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NFL Betting: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints

The Pittsburgh Steelers remain hungry for a win as they pay a visit to the New Orleans Saints in Week 16. At home, the Saints are 6.5-point favorites with an over/under of 53 points.

Entering Week 16, New Orleans is one win away from locking up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After a surprising loss to the Cowboys a few weeks ago, the Saints have bounced back with back-to-back wins to get to 12-2 on the season and reassert themselves as Super Bowl contenders.

The Steelers, on the other hand, still have work to do in order to lock up their spot in the playoffs. Pittsburgh holds a slim half-game lead over the Ravens atop the AFC North. While they still control their own destiny, a loss on Sunday could knock them back into the crowded wild-card race and leave the Steelers still fighting for a playoff spot in Week 17.

The New Challenge

The Steelers did well to get a win over New England last week. However, they did so by only scoring 17 points, and that was at home. This week, they’ll have to go on the road against a New Orleans defense that’s coming on strong late in the year. The Saints have allowed no more than 17 points in each of their last six games. A 17-point output this week may not be enough for Pittsburgh. It certainly doesn’t help that James Conner will miss his third straight game while JuJu Smith-Schuster is questionable.

On the bright side, running back Jaylen Samuels had a breakout game last week against the Patriots. The rookie ran 19 times for 142 yards, giving Pittsburgh some much-needed production from the running game. But with Conner out, it’s all on Samuels to replicate that performance as best he can. The caveat, of course, is that the New Orleans defense is one of the best in the NFL at stopping the run, giving up less than 80 yards per game. That could once again shift the pressure to Ben Roethlisberger.

Is There a Problem?

The New Orleans offense has been the talk of the league for much of the season, but things have been a little slow lately. Over their last three games, the Saints are averaging less than 17 points per game. To be fair, those three games have all come on the road. It’s at least possible that all the Saints need is to come back home to get back on track offensively.

That being said, the Saints have some potential flaws. Outside of Michael Thomas, New Orleans lacks a consistent outside threat, leaving them more reliant on their running game and short passes to their running backs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does make them a little easier to defend, especially for a Pittsburgh defense that held Tom Brady and company to just 10 points last week.

Back on Track

Despite some concerns about their offense, the Saints will get back on track when they return home. If the Pittsburgh defense doesn’t stop the run, their pass rush will be neutralized, taking away one of their biggest strengths. Eventually, the Saints will score in bunches and pull away. Bet on the Saints to cover the 6.5-point spread over the Steelers in Week 16.

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