If the old saying that “offenses sell tickets and defenses sell championships” were entirely true, there would be very few fans in Acrisure Stadium today to witness the start of Week 14 of the National Football League.
The New England Patriots and what little remains (Bill Belichick) of their dynasty, visit the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the game with the best amount of points predicted in the last 30 years.
According to ESPN Bet, the line for tonight’s game fell to 29.5 points between both teams and it is not because of their fearsome defenses or extreme snowfall. The reason is that both organizations have offensives with little pulse.
ESPN Bet points out that there has not been a game with a score this low since December 26, 1993, when a cold wave caused three games to be below 30 points. Among those games was the one between the Patriots and the Colts. New England won that afternoon 38-0 on a day when the temperature hovered around 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Almost 30 years later, the Patriots return to close the anemic circle.
Through 12 games in 2023, New England sits at the bottom of the league in scoring offense. The team averages 12.3 points per game, a figure reduced by three consecutive weeks without being able to score more than seven points in a game.
Last week’s loss made the Patriots the first team since the 1938 Chicago Cardinals to lose three consecutive games while allowing 10 points or fewer.
The Patriots enter Thursday Night Football with just two wins this season and immersed in a five-game losing streak. The team that in the Tom Brady era usually selected last in the draft is now in a race for next year’s No. 1 pick.
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Bailey Zappe is expected to get another chance as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.
The Steelers (7-5) are better in the standings, but can’t seem to get out of the rut of mediocrity and will be without starting quarterback Kenny Pickett.
In addition to the loss of their number one quarterback, the Steelers will have history against them.
Including the playoffs, Mike Tomlin is 3-9 (.250) as a head coach against the Patriots. Tomlin’s next-lowest winning percentage against any AFC team is .444 (4-5 against the Broncos, Jets and Raiders).
A statistic in favor of the Pittsburgh team
The Steelers are 7-0 this season when scoring more than 10 points this season, making them the only undefeated team in these types of games in 2023. Only the Giants (6) have scored more than 10 points in fewer games than Pittsburgh this season.
The Steelers practically need 10 points to guarantee victory over the Patriots and their offense unable to enter the end zone.
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