clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colts clash with slumping Steelers in pivotal AFC matchup

Despite a 6-21 record in the all-time series against the Steelers, the Colts are 4-0 straight up and against the spread when competing as favorites this season.

Syndication: Indianapolis
Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart (90) reacts after a tackle for a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., — Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019.
Robert Scheer/IndyStar, Indianapolis Star via Imagn Content Services, LLC

One of the most pivotal AFC matchups with massive playoff ramifications commences Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium as the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Both squads are 7-6 and currently hold the final two spots in the AFC playoff picture, while leaning on their backup quarterback to lead the team to the postseason. Another common factor is a win over the No. 1 seed.

In a race to 10 wins, finishing the 17-game gauntlet with a 9-8 record would not guarantee a playoff berth. Baltimore became the first AFC team to win 10 games and currently holds the No. 1 seed after extending its winning streak to three games.

The Ravens three losses include the Week 3 overtime loss against the Colts as May Gay drilled his fourth field goal of 50-plus yards. The second defeat was a Week 5 road loss to the Steelers when Kenny Pickett threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens with 1:17 left in the game. The Ravens’ third loss against the Browns was on a last-second field goal made by kicker Dustin Hopkins.

Indianapolis’ secondary allowed five explosive pass plays against rookie quarterback Jake Browning in the Week 14 loss in Cincinnati. In his second career start, Browning completed a career-high 75% of pass attempts on 11.5 yards per attempt. The rookie torched the stampede in blue for two designed screens that resulted in a combined 99 yards from scrimmage, then completed two deep passes to receiver Tee Higgins to drive inside Colts territory, which led to touchdowns.

Pittsburgh just suffered its two worst losses of the season, including a 24-10 at home against Arizona, followed by a 21-18 loss on Thursday Night Football against New England. The Steelers became the first team with a winning record in NFL history to drop consecutive home games against teams at least eight games under .500. The Steelers have scored 20 points just three times in their last 10 games, compared to the Colts, who are tied for the league lead with 11 games scoring at least 20 points.

Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner has 7.0 sacks this season, tied for the sixth-most in the league. Indianapolis is tied with Denver for the most strip-sacks with 10 each and only trail behind Minnesota (18) with 16 forced fumbles. The Colts rank third with 42.0 team sacks and are just five sacks away from surpassing the franchise single-season record.

The Colts hold the longest takeaway streak at 18 games, which is 11 more games than the next best streak. Linebacker Zaire Franklin enters Week 15 leading all defensive players with 144 tackles, including a league-best three games producing 15-plus tackles.

Rookie cornerback JuJu Brents is set to return for the first time after missing the last two months and seven games with a quadriceps injury and aid the secondary. Despite a 6-21 record in the all-time series against the Steelers, the Colts are 4-0 straight up and against the spread when competing as favorites this season.