Age ain’t nothin’ but a number and no one is proving that more than 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck this season. He’ll lead the Indianapolis Colts on a trip to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers on Sunday Night Football this week in an attempt to get his fifth win as backup to an injured Andrew Luck. The Steelers will likely have their starting quarterback in after Ben Roethlisberger suffered a concussion a week ago. The winner of this match up will push their record to 7-5 on the season. The point spread is currently favoring the Steelers at -7.5.
Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Point Spread: Steelers -7.5 Over/under: 49 Date: Sunday, December 6, 8:30pm ET Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
It’s funny to think that the +7.5 underdog Colts have won more games with Hasselbeck under center than with Luck, but that’s the reality. Against the Steelers, it will be important for the offense to be clicking early. They’ll need to put as many points on the board as possible to keep pace with Pittsburgh’s score-at-will offensive attack. Hasselbeck will need to rise above being a game manager and take advantage of a Steeler secondary that’s giving up nearly 300 yards per game.
Defensively, the Colts have been inconsistent and noticeably weak against the pass. If Roethlisberger suits up, they face a much bigger task in stopping a Pittsburgh offense that is averaging 280 yards through the air each week, with most of those yards being earned by Antonio Brown. The Colts can only hope to contain Brown, but must also worry about DeAngelo Williams, who’s averaging nearly five yards per carry. Indianapolis is going to need to have its best defensive showing of the season if they hope to pull off a win.
Their offense may put up big numbers, but the Steelers defense also gives them up. While the Colts aren’t exactly scoring juggernauts, they seem to play well with Hasselbeck under center. The big factor in stopping Indianapolis hinges upon stopping Frank Gore, who’s had an up and down year. Without an effective running game, they can force the quarterback to switch from game manager mode to shoot out mode, the latter being one the Steelers are better equipped to match.
The ability to score against the Colts will come down to who’s under center. There’s a big gap in talent between Roethlisberger and Landry Jones. While Jones did well filling in early in the season, the offense comes alive with Roethlisberger at the helm, and it seems that his team has cleared him to play this Sunday. With either quarterback, Pittsburgh would be wise to go pass heavy against a porous Indianapolis defense.
Sunday Night Football Prediction
From top to bottom, the Steelers are a better team than the Colts right now. Indianapolis simply doesn’t have the talent to keep pace with an offense like Pittsburgh’s. This game could very well end up in a high-scoring shootout, but in the end the Colts just won’t have enough to steal a road win.