Patriots vs. Steelers: Spread, over/under picks for Week 2 NFL matchup

·3 min read

Best bets for Patriots-Steelers Week 2 matchup originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's only Week 2, but is Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers still a "must-win" for the New England Patriots?

The Pats are coming off a discouraging 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins in their regular-season opener. Although the offense was able to move the ball down the field, turnovers and poor protection for quarterback Mac Jones proved to be the difference-maker.

Another tough test awaits New England at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers defense forced five turnovers in their Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Patriots won't have to deal with reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt (pectoral injury), they'll still have to find a way to slow down defensive stalwarts Cameron Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

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As much as the Patriots offense has struggled, the Steelers have their own issues on that side of the ball. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky isn't a threat to take over a game and star running back Najee Harris has been banged up with a foot injury. Pittsburgh's lackluster offensive line, like New England's, could be in for a long afternoon.

So, how will it all shake out on the field during Sunday's showdown?  Here are our spread and over/under picks for the Patriots-Dolphins Week 2 matchup. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.

Patriots vs. Steelers odds

Spread: Patriots -2.5

Point total: 40.5

Moneyline: Patriots -140, Steelers +120

Patriots vs. Steelers picks

Pick against the spread: Steelers +2.5

The Patriots being road favorites after that Week 1 performance is just strange. Sure, you can say that loss to Miami was decided by two or three plays, but look at how Pittsburgh's defense handled Joe Burrow and the Bengals last Sunday. Are you confident New England will win the turnover battle in Week 2?

We're not. And when the Patriots have lost the turnover battle with Mac Jones under center, they've gone 1-8.

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The absence of T.J. Watt is enormous, but the Steelers still have players -- namely Cam Heyward -- who can wreak havoc against the Patriots' struggling o-line. Like last week, when we correctly picked the Dolphins to cover the spread vs. the Patriots, it's difficult to picture New England overcoming its glaring issues on the road against a quality defense.

Over/under: Under 40.5

Expect most of the damage to be done by the defenses in this Week 2 matchup. Both offensive lines leave plenty to be desired and while the Steelers have some intriguing weapons like Najee Harris, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, their signal-caller isn't going to light up the box score. This should be a tightly-contested, low-scoring affair in which the best defense comes out on top. Our money is on Pittsburgh.

Score prediction: 17-14, Steelers