The Week 14 edition of Sunday Night Football features a really good matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills in Buffalo. I’ve been waiting a few weeks for a game to get excited about in the NFL, and the Steelers and Bills fill the void. The Steelers are coming off their first loss of the season, as they were dispatched by a score of 23-17 in an upset against Washington. That’s what happens when you take the Washington defense lightly. They have flown under the radar all season and finally were rewarded for their effort with a big win over the Steelers.
If the Steelers were completely focused on Washington and motivated to play that game, do we expect the same result? No, I think the schedule change had them out of sync without their full attention on Washington. If you recall, it felt like it took forever to play that game against the Ravens. That resulted in everything else being pushed back. No excuses, but it was certainly the perfect storm for the Steelers to lose their first game of the season. The Steelers could have also been looking ahead to the Bills on Sunday night.
The Bills are going into this contest with a record of 9-3. They continue to look like contenders in the AFC, but are still playing a bit of an underdog role. With the Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, it’s easy to overlook the Bills. However, the Bills have the talent to beat the Steelers and the Chiefs. Mind you, if the Bills play the Chiefs ten times, for instance, the Chiefs are going to win more games. Having said that, all the Bills need is that one perfect game to beat the Chiefs in the playoffs. They are coming off a 34-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers last week. We have more props on Sunday for the Saints vs. Eagles matchup in the afternoon. Head below for our free Steelers vs. Bills props for December 13, 2020.
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) December 11, 2020
Ben Roethlisberger Passing Yards
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ were stuck in slow motion against Washington last week. They struggled to move the ball, and only scored 17 points in a 23-17 loss. The Washington defense doesn’t get enough credit, but the Steelers have to be better than that despite the matchup. In any case, every good team can have an off day at the office. Roethlisberger still managed to pass for 305 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Finishing drives was a problem for the Steelers. Washington really locked down when it mattered most in the red zone. I’m expecting a bounce back performance from the Steelers on Sunday night. Their offense should be able to move the ball and finish on the Bills in this one. They didn’t look too focused against Washington, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Steelers look like a better unit against a beatable Bills’ defense.
The Bills rank in the back half of the league with 249.2 passing yards conceded per game. Note that Big Ben has connected for at least 300 yards in three of his previous five outings. The Bills’ offense should keep the pressure on the Steelers, resulting in Ben and the Steelers to continue to air the ball out. They won’t be able to run the clock out like they did against the Jaguars, which was one of the five games Roethlisberger didn’t throw for more than 300. Expect Roethlisberger to get above this total.
James Washington Receptions
James Washington developed into a potent weapon for the Steelers last season. He had a breakout campaign of sorts, as the sophomore hauled in 735 yards and 3 touchdowns. Washington struggled to get a feel for things as a rookie, but showed why the Steelers drafted him in 2018. The Oklahoma State product has cooled off considerably this season. Washington goes into Sunday night with 25 receptions and 343 yards through 12 games.
He has eclipsed his touchdown total from last season, though. Washington has notched 4 touchdowns going into Sunday night. The emergence of Chase Claypool has taken targets away from Washington this season. If both of them could get going, along with JuJu Smith-Schuster at the same time, those are three very talented young wide receivers that will be tough for a defense to stop.
Besides Claypool, Washington and Smith-Schuster have been a little too inconsistent, though. That said, the total is low for this prop, and Washington has proven to get a least a couple of receptions. He’s had at least 2 receptions the last two weeks, and in three of his previous four performances. Getting to 2 receptions against the Bills shouldn’t be out of the equation in this matchup.
Stefon Diggs Receptions
The Steelers’ defense is going to provide Josh Allen and the Bills with a stiff test this evening. The defense isn’t the Troy Polamalu era secondary in the mid 2000’s, but they can still get after it and frustrate a quarterback. Note that the Steelers have allowed 199.8 passing yards per game for second in the NFL. Only the Rams have been better against the pass. While Allen faces a tough challenge, as does the Steelers’ defense against the Bills. Allen has passed for 3,403 yards with 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on 69.86% completion.
A lot of those stats have been thanks to a connection with former Minnesota Viking, Stefon Diggs. Diggs has been targeted plenty this season, as he’s made 90 receptions for 1,037 yards and 4 touchdowns going into Sunday night. He’s eclipsed the 100-yard mark in four games this season. Diggs has caught 36 receptions for an average of 9 per game through his last four outings. The matchup against the 49ers wasn’t easy, but Diggs still went for 10 receptions and 92 yards. The price here at nearly even money looks a bit too tempting to pass up on Diggs to go OVER 6.5 receptions.