The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to stay hot in Week 10 when they welcome the Los Angeles Rams to the Steel City. Kickoff is set for 4:25 EST on Sunday, November 10 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Fans on the west coast and in AFC North markets can watch the game on Fox.
According to our Week 10 NFL odds, the Rams are 3.5-point favorites on the road. The game also has an over/under of 44 points.
Rather quietly, the Steelers have become one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Losing Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending injury has not been the dealbreaker most believed it would be. The Steelers have now won three in a row and four of their last five games behind Mason Rudolph. Pittsburgh even managed to win the game that Devlin Hodges started. Against all odds, the Steelers have erased their 0-3 start and sit at 4-4 midway through the season.
Of course, Pittsburgh is still two games behind the Ravens in the AFC North and has plenty of work left to do if they want a Wild Card spot. That being said, Pittsburgh’s schedule down the stretch is quite manageable. After this week’s game with the Rams, the Steelers have four straight games against teams with losing records. If Pittsburgh can steal a win as home underdogs this week, they’ll be in great shape to earn a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, the reigning NFC champions are currently in third place inside the NFC West. L.A. has been able to shake off a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over the lowly Falcons and Bengals. However, a 5-3 record at the midway point is only good enough for third place behind the 8-0 49ers and 7-2 Seahawks.
If the playoffs started today, the Rams would be left out. They have a lot of work ahead of them just to reach the postseason. Outside of playing two of their last eight games against the Cardinals, the Rams have a tricky schedule during the second half of the year. They’re going to have to find a way to win some tough games, starting with this week’s road trip to Pittsburgh.
This game is where the rubber meets the road for the Steelers. But I’m going to show some faith in Mike Tomlin’s team. Outside of that blowout loss to New England in Week 1, the Steelers have either won or lost by four points or less. They’ve been in every game, and on the heels of three straight wins, the crowd should start to believe and give them a big lift. Even if Pittsburgh doesn’t win, the Steelers aren’t losing by more than a field goal, so I’ll lean toward them as home underdogs.
After the injury to Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh defense has become the team’s saving grace. Allowing 21 points per game doesn’t necessarily make them an elite defense. But the Steelers are second in the NFL in takeaways and among the top-5 teams in sacks. They are finding ways to disrupt opposing offenses and helping out Rudolph and the offense as much as possible. It’s why the Steelers are never out of a game and why they’ve only lost one game by more than four points all season.
Naturally, the Los Angeles offense will be one of the biggest challenges the Steelers have faced this year. But this isn’t the same Rams offense we saw last year. Granted, they are still top-10 in points scored. But Todd Gurley has been average at best and the Rams are averaging just under four yards per carry rushing as a team. Jared Goff has also had a down year based on the standards he’s set the past couple of seasons. He has just 11 touchdown passes to seven interceptions, which is concerning against a defense that’s excelled at creating turnovers. On top of that, Brandin Cooks has been ruled out due to a concussion, so the Rams aren’t at full strength this week.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles defense has had some ups and downs this year. They’ve shut down the Falcons and Bengals in their last two games. But giving up 10 points against two of the worst teams in football doesn’t prove much. The Rams have also allowed the Panthers, Bucs, and Seahawks to score at least 30 points against them. There’s been a little too much inconsistency on that side of the ball to make me feel confident in the Rams as road favorites.
Of course, the Steelers don’t have the most dynamic offense in the NFL with Roethlisberger out and a lack of proven playmakers outside of JuJu Smith-Schuster. To make matters worse, James Conner is likely to miss this week’s game due to injury. However, Rudolph has slowly started to grow more comfortable, leading the Steelers to 27 and 26 points in the last two weeks, respectively. He handled himself well against a solid Colts defense last week, so I think he’ll be fine against the Rams.
All things considered, I think the Steelers have enough to make this a field goal game, especially at home. The Rams aren’t as dynamic offensively as they were a year ago, and they’ll face one of their biggest challenges of the year. I also don’t think the L.A. defense is good enough to keep an admittedly limited Pittsburgh off the scoreboard. Straight-up, I would probably favor the Rams, but as 3.5-point underdogs at home, I like the Steelers.