Game Predictions | Bills vs. Steelers


What to watch for: The roads that the Bills and Steelers took to this game contain an eerie number of similarities, from losing key players to injury for stretches to putting together season-ending winning streaks despite low playoff odds. Both teams also fired their offensive coordinators at midseason, becoming the first playoff teams to have an in-season coordinator change since the 2012 Ravens. The Steelers are looking for the team’s first playoff win since 2016, while the Bills are 13-2 in home playoff games since 1970. Limiting quarterback Josh Allen in the postseason will pose a challenge for Pittsburgh, as Allen is the only player in NFL playoff history to average 250 passing yards and 50 rushing yards per game (min. five games) and has the highest combined average yardage (343.9). — Alaina Getzenberg

Bold prediction: Steelers running back Najee Harris will have his third consecutive game of at least 100 rushing yards. The Bills’ rushing defense is arguably the toughest the Steelers have faced in at least a month, allowing opponents an average of 103 rushing yards per game in their past three contests. But Harris is on a roll with back-to-back games of 100-plus rushing yards. With the temperature expected to be below freezing, wind gusts of 50 miles per hour and possible light snow, the Steelers will lean heavily on their ground game. Sharing the backfield with Jaylen Warren, Harris had just 255 touches in the regular season, his fewest in his three-year NFL career, making him as fresh as possible for the playoffs. — Brooke Pryor

Stat to know: The Steelers had nine wins in one-score games during the regular season, which led the NFL and are the most in a single season in franchise history.

Matchup X factor: Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins. With edge rusher T.J. Watt out, Alex Highsmith is even more crucial to the Steelers’ pass rush. If Dawkins — who has had a really nice season and ranked fourth in pass block win rate among tackles — can shut down Highsmith, that should set up Allen for a pretty smooth day. — Walder

Game-plan key: Pittsburgh has to run the ball well between the tackles. Harris and Warren finished the regular season hot, and Buffalo allowed 4.6 yards per carry on inside runs this season, 30th in the NFL. — Bowen

Officiating note: This game will benefit from one of the NFL’s most trusted referees. Carl Cheffers has been the Super Bowl referee in two of the past three years and three times in the past seven. His regular-season crew threw the third-fewest flags in the league (12.1 per game). — Seifert

Betting nugget: The Steelers were 10-7 ATS in the regular season with unders going 11-6. The Bills were 7-10 ATS in the regular season with unders going 11-6.

Moody’s pick: Bills 34, Steelers 20

Walder’s pick: Bills 30, Steelers 13

FPI prediction: BUF, 76.6% (by an average of 10.4 points)



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