Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings Matchup Preview (12/9/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings Matchup Preview (12/9/21)

Week 14 starts with the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Pittsburgh, 6-5-1 is coming off a hard-fought, 20-19 victory over their AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens.  Baltimore went for two to win the game, but Lamar Jackson’s pass was just out of Mark Andrews reach.  Per NFL.com, the Steelers are 7-2 following a loss of 20 plus points since Mike Tomlin became head coach in 2007; Pittsburgh had lost 41-10 to Cincinnati in week 12.  Minnesota, 5-7 is coming off an embarrassing road loss to the Detroit Lions 29-27, losing on the final play of the game on an 11-yard pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown.  The Vikings became the first team to lose to the Lions this season.  Minnesota oddly did not put a lot of pressure of Detroit’s Goff who’s known to be shaky in the pocket when facing the blitz and played a prevent defense in the final moments of the game.  Each of the Vikings seven losses this season have been by eight points or fewer.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings Betting Odds

The Vikings are a 3-point home favorite against the Steelers.  Pittsburgh is 5-7 against the spread this season, 2-3 on the road.  Minnesota is scoring 21.2 points per game at home in 2021 and currently on a two-game losing streak.  Pittsburgh is averaging 20.4 points per game on the road this season.  The Vikings have scored 30 or more points five times in 2021.  The Steelers have allowed 41 points in two of their last three games.  In their last six games, Minnesota is 2-4 averaging 26.8 points per game. The clubs last played each other in 2017 with Pittsburgh winning 26-9 over Minnesota.  

Kirk Cousins has struggled in primetime games throughout his career and Ben Roethlisberger might be able to pull at least one more memorable victory as his career is possibly coming to an end with the Steelers.  The two teams look like they’re going in different directions, the Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is fighting for his job while Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin continues to try and push his team to one of the final playoff berths.  

My Prediction: I’m going with the underdog Steelers at +3 to go on the road and beat the Vikings, 26-21.  The game will go over 44.5 points.

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/9/21
Time: 8:20 PM ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN
TV Coverage: FOX

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings Live Stream

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Pittsburgh Steelers Analysis

This season has been tough for Ben Roethlisberger the last of the star quarterbacks from the Class of 2004 to be playing in the NFL.  In his latest win against the Ravens, the two-time Super Bowl Champion threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns with a 111.8 passer rating.   Ben Roethlisberger has thrown at least two touchdown passes 123 times in his 18-year career, no other Pittsburgh quarterback including Terry Bradshaw has more than 65 such games since 1950.  On the season, Big Ben has passed for 2,758 yards, 16 touchdowns with 64.8 completion percentage.

The Pittsburgh ground attack is averaging 86.9 yards per game ranking them 29th in the NFL.  In the win over Baltimore, Najee Harris rushed for 71 yards on 21 carries.  On the season he has rushed for 779 yards on 217 carries with five touchdowns.  Harris has rushed for at least 60 yards in seven games this season.  Per NFL.com, the Steelers are 5-0-1 in games when Harris has 20 plus carries; 1-5 when he has fewer than 20 carries.  The 2021 first round pick out of Alabama is also a threat in the receiving game with 57 catches for 387 yards and two receiving touchdowns.  

Diontae Johnson is the Steelers leading receiver with 76 receptions for 914 yards and three touchdowns.  In the victory over Baltimore, he had eight catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns.  Including playoffs, he’s been targeted at least 10 times in 17 of his last 21 games.  The third-round draft pick in the 2019 has at least 80 yards receiving in his last four games.  Johnson is one of four players in Steelers history with at least five touchdown catches in each of their first three seasons.  He has 18 touchdowns in 42 career games.

The Steelers can still get to the quarterback with 37 sacks in 2021.  They have at least four sacks in 21 games since 2019; most such games in the NFL during that time.  Despite missing the whole week of practice due to COVID-19, T.J. Watt dominated the Ravens in week 13 totaling 3.5 sacks and three tackles for loss in the victory. He’s had at least three sacks in a game four times in his career.  The former Wisconsin Badger is one of 13 players with at least seven sacks in each of their first 5 seasons (65.5 total sacks in his career).   Currently, Watt who has 16 sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 26 quarterback hits in 10 games is +700 to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart

QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB1: Najee Harris
RB2: Benny Snell Jr
WR1: Diontae Johnson
WR2: Chase Claypool
WR3: James Washington
TE1: Pat Freiermuth

Minnesota Vikings Analysis

Kirk Cousins was 30-40 for 340 yards, two touchdowns and a 116.7 passer rating in the loss vs. Detroit.  Kirk Cousins has thrown for two or more touchdowns 37 times in his Vikings career. The former Michigan State Spartan has thrown for at least 300 yards 19 times and completed at least 30 passes in a game 12 times since joining Minnesota in 2018.  On the season the 10-year pro has thrown for 3,353 yards, 25 touchdowns, three interceptions and completing 68.4% of his passes.  While Cousins statistics are fantastic, he needs to make more big plays in key spots for his team to win.

In the loss against the Lions Justin Jefferson had 11 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown.  The 2020 first round pick leads the Vikings this season in receiving with 78 catches for 1,209 yards (second in the NFL) and seven touchdowns: averaging 15.5 yards per reception.  He has the most receptions among Minnesota players in their first two season with 166.  Additionally, he’s surpassed the great Randy Moss for most games with at least 100 receiving yards among Vikings players in their first two season per NFL.com.  With 2,609 yards receiving, Justin Jefferson has surpassed Jerry Rice for the third most receiving yards by an individual in their first two seasons in the Super Bowl era.  Finally, per NFL.com, he is one of seven wide receivers since the 1970 merger to have at least two receptions in each of their first 28 career games.  It can be argued that Justin Jefferson is simply the best wide receiver in the NFL.   

Adam Thielen is the other player part of the Vikings dangerous receiving duo, but he sustained a high ankle sprain in the loss to the Lions.  With a short week ahead he’s doubtful to play against the Steelers.  In 2021, he has 64 receptions with 686 yards and a team leading 10 touchdown catches.  Tight end Tyler Conklin is expected to see more balls thrown his way with Thielen out of the lineup.  He’s the Vikings third leading receiver with 47 catches for 469 yards and three touchdowns.  

The Vikings’ rushing attack is averaging 113.3 yards per game ranking them 15th in the NFL.  Minnesota has scored seven touchdowns on the ground as a group in 2021.   With Dalvin Cook injured, Alexander Mattison led the team in rushing against Detroit with 90 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown: averaging 4.1 yards per rushing attempt.  Mattison has two rushing touchdowns in his last two games; he had three rushing touchdowns in the first 36 games of his career.  

The Vikings defense is allowing 382 yards of total offense, ranking them 30th in the NFL.  Minnesota is averaging 25.4 points allowed per game this season, 25th in the league.  

Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart

QB: Kirk Cousins
RB1: Alexander Mattison
RB2: Kene Nwangwu
WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR3: K.J. Osborn
TE1: Tyler Conklin
TE2: Chris Herndon

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings Daily Fantasy Picks

K.J. Osborn will see more opportunities in the Vikings offense with receiver Adam Thielen expected to be sidelined for a few games.  In the last three contests, Osborn has been targeted 13 times.  On the season he has 35 catches for 412 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 11.8 yards a reception.

Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth has taken on a bigger role in the Pittsburgh passing attack over the last few weeks.  In his last five games he’s been targeted 30 times.  On the season, Freiermuth is third on the team in receptions with 43.  He has 353 yards on those grabs and is tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with six.

Scott has been a sports fan since he received a New York Mets jacket as a toddler. He’s been playing fantasy baseball and football for over 20 years, dating back to Frank Thomas being one of his first fantasy baseball picks. As a professional, he has covered the NFL, MLB, NCAAF, and NCAAB and is looked to as the go-to guy for fantasy sports amongst family, friends, and co-workers.

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