The Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings are slated to face off in Week 14 of the 2021 regular season, and there are a lot of narratives between these two teams. For the Vikings, the losses of Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen have fans wondering if Justin Jefferson can do it all on his own, while the Steelers are a team trying to forge a new identity as they hope to right the ship and remain relevant in both the AFC North and AFC Playoff Picture.
For those who follow the current betting lines, the Steelers opened as 3.0-point underdogs, and, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, that line hasn’t budged off the 3-point spread, largely due to players like Thielen and Cook missing time this week. Considering the books usually give the visiting team 3-points, they see this game being very even despite the short week of preparation.
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
At this point, it is time to check in and see who the pundits who call themselves experts like in this showdown in Minneapolis this Thursday night.
For those new to this article, there are two types of experts when it comes to NFL picks. There are those who just pick the overall winner, and those who expound on their picks and give a reason for their prediction.
As for the former of the above types of experts, there are many sites who have their experts just plug in a winner and move on with their day. Of those sites, the majority of experts at Yahoo!, ESPN and FOX like the Vikings to win, but it is far from unanimous. Several of these sites have close to half of their experts who believe the Steelers will pull off the win on the road.
As for the experts who actually put some thoughts, and explanation behind their picks, like Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, he likes the Vikings to beat the Steelers on a short week in Week 14.
This is a playoff game for these teams. The Steelers impressed in beating Baltimore last week in a close game, while the Vikings struggled against the Lions. It’s tough to play on the road on a short week, especially after a rivalry game, which is why I think the Vikings will win this one in a low-scoring game.
Pick: Vikings 20, Steelers 14
For Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News, he likes the Steelers to win on the road in prime time.
The Steelers’ offense is putting more pieces together with Najee Harris being supported much better by Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game. The Vikings’ run defense has fallen apart and they are mess downfield in the secondary. Their offense will be without Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen, too. Minnesota has made it a habit of losing close games it has
Pick: Steelers win 23-20
As for John Breech of CBS Sports, he like the Vikings, but it will be close.
“Both the Steelers and Vikings defenses have actually been surprisingly bad this year. There are only six teams in the NFL giving up more than 130 yards per game on the ground and the Vikings and Steelers are two of those teams, so I feel like this game is going to come down to which offense can take advantage of the other team’s defense.
The fact that the Vikings have a bad rush defense is good news for Big Ben, because it means the Steelers should be running the ball a lot and I have to think that’s what he wants, because there’s a good chance he’s barely going to be functional playing on three days rest. The fact that the Steelers have a bad rush defense is good news for the Vikings, because it means they should be running a lot in this game, which means it won’t be in the hands of Kirk Cousins. Look, I’m not a Kirk Cousins hater, but I will say that he’s definitely the last guy you want to rely on in a prime-time game. Remember how bad Andy Dalton used to be in prime time? Well, Cousins is worse. In his past five prime-time starts alone, Cousins is 1-4 and one of those losses came against a Cowboys team led by Cooper Rush earlier this year.
This game feels like a coin flip, but there is one thing that has me leaning Minnesota: The Steelers are 0-3 against the spread in games versus NFC North teams this year and they haven’t been much better straight-up (1-1-1). I haven’t missed a Steelers pick since Week 3 and I’ll be putting that streak on the line by not taking them to win on Thursday night.”
The pick: Vikings 23-20 over Steelers
These are just a few sites who make weekly NFL picks. When you think about all those sites not listed above, this is when we turn to our friends at NFL Pick Watch, a site dedicated to tracking NFL expert picks by the week. They take all expert picks and put them into an easy-to-read graph for fans to enjoy. When it comes to the Steelers vs. Vikings game, 59% of NFL experts like the Vikings to hold serve and win on Thursday.
What do you think about the upcoming game? Will the experts have it right? Or are they way off? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Vikings in Week 14.