The Minnesota Vikings are 5.5-point underdogs in their Week 2 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to My Bookie. If you would rather bet straight up, the Vikings are +195 underdogs against the Steelers, who are -245 favorites.
Minnesota looked the part of a team that can contend with the likes of one of the AFC’s best teams in a Week 1 Monday Night drubbing of the New Orleans Saints. Meanwhile, the Steelers squeaked by the lowly Cleveland Browns by just three points.
Still, the odds appear to give Pittsburgh the benefit of the doubt. The Steelers did earn a spot in the AFC Championship just nine months ago before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Additionally, the Steelers boast arguably the top two skill position players in the NFL in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.
Bell, Brown and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger give the Steelers the reputation as one of the best offenses in the NFL — which is why this game could be a high-scoring affair.
My Bookie’s over/under total is listed at 45.5, which seems slightly low considering the teams combined for 50 last week. Specifically, Minnesota missed several chances in the red zone to get in the end zone and instead settled for field goals. The oddsmakers seem optimistic about the Vikings defense slowing down the high-octane Steelers offense and turning this game into a relatively low-scoring affair.
The Vikings and Steelers have squared off in 17 previous regular-season matchups. Minnesota owns the all-time series lead 9-8 and won the teams’ last meeting back in 2013, which took place in London, by a 34-27 score.
The Minnesota Vikings have listed three players as questionable: CB Xavier Rhodes, QB Sam Bradford and LB Anthony Barr. All were limited in Friday’s practice and were the only players on the roster who did not participate in full.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said he expects both Bradford and Barr to start, and there are no indications that Rhodes won’t be ready to go.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have listed one player as out (T Jerald Hawkins) and three players questionable (TE Vance McDonald, DL Stephon Tuitt, S JJ Wilcox). Tuitt and Wilcox were limited on Friday’s practice and McDonald did not participate on Friday.
Time: Noon CT
Commentators: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber and Kristina Pink
According to Weather Channel, the forecast for Sunday in Pittsburgh calls for a high of 83 degrees with partly cloudy skies and a high wind speed of just four miles per hour.
Minnesota’s offense faces a Steeler defense that has some similarities to the Saints defense. It has some playmakers in the front seven and a secondary that lacks experience and talent. Defensively, the Vikings defense gets a much tougher test after halting the Saints to 19 points last week. Pittsburgh’s offense includes a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and two of the best skill position players in the NFL, and that’s not to mention a rock solid offensive line.
The Vikings contained a Saints offense that didn’t feature many weapons outside of wide receiver Michael Thomas. Week 2 features a much more difficult test, and the Vikings will need to find some sort of solution for Antonio Brown in the slot to have a chance.
This game will be close — which means bet the Vikings against the spread — but the Steelers will take the win.
Steelers 27, Vikings 23