Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers: SLR Staff Predictions

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Dean Holden – The fact that this looks like such a slam-dunk win for the Lions is precisely what makes me so suspicious of it. The Lions are dominant on both lines, while the Steelers have struggled. The Lions’ have the edge in all areas on offense, and may only be a weaker unit than the Steelers in the defensive secondary. A few days ago, I laid out a whole set of stats detailing why the Lions should dominate this matchup, few more important than the Steelers’ -11 turnover margin.

And yet I’m suspicious. The Lions are frontrunners right now, leading the NFC North and marching into Pittsburgh as favorites. They have all the pieces they need to win, yet they have the frustrating tendency to not put it all together when the win is there for the taking. The Steelers are not a dangerous team, but they’re a veteran team that knows how to take a win if it’s left out for them.

That’s why if the Lions are going to win this game, it’s going to be by a blowout. Despite the voices whispering that this could be a “trap” game, and the difficulty involved with playing at Pittsburgh, I’m going to take the obvious choice and say the Lions win, despite a late garbage time rally by the Steelers (like the first Bears game). Lions 35, Steelers 27.

Aaron Meckes – This one has the feeling of a trap game, and I don’t like it. They should win, but my entire life is filled with memories of the Lions disappointing in games like this. I’m becoming more of a believer that these aren’t the “same old Lions” so I’m going to pick them to win, and I hope they don’t break my heart. Detroit, 31-14.

Darin Ackerman – The Steelers offense has struggled putting points on the board this season, particularly in the run game (80.6 yards a game, 27th in the league), which has been their bread and butter in previous years. Don’t expect that to change vs. a stout Lions’ run defense (eighth against the run) that held the Bears to 38 yards on 20 carries in last week’s contest. To be successful, the Steelers will need to take to the air vs. a suspect Lions’ secondary, ranked 27th against the pass. In the end, the potent and more balanced Lions’ offense (sixth in the league) will prove too much for an aging and hobbled Steelers’ defense, particularly in the run game. Expect Bush to have a huge day vs. a run defense that gives up 127 yards a game. Lions win another game on the road. Lions 24 Steelers 20

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