Monday Night Football best bet: Steelers vs. Colts
The Indianapolis Colts came up on the short end against a Pennsylvania team last week in the one-point loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Now the Fighting Jeff Saturdays look to hold serve and maintain their slim playoff hopes as a home favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football to cap off Week 12.
Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Sunday night.
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Matt Youmans: When the Indianapolis Colts called Jeff Saturday out of a TV studio to be their interim coach, the critics howled. The move was supposedly an insult to the coaching profession and the franchise was portrayed as an embarrassment to the NFL.
With Saturday on the sideline the past two Sundays, the Colts (4-6-1) are 1-1 with a one-point loss to the Eagles. The critics are quiet as Indianapolis prepares to host the Steelers on Monday night.
As it turns out, a six-time Pro Bowl center who played with Peyton Manning for more than a decade looks more qualified for the job than a handful of other head coaches in the league. Saturday is not Bill Belichick, but he’s not Nathaniel Hackett, either.
A head coach needs to be a strong leader and a smart game manager, and so far Saturday has been both. The biggest change he made was reinserting Matt Ryan as the starting quarterback, and Ryan has responded by passing for a total of 435 yards without an interception in two games. The return of running back Jonathan Taylor also has been a boost, with Taylor carrying the ball a combined 44 times for 231 yards in those two games.
While the focus is on an offense that still has a long way to go, the Indianapolis defense is making a difference. The Colts, who held Philadelphia to 314 yards and a season-low 17 points, are getting outstanding play from defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and corner Stephon Gilmore to compensate for a season-ending injury to star linebacker Shaquille Leonard.
Pittsburgh (3-7) has all sorts of problems, and rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett is not capable of working miracles behind a bad offensive line and without a strong running attack.
It’s risky to lay points in what should be a low-scoring game with a total of 39.5, but the Colts have a couple of more positive factors in their favor.
Pick: Colts -2.5
Adam Burke: The Colts have found their identity once again, as interim head coach Jeff Saturday has injected some life into the offensive line. In two games, the Colts have rushed for 306 yards on 56 rushes. Jonathan Taylor has played 110 snaps and gotten 44 carries. We should see a steady diet of the run once again for Indianapolis against Pittsburgh on Monday night.
In nine games with the Steelers, Myles Jack has at least eight tackles in seven of them. Going up against an offense that runs a lot, Jack should be able to rack up some more stops in this game. He has 81 combined tackles on the season and only six missed tackles, so he’s been a pretty sure tackler for the Steelers and leads the team by 27 over the next closest player (Devin Bush Jr.). I would anticipate that he’s busy in this one with a line of 7.5.
Pick: Myles Jack Over 7.5 Tackles + Assists (-105)