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‘Monday Night Football’ preview, predictions and open thread: Steelers at Colts

Week 12 comes to a close.

Philadelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Jeff Saturday-led Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers square off in a battle of middling AFC teams on Monday night. The Colts have one win in their last five games, although the offense has looked a bit better since the reintroduction of Matt Ryan as their starting quarterback two games ago. Pittsburgh has been inconsistent thus far winning 2 of their last 5, but they gave both the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins challenges losing by a combined 13 points to the two teams. The line opened with Indy as a 3-point favorite and has bounced around from 3 to 2.5 which is where it currently sits on DraftKings Sportsbook. The over/under for the game opened at 39.5 dropping as low as 38.5 and currently settling at 39.

General notes

Indianapolis Colts

The Indy offense has been anemic thus far averaging just 15.72 points per game which is worse than the Houston Texans, who are sitting at 15.81 points per game. Their offensive line has done the offense few favors as the sack percentage against of 8.9% is the 6th worst mark in the league. Additionally, their net yards per attempt of 5.5 is also the 6th lowest number in the NFL. Their running game has been marginally better as their average of 4.1 yards per carry is the fourth lowest total.

Their defense has been rather stout thus far though. Their scoring percentage against is 31.7% which is tied for 9th and their expected points contributed of -1.59 is also the 9th best in the NFL. Their rushing defense has been elite as they are allowing only 3.8 yards per carry which is the 2nd best tally across the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh offense has sputtered throughout the season as their scoring% of 30.4% is 8th worst. They have the worst adjusted net yards per passing attempt with just 4.4, 0.2 yards worse than the Texans. Additionally, the offense’s cumulative passer rating of 75.7 is the second worst, sitting behind on the Carolina Panthers. The rushing attack, which has always been a staple of the Steelers offense in the past, has struggled, averaging just 4.2 yards a carry which is tied for the 9th worst mark.

The Steelers defense has been relatively average; however, they did get back star pass rusher T.J. Watt last week. They are tied for the 11th worst scoring percentage at 38.9% but they have been able to create turnovers with a turnover percentage of 12.4% which is tied for 9th. Their run defense has also been dominant this season allowing 3.9 yards per carry, tied the third best total in the NFL.

Injury notes

Indianapolis is the only team in this one with key players listed as questionable. DeForest Buckner got in a full practice on Saturday but is listed as questionable and Yannick Ngakoue did not practice Saturday resulting in a questionable tag. The Colts are also without star linebacker Shaq Leonard.

Prediction - Indianapolis -2.5 - Under 39

I think this is going to be an extremely tight game, but I think Indy’s defense is slightly better and they have a veteran quarterback at the helm in Matt Ryan compared to Pittsburgh who has rookie Kenny Pickett in. I do not think there is going to be much of any offense in this one leading to me taking the under.

(All advanced stats cited provided by Pro Football Reference)