Greg Cote's Thursday night NFL pick

Greg Cote, Miami Herald on

Published in Football



STEELERS (6-5-1) at VIKINGS (5-7)

Line: MIN by 3 1/2.

Cote’s pick: PIT 23-20.


TV: 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Fox/NFL.

Week 14 kicks off with two teams that are one game off playoff pace in their conference, so the loser’s postseason hopes will take a gut punch. I’m not big on intangible factors but they will be in play here, as Pittsburgh must avoid a letdown after last week’s dramatic one-point win against rival Baltimore, while Minnesota must hit the bounce back button after last week’s embarrassing loss to previously winless Detroit. Give me PIT with the resolve and the upset. Love Steelers getting 3 1/2 in what figures as a low-scoring game, and like ‘em outright, too. Pitt rides a 13-5 run covering as road dog, and Minny is on a 1-9 skid covering as betting favorite. Ben Roethlisberger, closer to his old self lately, is 12-0 on TDs/picks in his past three Thursday night games. This could be Big Ben’s next-to-last prime time appearance, if this is indeed his final season as has been speculated. Najee Harris should feast here on Vikes’ weak run defense. Then there’s this: Steeler T.J. Watt is NFL’s best defensive player right now — the team 6-2 with him healthy, 0-3-1 in games he has missed. Watt leads league in sacks despite the missed games and will bother Kirk Cousins all night. Finally, Cousins will be missing WR Adam Thielen (ankle) and could be without RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) as well.

[Note: Betting line courtesy Caesars Sportsbook as of Wednesday afternoon.]

©2021 Miami Herald. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.