The Pittsburgh Steelers are headed out west in Week 17 to take on the Seattle Seahawks for their 20th head-to-head meeting in series history. Kickoff is set for Sunday, December 31 at 4:05 p.m. ET, airing on Fox, as the Steelers will look to snap a five-game losing streak in Seattle with a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Here’s a preview of all you need to know for the Steelers- game in Week 17, including game Information, injury updates, odds and more.
The Steelers and Seahawks last met back in Week 6 of the 2021 season, as Ben Roethlisberger & Co. managed a 23-20 win over the Seahawks in overtime. Then-rookie running back Najee Harris was the hero in that one, posting 127 scrimmage yards and a touchdown through the air — one of two total touchdowns scored by the Black & Gold that day. The Seahawks were in a similar boat, having managed just two touchdowns, meaning it all came down to Jason Meyers and Chris Boswell in the kicking game. It just so happened that Boswell got the final crack at it, closing out the game going 3-3 with kicks good from 27, 37 and 52.
The state of the Seahawks
Though the Seahawks will be deploying many of the same assets offensively than they did just two seasons ago, including Geno Smith at quarterback and the wide receiver duo of D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, they have added a couple of wrinkles into the mix for HC Mike Tomlin and Teryl Austin to game plan for. Since 2021, the Seahawks have added two second-round running backs into the mix, including Kenneth Walker (2022 NFL Draft class) and Zach Charbonnet (2023). Surprisingly, despite those additions, the Seahawks have ranked with the eighth-lowest run percentage in the league at 34.8% this season, though this tandem has both the speed and the power to take over any game at will.
On the defense, the Seahawks have added a couple of key contributors in the secondary, including cornerbacks Riq Woolen and rookie Devon Witherspoon, who was selected fifth overall in this year’s draft. Witherspoon, in particular, has been a force all over the field, contributing not just in coverage, but also in defending the run and in the pass rush with nine total pressures and 3.0 sacks on the year on just 27 total pass rush snaps. Witherspoon enters this matchup with an 83.3 PFF defensive grade, which ranks third among all rookies (min. 100 snaps) on the year. Witherspoon has missed the last two weeks with a hip injury, though he returned to practice Thursday, which could be a huge addition back into their lineup if cleared to return in Week 17.
Elsewhere, 6x All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner continues to man the middle of the field, while Julian Love has taken over for veteran Jamal Adams recently and looked outstanding doing it. In short, though the Steelers have outplayed the Seahawks in most facets of the defense this season, there’s no shortage of playmakers to give Pittsburgh some trouble offensively.
On the injury front, the Seahawks seem to have their hands full with a fairly busy injury report. One surprise, in particular, included the aforementioned D.K. Metcalf, who was listed as non-participant Thursday, newly listed with a back injury.
The state of the Steelers
The Steelers, meanwhile, have reinvented their entire offense and most of their defense since they last met the Seahawks. Gone are the days of Big Ben under center, as backup Mason Rudolph prepares to make his second start following an explosive win over the Bengals in Week 16. He threw for 290 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions for an NFL passer rating of 124... a statistical feat second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett has never achieved in a game. It forced a bit of a conversation through most of the week, as Pickett has been in recovery from an ankle injury suffered back in Week 13, having missed each of the past three weeks. Though he noted he feels like he could play in Week 17, it seems likely the Steelers will give Rudolph another shot to start given how he played just last week.
The Steelers defense has just as many questions left to be answered, as they’ve dealt with a number of injuries at inside linebacker and the safety position. Both Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) and Trenton Thompson (neck) missed Week 16 with their respective injuries, but DC Teryl Austin came up with a solid game plan to minimize those absences. Career cornerback Patrick Peterson his first career start at safety to positive results, managing a key interception in the first quarter that set up a scoring drive from Mason Rudolph & Co. They also showed some creativity with their outside linebacker corps dropping into coverage, which proved key to forcing Bengals quarterback Jake Browning to make some costly mistakes.
Notably, Fitzpatrick has yet to log a practice through the week so far, which could be an unfortunate sign for his availability heading into the weekend. That could put Peterson in play to make another start. Meanwhile, starting ILB Elandon Roberts has already been ruled out for this contest, too, meaning some more work for Mykal Walker and Myles Jack in this outing.
Steelers vs. Seahawks: Head-to-head stats 2023
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On paper, the Steelers’ greatest edge over the Seahawks comes on defense, outpacing them in yards and points allowed per game as well as turnovers forced per game — as long as they can continue those trends despite the number of injuries. Otherwise, the Seahawks (unsurprisingly) have the edge offensively in all facets... though, perhaps, Rudolph will pull through for Pittsburgh once again. The Seahawks’ greatest weakness on defense to exploit will be their rushing defense, having allowed the third-most rushing yards (1,007), third-highest yards per carry average (5.0) and the eighth-highest explosive run rate (14.4%) dating back to Week 10.
Steelers-Seahawks Week 17 odds, betting splits
Heading into the weekend, the Steelers are installed as 3.5-point road underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook, with the odds having remained steady there throughout the week. The over/under is set at 41 points.
Just two days out from kickoff, a slight majority of point spread bets (52%) have been wagered on the Seahawks to cover -3.5. However, a slight majority of the handle (55%) has been wagered in favor of the Steelers to cover +3.5. The majority of bets (58%) wagered on the Steelers-Seahawks point total (41) have wagered on the OVER. Interestingly, an even greater majority of the handle wagered on the Steelers-Seahawks point total has been wagered on the over at 88%, indicating some “sharp money” is favoring some offensive fireworks in this outing.