Two 8-7 teams face off on the last day of 2023 in a game with both AFC and NFC playoff implications. The Pittsburgh Steelers head to Lumen Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks and the 12’s. Get a preview of the Steelers vs. Seahawks game here — including predictions, odds, best bets, depth charts, and more.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview & Prediction
Steelers vs. Seahawks Best Bet: Seahawks ML
Both Seattle and Pittsburgh are coming off crucial wins that have put them back in the playoff race after multi-game skids. Seattle currently holds the last wild card spot in the NFC, while Pittsburgh is on the outside looking-in in the AFC.
After a few weeks on the sidelines, Geno Smith returned to form last week, leading his team to a 20-17 win over the Titans. While their defense has regressed, the offense seems to be trending in the right direction. This Seattle offense is ranked 12th in DVOA and 11th in EPA compared to 18th in both just a month ago. With Geno Smith healthy and DK Metcalf on a hot streak, this offense is potent. Kenneth Walker’s production has tapered off in the back half of the season, but he has a chance to do well against this Pittsburgh run defense.
The Pittsburgh defense is ranked 7th in DVOA, sixth in completion percentage (60.5%), and third in interceptions (16). They will have their work cut out for them against a talented Seahawks receiving corps that seems to be hitting its stride late in the season. Up front, Pittsburgh sits in the middle-to-bottom of the pack in most rush defensive categories. Seattle’s running back duo of Walker and Zach Charbonnet will be a stiff test for this seven-man unit.
Mason Rudolph ran the Pittsburgh offense last week with ease. George Pickens was his favorite target – 195 of his 290 total passing yards went to Pickens on four receptions. While I’m not ready to jump completely on the Rudolph train, he advertised his potential against a solid Cincinnati defense. Seattle has the pieces to make a dangerous defense but have had zero consistency, potentially paving a path for Rudolph to play well.
Considering playoff implications and the similarities between these two teams, I expect this to be a close game. Seattle is the more talented team here, but they’ve shot themselves in the foot one too many times for me to believe they can cover against a Pittsburgh team that’s fighting for a playoff spot. That said, Rudolph at quarterback isn’t a sure thing for me, so I won’t count on them. Take the Hawks to win outright at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks Betting Odds
The Seahawks are 3.5-point home favorites over the Steelers here. This line saw some slight movement in favor of Pittsburgh since Week 16. Depending on the sportsbook, the over/under is between 41 and 41.5 points.
Steelers vs Seahawks Key Injuries
There are several injury question for Seattle heading into this game, including the status of Devon Witherspoon, Kenneth Walker, and Jordyn Brooks. Others are dealing with nagging injuries, but none are expected to be sidelined.
In Pittsburgh, Elandon Roberts was ruled out for the game on Sunday, while a few others are listed as questionable.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks Key Matchups
In this battle between playoff hopefuls, there are some intriguing matchups to take stock of. Let’s break down two of the X-factor matchups on either side of the ball that will help determine the game’s outcome.
Seahawks receivers vs. Steelers secondary
Seattle has one of the top receiving trios in the league. DK Metcalf is two yards away from eclipsing 1,000 yards this season and has six touchdowns in his last six games. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has come up clutch for the Seahawks when they need it. Tyler Lockett is as consistent and reliable as they come. This passing offense ranks 11th in success rate and EPA and 12th in DVOA.
Pittsburgh’s Joey Porter Jr. is ranked ninth in completion percentage (50%) when targeted and typically covers a team’s top receiver. Last week, he squared off against Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins on 80% of pass routes. Higgins was targeted twice and caught one pass for 15 yards versus Porter Jr.
Fellow cornerback Levi Wallace and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick make up the rest of this impressive secondary that’s recorded 16 interceptions (third most). This pass defense is ranked 8th in EPA, 9th in DVOA, and 10th in success rate.
Steelers run defense vs. Seahawks running backs
Pittsburgh gives up the seventh-most rushing yards to opposing running backs, and their defensive line ranks 23rd in adjusted line yards. Their second line of defense – linebackers TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Myles Jack – provide some extra coverage there, but pressuring this unit tends to be a team’s game plan when faced with the Pittsburgh pass coverage.
Kenneth Walker’s production is not what it once was, but he has an opportunity to do well here after a few weeks on the sidelines. Zach Charbonnet has proven to be a very effective RB2, especially in pass-catching on third downs.