The New Orleans Saints (12-2) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) on Sunday afternoon in a critical inter-conference battle between two teams that are likely playoff-bound. Kickoff is set for 4:25 PM EST on December 23rd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Saints listed as 6.5-point home favorites. That line has shifted by a full point after early betting, as New Orleans is currently available at -5.5. The total for this matchup is 53.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 16 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Saints vs Steelers Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Pittsburgh is coming off of a very impressive 17-10 home victory over New England in Week 15 that helped keep them stay a game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North. The Steelers had lost three consecutive games heading into their meeting with the Patriots, so the win was even more sweet considering how desperately it was needed. QB Ben Roethlisberger had an up and down game, throwing for 235 yards and two touchdowns while also getting picked off twice. Roethlisberger continues to be affected by a lingering rib issue, as it has been glaringly obvious that he hasn’t been 100% healthy as of late. RB James Conner was forced to miss his second straight game due to an ankle injury, so Jaylen Samuels got another start in the backfield. Samuels had a very strong game against the Pats, rushing for 142 yards on 19 carries while also adding two catches for 30 yards. He may be counted again heavily here in Week 16, as Conner is likely going to be a game-time decision yet again. In the receiving game, the dynamic duo of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster were held in check for the most part against New England, combining for just 89 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Pittsburgh is currently averaging 27.4 points per game on 405.8 yards of total offense.
The Steelers have been above average on the other side of the ball through their first fourteen games, allowing opponents to score 22.6 points per game (15th overall) on 333.5 yards of total offense. They have been especially good against the run, giving up only 96.9 rushing yards per game (6th overall).
New Orleans has now won three out of their last four games after they managed to scrape by Carolina on Monday Night Football in Week 15 to improve to 12-2 on the season overall. The Saints have rebounded nicely after a rather rough start to the season defensively, as they have given up 18 or less points to each of their last four opponents (Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Carolina). QB Drew Brees has certainly cooled down as of late, as he threw for just 203 yards against a Panthers secondary that has had their fare share of struggles this year. Brees also failed to find the end zone through the air and has now thrown only one or less touchdowns in three straight starts. RB Alvin Kamara led the way on the ground against the Panthers, rushing for 67 yards and a touchdown. Kamara should be extra hungry here in Week 16 after getting snubbed by the Pro Bowl Selection Committee, as he was left off the team despite leading the NFL in touchdowns (12) and ranking 6th best league-wide in rushing yards. As a whole, New Orleans is currently averaging 32.8 points per game (2nd overall) on 385.9 yards of total offense.
The Saints have been much improved on the other side of the ball in the second half of the regular season, as they are now giving up an average of only 20.9 points per game (7th overall) on 341.6 total yards of offense per game. They have been extremely solid on the ground, as opponents are currently averaging just 79.1 rushing yards per game (1st overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: New Orleans -5.5
This is easily one of the most appealing games on the schedule from an entertainment standpoint here in Week 16, as both of the teams have been solid for the most part despite going through some struggles lately. While New Orleans certainly has been unable to get their high-flying offense going over the past several weeks, a game at the Superdome should really help them to turn things around. While this line has moved substantially towards Pittsburgh since the Saints opened at -6.5, I still think that Brees and Co. will finally break out of their slump this weekend after scoring 12 or less points in two out of their last three games.
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The Steelers are just 1-3-1 ATS over their last five games overall. On the other hand, New Orleans is a very impressive 6-2 ATS over their last eight games in Week 16. While some may have some concerns about fatigue after a short week of rest, the Saints are a rock-solid 8-2 ATS in their last ten Sunday games following an appearance on Monday Night Football.
While Jaylen Samuels has filled in admirably, Pittsburgh still misses James Conner badly. While he is currently still questionable, he is definitely not 100% healthy and will certainly have a tough matchup against the NFL’s best run defense even if he is able to suit up. Roethlisberger also isn’t at 100% right now, while Brees will be desperate to get back into the MVP conversation after hitting a rough patch in early December. I think this one will stay close throughout before New Orleans finds a way to pull away late. I’m laying the 5.5 points in this matchup and taking the favorite to cover at home- give me the Saints.