style.

It was over a year ago and in much better weather conditions, but the last time the Bills faced the Steelers without Watt, Josh Allen finished with 424 passing yards and four touchdowns while the Bills averaged 10.2 yards per play. Buffalo ranks third in both offensive DVOA and EPA, and save for some untimely Allen turnovers (which are always a possibility), it’s tough to see the Steelers finding consistent stops in this game.

The Packers upset the Cowboys in glorious fashion on Sunday as first-year starting quarterback Jordan Love torched the Dallas defense. However, that game was an anomaly given how 7 seeds have performed in the Wild Card round. Entering this season, 7 seeds had gone 0-6 with a -73 point differential since the playoff field was expanded to 14 teams in 2000. That’s an average margin of victory of over 12 points per game.

The Steelers put everything into their final three games of the regular season with their playoff lives on the line, and this is their third straight road game. Credit Mike Tomlin for Pittsburgh scraping their way into the postseason, but this is a team with a ton of issues. They’re 25th in net yards per play, below teams like the Patriots, Jets, and Titans.

Pittsburgh ranks second in TeamRankings’ luck rankings as they’ve performed much worse than their record indicates. The Bills, meanwhile, are on the opposite end of the spectrum – they rank sixth in net yards per play and 27th in luck rankings. The market has come around on Buffalo during their five-game win streak to close out the regular season, but there’s still value in taking them to cover the big spread on Monday.

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Buffalo Bills Prediction: Bills

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Buffalo Bills Best Odds

The Bills find themselves as 10-point home favorites in this first-round playoff matchup with a total currently sitting at 38.5 points. We’ve seen significant movement in both the spread and total for this game. Buffalo opened as low as 7.5-point favorites when lines were first posted, and the market quickly steamed that number up to the key -10. The total opened around 43 points but came down as low as 33 points before the announcement was made that it would be moved to Monday. The current numbers would imply a final score of around 24-14 in favor of the Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Buffalo Bills Key Injuries

The Bills will be without two significant contributors for this game in wide receiver Gabe Davis and safety Taylor Rapp. Cornerback Rasul Douglas is an important name to monitor after he suffered a knee injury last week. The Steelers will be without edge rusher extraordinaire T.J. Watt for this game after he suffered an MCL injury last week.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills Key Matchups

In this AFC Wild Card game, there are some intriguing matchups to break down. Let’s take a look at two of the biggest individual matchups that will help determine the winner of the game on Monday.

Stefon Diggs Vs. Joey Porter Jr.

If the Bills are going to unlock their next gear for a potential run at a Super Bowl, ramping up Stefon Diggs has to be a big part of it. Diggs caught 7 passes for 87 yards in Week 18 against the Dolphins, but he was held under 50 yards in four games prior to that and only averaged 48.3 yards per game from November on.

This will be an intriguing matchup against rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who has often operated in shadow coverage this season. He has allowed just a 45.3% catch rate this year, which is the second-lowest of 133 qualified cornerbacks per PFF. The Bills likely don’t need to throw the ball a ton to win this game, but Diggs getting off the schneid would be a huge help in covering the 10-point spread. He’s certainly no stranger to big playoff games.

George Pickens Vs. Rasul Douglas

The Steelers are going to face an uphill battle on Monday in brutal weather conditions and with an offense that has been anemic for most of the season. George Pickens is one of the lone bright spots for this offense, but he was held without a catch in Week 18. In Weeks 16 and 17, he had a combined 11 catches for 326 yards, which was nearly 30% of his season-long yardage output.

Pickens draws a brutal matchup here against Rasul Douglas, who has been dominant since joining the Bills midway through the year. Since Week 10, Douglas has allowed a 52.8 passer rating in coverage, which is the seventh-lowest in the NFL. He has allowed 60 or fewer yards in coverage in all but one of his games with the Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart

QB: Mason Rudolph
RB1: Najee Harris
RB2: Jaylen Warren
LWR: Diontae Johnson
RWR: George Pickens
SWR: Allen Robinson II
TE1: Pat Freiermuth

Buffalo Bills Depth Chart

QB: Josh Allen
RB1: James Cook
RB2: Latavius Murray
LWR: Stefon Diggs
RWR: Trent Sherfield
SWR: Khalil Shakir
TE1: Dalton Kincaid

Best NFL Betting Promo Codes

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

Hot NFL Stories