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Steelers vs. Cardinals preview, stats to know for Week 13

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 of the 2023 NFL season. Here’s a look at what to expect.

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (88) talks with quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on November 26, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers return home from a two-game road trip, ready to host the Arizona Cardinals for a Super Bowl XLIII matchup. Kickoff from Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is set for Sunday, December 3 at 1 p.m. ET. These two teams couldn’t be on more different paths at this point, but both have plenty on the line in this outing with big-time implications that could impact the teams in January and beyond.

Here, we’ll preview all you need to know ahead of Steelers-Cardinals in Week 13, including the latest team news, injury updates, odds and more.

Week 13 will mark the 62nd meeting between these two franchises since the start of this historic series dating back to 1933. The Steelers have gone 22-8-1 against the Cardinals in Pittsburgh historically, having won four of five games against the franchise in the Mike Tomlin era — including Super Bowl XLIII.

The Steelers, of course, enter this matchup against the Cardinals with a lot of momentum coming off their first 400-yard outing since Week 2 of the 2020 season. In their first game with interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner and play-caller Mike Sullivan, second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett played his best game all season despite no touchdowns in the final box score. In Week 12, Pickett threw for the second-highest yardage total of his career (278 yards) and continued his streak of turnover-free football. The next goal to work toward? Putting points up on the board.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have also received good news on defense, as All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is likely to make a return from a hamstring injury that’s kept him out since Week 8. Fitzpatrick’s return would be significant for Pittsburgh, as it would mark the first game all season that he, All-Pro defensive tackle Cam Heyward, edge rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith and rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. were all healthy and on the field at the same time. The Steelers defense has been a bend-don’t-break one to this point in the season, allowing the eighth most yards per game to opponents, while allowing the fifth-fewest yards. With all of their core contributors available, however, this defense might pivot toward a “don’t bend, don’t break” mentality.

All of that? Well, it’s bad news for the Cardinals, who enter this matchup with a 2-10 record, having gone 0-6 on the road this season and sit firmly in play for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. To be fair, expectations weren’t particularly high for this team ahead of the season, either, after firing Kliff Kingsbury as their head coach and Steve Keim stepping down as general manager this offseason. They also knew they’d be without starting quarterback Kyler Murray for a chunk of time, who suffered a torn ACL last December. In short, most expected a lost season.

Murray made his return from the torn ACL in Week 10, having averaged just under 240 yards passing and 29 yards rushing per game, having thrown two total passing touchdowns and two interceptions in that span. Incredibly, Murray’s still shown he’s just as significant a threat on the ground as ever, having scored a rushing touchdown in each of his three games.

Also integral to the offense has been former Steelers running back James Conner, averaging a career-high 5.1 yards per rush attempt in 2023. Conner missed four games earlier this season with an ankle injury and has been on a touchdown drought since returning in Week 10 — one he’ll look to break in his first game returning to the city Pittsburgh and the stadium he’s started many, many games dating back to his days as a college student Pitt. Though the Steelers’ rushing defense has improved since the return of Cam Heyward in Week 9, expect this to be a game where Conner is highly motivated in what’s likely to be an emotional return to the Burgh.

While Murray and Conner are both healthy, the Cardinals are managing several other injuries that could impact their lineup, with top wide receiver Marquise Brown managing a heel injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, as well as emerging second-year TE Trey McBride, who’s been limited with a groin injury. Meanwhile, rookie wideout Michael Wilson, who’s held a starting role in the offense this season, has already been ruled out for his third straight game with a shoulder injury.

Both wide receivers Greg Dortch and Rondale Moore maintain increased roles in Week 13 considering the health of their receiving corps otherwise, having combined for 21 total targets and 186 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks.

Steelers vs. Cardinals: Head-to-head stats, 2023

Stat Steelers Cardinals
Stat Steelers Cardinals
Yards per game 292.9 297.5
Yards per play 4.9 4.9
Touchdowns 17 22
Giveaways 9 15
Penalties-Yards 60-520 79-720
D/ST touchdowns 2 1
Points allowed/gm 18.6 26.8
Yards allowed/gm 354.4 358.5
Turnovers/gm 1.82 1.17
Sacks 32 32

The Cardinals just might be the best matchup (on paper) on the Steelers’ entire schedule. Though they’ve been outgained by the Cardinals in terms of total touchdowns scored, the Steelers have the edge in the turnover battle, damage done on penalties, turnovers per game, and points allowed per game.

Steelers vs. Cardinals: Odds & Betting splits

Heading into the weekend, Steelers are installed as 5.5-point home favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, with the line having moved 1.5 points in the Steelers’ favor since betting lines opened earlier this week.

64% of the point spread bets and 59% of the total money wagered on the point spread for Steelers-Cardinals has been placed on Pittsburgh. The public is also backing the under on the point total with 75% of the bets on the over/under.

However, 68% of the total money wagered on the point total has come in on the over, indicating some sharp money likes the opportunity for points in this Week 13 outing.

All odds come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.