Patriots vs Steelers NFL Free Pick & Prediction [12/7/2023]

New England (2-10) at Pittsburgh (7-5)
When: Thursday, December 7th, 2023
Where: Acrisure Stadium,
Pittsburgh, PA

Time: 8:15 ET | TV: Prime
Opening Odds: Pittsburgh -6/35.5

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Two of the worst offenses in the NFL will battle in prime time as the New England Patriots visit the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick off Week 14 action. At 2-10, this could be Bill Belichick’s worst Patriots team to date. The offense has been historically bad, scoring a total of 13 points in their last three games. New England was shut out for the second time this season in a 6-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Info, New England is the first team in 85 years to allow no more than 10 points in three straight games only to lose all of them.

It’s not much better in Pittsburgh, although the Steelers have managed to stay in the playoff hunt with a 7-5 record. Coach Mike Tomlin fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada but it hasn’t helped. Pittsburgh has scored 10, 16 and 10 in their last three games, going 1-2 in the process. The Steelers are coming off a 24-10 home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Kenny Pickett sustained an ankle injury during the loss and underwent surgery on Monday. Mitch Trubisky replaced Pickett and will get the start on Thursday.

These teams have had some great battles in the past when Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger were running the offenses. Including the postseason, the Patriots lead all-time 18-16 including a 17-14 victory in Pittsburgh last season. Mac Jones and Trubisky were under center that day. The Steelers come into this contest as a 6-point favorite with a very low total of 30. It’s the lowest total in an NFL game since 2005.

There’s no issue with the New England defense, as they’ve allowed 6, 10 and 10 points in the last three games. It’s the offense that needs a lot of work. Starting QB Mac Jones was benched for last week’s game in favor of Bailey Zappe, who was 13-for-25 for 141 yards and five sacks taken. Jones had thrown for 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions through the first 11 games. No. 1 running back Rhamondre Stevenson is out for a few weeks with a high ankle sprain. Stevenson leads the Patriots with 619 rushing yards on 156 carries and also is the team’s leading receiver with 38 catches.

New England Patriots Injury Report [2023]

Ezekiel ElliottRBQues Thurs - Thigh - 12/4/23
DeVante ParkerWRQues Thurs - Knee - 12/4/23
Shaun WadeCBQues Thurs - Illness - 12/4/23
Deatrich Wise Jr.DLQues Thurs - Illness - 12/4/23
Christian BarmoreDLQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/4/23
Chris BoardLBQues Thurs - Back - 12/4/23
Trent BrownOLQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/4/23
JuJu Smith-SchusterWRQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/4/23
Rhamondre StevensonRBLate Dec - Ankle - 12/5/23
Demario DouglasWROut Thurs - Concussion - 12/6/23
Kayshon BoutteWROut indefinitely - Hamstring - 10/15/23
Kendrick BourneWRI-R - Knee - 10/31/23
Calvin AndersonOLOut indefinitely - Illness - 11/3/23
Tyrone Wheatley Jr.OTOut indefinitely - Knee - 10/14/23
Riley ReiffOLOut indefinitely - Knee - 12/6/23
Christian GonzalezCBI-R - Shoulder - 10/7/23
Matthew JudonLBMid Dec - Bicep - 12/1/23
Daniel EkualeDLOut indefinitely - Bicep - 9/26/23
Marcus JonesDBOut indefinitely - Shoulder - 9/21/23
Isaiah BoldenCBI-R - Neck - 8/29/23
Raekwon McMillanLBI-R - Achilles - 7/26/23

It’s up to Trubisky to lead the Steelers into a playoff spot with the injury to Pickett. Trubisky came in last week and was 11-of-17 for 117 yards against the Cardinals. Thursday will mark the seventh time in 26 games Trubisky has played because of an injury to Pickett. Running back Najee Harris did not practice on Tuesday because of a knee injury. Cornerback James Pierre (shoulder) was also out, but star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (broken hand) practiced in full. The defense has been good all season, but failed to produce a turnover last week and allowed Arizona to go 3-for-3 in the red zone.

Pittsburgh Steelers Injury Report [2023]

Najee HarrisRBQues Thurs - Knee - 12/5/23
James PierreCBQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/4/23
Elandon RobertsLBQues Thurs - Groin - 12/4/23
Keeanu BentonDLQues Thurs - Oblique - 12/4/23
Mason ColeOLQues Thurs - Neck - 12/4/23
Isaac SeumaloGQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/4/23
Montravius AdamsDTQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/4/23
Kenny PickettQBEarly Jan - Ankle - 12/3/23
Elijah RileySOut indefinitely - Ankle - 11/20/23
Keanu NealSOut indefinitely - Ribs - 11/18/23
Kwon AlexanderLBI-R - Achilles - 11/14/23
Cole HolcombLBI-R - Knee - 11/6/23
Cory TriceDBI-R - Leg - 8/2/23
Renell WrenDTI-R - Achilles - 8/19/23

I’m going to take the points in this potentially ugly contest. Neither team can score and the defenses are very good. New England’s defense is slightly better overall. Pittsburgh doesn’t allow many points, but they do allow yards. In this battle of backup quarterbacks, I’ll take Zappe over Trubisky.

Week 14 Staff Selections

Pick: Patriots +6