Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers (-6.5, 45.5)
A battle of two veteran QBs will kick off Sunday at 4:25 PM with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers set to host Big Ben and the Steelers. After a disappointing opener, the Packers have rallied off two consecutive wins scoring 30 points or more. Treading in the other direction, Pittsburgh has lost two straight home games after upsetting Buffalo in week 1. With the teams going in two different directions, let’s take a look at what the Capwize Model has predicted for this game.
The model has Steelers at Packers with a median score of 30.03 to 19.73 with the Packers winning and covering the spread. This gives us 49.76 total points scored in this game, approximately 4 points higher than the current over/under at 45.5. To see more score predictions for week 3, head over to the Capwize NFL Dashboard. You can learn more about the Capwize model here.
Packers – After a lackluster week 1, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look like they are in mid-season form coming off a hard-fought road victory versus the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers constructed a game-winning drive with 37 seconds left on the clock to set up a Mason Crosby game-winning FG. Rodgers finished the night 22/33 with 261 yards passing and 2 TDs. To no surprise, Davante Adams led the Packers with 12 receptions for 132 and a TD. Aaron Jones has improved each week and put up 82 yards and a TD on 16 touches. Combine all that with the fact that Green Bay has now played consecutive games without turning the ball over, it is clear why they are favorites heading into Sunday and Lambeau. Can they continue their success this weekend, or will Pittsburgh come to play?
Steelers – As mentioned earlier, this matchup features two teams going in opposite directions. Pittsburgh allowed Joe Burrow to throw 3 TDs in last week’s 24-10 loss and struggled offensively to sustain anything. Big Ben didn’t help the cause, as he threw two picks that resulted in great field position and two Bengals TDs. One big bright spot for Pittsburgh was Najee Harris. Despite only running for 40 yards on 14 carries, Harris tallied an additional 14 receptions out of the backfield for 102 yards. His longest reception of the night was 21 yards, so it is safe to say Pittsburgh had consistent success with this last weekend. Chase Claypool added 9 receptions for 96 yards as well. Big Ben ended up with a stat line of 38/58 with 318 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. Through three games this season, Pitt ranks dead last with 53 rush yards/game and 28th overall with 16.7 ppg. Can the Steelers get the offense clicking this weekend, or will this turn into another lopsided game?
For Quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers is projected to throw for 278.73 yards with 25.14 completions on 35.29 attempts. Rodgers is also projected 2.81 TDs with 0.25 INTs. Roethlisberger is projected to throw for 285 yards and 24.75 completions on 34.95 attempts. Big Ben is projected for 2.04 TDs and 0.6 INTs.
Aaron Jones is projected to lead all RBs with 117.45 yards on 26.83 attempts and 0.93 TDs. Jones is also expected to play a role in the passing game with 3.1 receptions for 26.25 yards. Najee Harris is projected for 48.28 yards rushing on 13.47 attempts and 0.23 TDs. Harris will look to continue his role in the passing game, with a projection of 52.79 yards on 3.78 receptions and 0.31 TDs.
Davante Adams is expected to have another big game, with 96.32 yards on 9.04 receptions and 0.97 TDs. The model is predicting Chase Claypool to lead Pittsburgh in receiving with 63.02 yards on 5.28 receptions and 0.46 TDs. Juju Smith-Schuster is predicted to go for 43.08 yards on 5.02 receptions with 0.32 TDs.
Based off of the model simulations and recent performance, we will be siding with the Packers -6.5 this weekend. The model has Green Bay covering this number by over ten points, giving us a 4 point variation from the current number of -6.5. While the Steeler’s defense has played well this year, they haven’t seen an offense as high-powered as the Packers. It should be noted that TJ Watt was sidelined last weekend with a groin injury after being limited all week, and is uncertain at this point in time if he will play or not.
Given the struggles with Pittsburgh’s offense at home, we don’t anticipate them righting the ship this weekend on the road. A majority of Pitt’s recent offense has come from Najee Harris in the passing game. However, Green Bay has only allowed ~40 yds/game receiving from opponents’ RBs in the last two games. Injury-wize, Juju is the latest receiver to be dealing with bruised ribs this season. Other comparable receivers such as Deandre Hopkins and Amari Cooper saw major regression last week while playing through the same type of injury. Chase Claypool has stepped up, however with Diontae Johnson and Juju both banged up, we don’t see Pittsburgh putting up enough points to keep this within a touchdown. If they do play, I would suggest monitoring Chase Claypool’s reception total and inclined to take the under as his previous performance was inflated due to Johnson and Juju both leaving. Take the Packers at home to keep the train rolling.