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Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings - Week 14

 
 
 
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PIT MIN
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-7)

Minnesota's primary advantage has been their offense, which ranks #6 in the NFL at 392 yards per game. The quality of their passing attack has led to much of their success. The Vikings 271 yards per game through the air ranks #8-best in football this year. It's easy to see why they've done so well through the air when their offensive line has given the quarterback 2.39 seconds before feeling pressure (#5-most in football). Their wide receivers have played a big part in their offensive efficiency, completing 72.8% of the passes they've been targeted on (ranking #2). It should also be said that opposing defenses have stacked the box a massive 20.8% of the time against the Vikings in an attempt to keep their run game under control. Of course, this means fewer defenders back in coverage, which has opener up opportunities through the air for Minnesota. This presents a decided advantage for Minnesota given that the Steelers haven't had much success in stopping the pass this year, giving up 7.92 yards per target (#13-worst in the NFL).
 
When it comes to their defense, the Vikings check in at #29 in football when it comes to total yards allowed per game. Opposing air attacks have notched 268 yards per game against Minnesota this year (#25 in football). Opposing ball-carriers have ranked #25 against them with 4.70 yards per ground attempt. This Vikings defense hits their peak effectiveness when it comes to defending opposing tight ends, allowing them to complete just 60.7% of their passes (#2-lowest in the league). Minnesota's defensive effectiveness bottoms out when it comes to defending opposing wide receivers, who have scorched them for 193 yards per game (#2-worst in the league).

Pittsburgh's biggest weakness has been their rushing offense, checking in at #30 in the league with a mere 3.57 yards per carry. This has manifest itself in the #3-least rushing yards per game: 81. It can be tough to get the ground game going without a mobile quarterback (after all, quarterbacks get an extra 2 or so yards per carry more than running backs), and that's not a luxury Pittsburgh has had this season, calling just 2.2% of their carries for their QB. In failing to successfully establish the run, Pittsburgh has also had trouble moving the ball through the air, averaging a paltry 6.34 yards per target, which ranks them #27 in football.

In terms of their defense, the Steelers have ranked #20 in the league in total yards allowed per game. Opposing offenses have passed for 243 yards per game through the air against them (#13 in football). On the ground, opposing ball-carriers have ranked #29 with 4.78 yards per carry. Pittsburgh has been most effective in shutting down opposing tight ends, holding them to 6.99 yards per target (#10-best). Pittsburgh has been least effective in shutting down opposing wide receivers, giving up a 68.0% completion rate (#10-highest).
 
Photo by David Berding - Getty Images
 
 
This is a short week for both teams, and each will have to make due with fewer days to rest and prepare for the game. Coaches and players like routine, so the disruption of a short week may lead to a wider range of outcomes and less efficiency on both sides of the ball. This week will mark back-to-back home games for the Vikings. Not having to travel should bode well for the Vikings, and this could slightly upgrade their home field advantage.
 
The majority of the bets are on the Over with 68% of the bets and 51% of the cash.
 
PROJECTION:
Minnesota Vikings - 27.12
Pittsburgh Steelers - 21.60

Win Probability:
MIN 68% / PIT 32%
 
 
 
 
 
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