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Steelers vs. Colts preview: Stats, game facts & how these teams stack up in Week 15

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) runs for a first down against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts are set to face off in Week 15. Kickoff is set for Saturday, December 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Both teams enter this week with a 7-6 record and would sit with a spot in the Wild Card Round if the season ended today, but only one team can emerge with the win to improve their postseason chances in this very tight AFC race.

Here’s a preview of all you need to know for the Steelers-Colts game in Week 15, including game information, injury updates, odds and more.

Week 15 marks the 43rd meeting between the Steelers and the Colts, where Pittsburgh holds a 33-9 record over Indy dating back to their first meeting. They’ve held a significant edge over the Colts during the Mike Tomlin era in particular, having won in each of their last eight meetings, going 8-1 since the 2007 season.

It hasn’t been all too long since the Steelers last traveled to Indy to face the Colts, having managed a 24-17 victory over the Colts in Week 12 of the 2022 season. That game marked then-rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett’s seventh career start, an outing that would kick off a 6-1 finish to their season, just barely having missed the playoffs. Despite how recently these two teams met, however, they’ll each look a bit different in this outing.

What the Colts have been up to

Since the Steelers and Colts last met, Indy has moved on from veteran Matt Ryan into a new era with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They moved on from the wild coaching experiment that was Jeff Saturday and hired Shane Steichen as their head coach, who’d spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles as their offensive coordinator. It seemed like a promising move for the team to expedite the development of their young quarterback given the trajectory he’d set out for Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, but unfortunately, a season-ending shoulder injury for Richardson put their hopes on hold... but not for long.

Career backup Gardner Minshew (who played under Steichen with the Eagles) stepped in under center, and between him, the running back tandem of Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss, and wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr. and rookie Josh Downs, the offense started to take form again. After a 3-5 start to what appeared to be a lost season, the Colts managed four consecutive wins beating up against some lesser opponents... and suddenly, here they are — in the conversation for the playoffs.

The Colts enter this matchup with a couple of key injuries to note, having ruled out both starting running back Jonathan Taylor (thumb) and right tackle Braden Smith (knee) for Week 15. Zack Moss will once again get the start in place of Taylor, entering this game ranked 15th in the league with 751 rushing yards this season, averaging 4.3 yards per carry while tied for the ninth-most rush attempts of 10+ yards in the league this season and 12th most missed forced tackles. Rookie Blake Freeland, meanwhile, will get his second start in place of Smith at right tackle this week, allowing just a single pressure over 43 pass-blocking snaps in Week 14.

The defense has struggled at times, ranked top eight in both yards and points per game allowed this season, but luckily, their ability to generate turnovers has put their offense in a solid spot to score. Their greatest strength might just lie in their ability to generate sacks, tied with the Chiefs, Dolphins and Bills for the third-most sacks to date this season. The Steelers can expect some challenges for their offensive line coming from every direction, as four Colts have totaled 7+ sacks this season, including DeForest Buckner, Kwity Paye, Samson Ebukam and Dayo Odeyingbo.

Steelers news & updates

Needless to say, the Steelers will have their hands full with the Colts this week, regardless of how “easy” this matchup may have looked earlier this season. Mitch Trubisky is set to get his second start of the season while Kenny Pickett continues to recover following ankle surgery. His first start after Pickett’s injury came on a short week having received limited reps with the starting offense before playing the Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

The Steelers notably enter this game with nine days of rest (and hopefully, many more reps in practice) to increase Trubisky’s comfort level in the offense. He threw for 190 passing yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception in Week 14’s start, adding another 30 yards and a score on the ground, distributing targets fairly evenly throughout the offense.

Those extra days of rest were particularly helpful, as the team was dealing with several injuries to key starters, including to both of their top EDGE rushers, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, who started the week in the concussion protocol, having since been cleared for Saturday’s game.

Beyond Kenny Pickett, the only player listed with a final injury designation was starting left guard Isaac Seumalo, who is questionable with a shoulder injury suffered in Week 13. He didn’t participate in any practices this week, though he entered Week 14 questionable under similar circumstances and went on to play a full allotment of snaps, allowing just a single pressure on the day.

How do the Steelers and Colts match up? Let’s take a look at their head-to-head stats this season.

Steelers vs. Colts: Head-to-head stats 2023

Stat Steelers Colts
Stat Steelers Colts
Yards per game 292.5 337.1
Yards per play 4.9 5.2
Touchdowns 20 35
Giveaways 11 20
Penalties-Yards 70-602 81-580
D/ST touchdowns 2 5
Points allowed/gm 19.2 25.4
Yards allowed/gm 344.8 357.6
Turnovers/gm 1.62 1.62
Sacks 36 42

On paper, the Colts indisputably have the edge over the Steelers on offense this season, outpacing them in yards per game, yards per play and touchdown production. The Steelers' only edge over the Colts on offense comes from their protection of the ball, tied for a league-low 11 turnovers through the first 14 weeks of the season, as compared to Indy’s 20 total giveaways.

Meanwhile, on defense, the Steelers and Colts have been surprisingly closely matched, with Pittsburgh’s lone significant edge (albeit an important one) lying in their 19.2 points allowed to opponents — the seventh fewest among teams heading into Week 15. The Colts, meanwhile, have given up 25.4 points per game — the fourth-most among NFL defenses to this point. Otherwise, these teams match up pretty evenly in terms of generated pressures and turnovers.

Steelers-Colts odds, betting splits

Heading into the weekend, the Steelers are installed as 1.5-point road underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook, with the odds having moved one point in Pittsburgh’s favor throughout the week. The over/under is set at 42 points.

27% of the point spread bets and 38% of the total money wagered on the point spread for Steelers-Patriots has been placed on Pittsburgh so far. The public is favoring the under of 42 points, with 68% of total bets coming in on the UNDER, though 51% of the handle (AKA, total money wagered), has come in on the OVER, indicating some sharp money is coming in on the OVER.

The Colts have averaged just over 24 points per game with Mineshew as a starter, though Pittsburgh could be the hindrance here, having failed to exceed 20 total points since Week 10 against the Packers.

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