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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts Picks and Predictions December 16

NFL picks and predictions for the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts Saturday Football game, December 16, 2023 at 4:30pm et.

Steelers vs Colts:

When: 4:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 16, 2023
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada was not the solution to the multiple problems plaguing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense, if the past two games are any indication.

After breaking a 58-game streak of not gaining 400 yards in a game in a Nov. 26 win at Cincinnati, Pittsburgh has been dismal in consecutive home losses to Arizona and New England. The Cardinals and Patriots strolled into Acrisure Stadium as two-win teams, and left with shocking wins.

That leaves the Steelers with little time to answer the riddle of what will fix the offense. The challenge on the road Saturday is slowing down the Indianapolis Colts in a game dripping with playoff implications.

The Steelers and Colts are among six teams in the AFC with 7-6 records. The Cleveland Browns are 8-5 and in the AFC’s top wild-card spot.

“I’m not necessarily looking for power positive messages in an effort to build them up,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I’m probably taking the opposite approach and talking about how urgent you know these weeks and opportunities in games are because the road is getting narrower. We’re moving into the middle of December now and so that’s just acknowledging the truth. Opportunities to establish your position in these games are big. This one’s big, big for us and big for them.”

Pittsburgh’s 21-18 loss to New England on Dec. 7 came after the Steelers fell behind 21-3. Backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky misfired on a fourth-down pass from the Steelers’ 49 with 1:55 left, quashing their last realistic chance to pull off a comeback.

Fans who blasted Canada and Tomlin for offensive ineptitude haven’t been the only ones upping the volume this week. Last week’s game was the last straw for former Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who won two Super Bowls and never endured a losing season in his 18-year career. Roethlisberger criticized Tomlin and questioned the motivation of players.

“I’ve felt that certain guys on the team aren’t in it for the team, they’re in it for themselves,” Roethlisberger said on his podcast. “Well, now some of the guys on the team are saying the same thing … maybe the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers is done.”

Against that backdrop, Trubisky gets another go under center because Kenny Pickett (ankle) has been ruled out again. Pickett underwent surgery on his injured ankle following the Steelers’ 24-10 loss Dec. 3 to Arizona. Trubisky was 22 of 35 against New England for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Indianapolis (7-6) probably feels better about its backup quarterback, Gardner Minshew, based on his strong performance of late. But the Colts also missed a chance to create separation and move closer to Jacksonville in the AFC South when they lost 34-14 on Sunday in Cincinnati.

Minshew was 26 of 39 against the Bengals, amassing 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Since replacing rookie Anthony Richardson as the starter in October, Minshew is completing 61.7 percent of his passes with eight interceptions in 295 attempts. He is at 63.2 percent on the season.

But last week’s result has ratcheted up the sense of urgency for Colts, according to wide receiver Michael Pittman.

“Last game, we just didn’t get it done,” Pittman said. “We were fortunate that everybody except Tennessee lost in the AFC South. We’re kind of in the same spot but we did miss an opportunity to gain ground.”

Pittman has at least eight receptions in each of his past six games. One more game of at least eight receptions would make Pittman is the sixth player ever to do so in seven consecutive games.

With Jacksonville just a game ahead in the division, Indianapolis can help itself on two fronts with a victory. The opportunity exists for a fast finish as none of the Colts’ final four opponents boast records better than 7-6.

The Steelers own a 21-6 advantage in the all-time series with eight straight wins. They’ve won five in a row in Indianapolis, including a 24-17 decision last year.

Pittsburgh outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith both cleared concussion protocol and are expected to be available for Sunday. Guard Isaac Seumalo (shoulder) is questionable.

The Colts ruled out running back Jonathan Taylor (thumb) for a third straight game. Starting right tackle Braden Smith (knee) is also out.

–Field Level Media

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For this Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts Saturday Football game, I’m taking the Colts First Quarter Moneyline -112.

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