Ameer Abdullah

Steelers road favorites against Lions in Sunday Night Football matchup

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Picking between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions on Sunday night could simply come down to Ben Roethlisberger‘s record in primetime games compared to that of quarterback counterpart Matthew Stafford.

The Steelers are 3-point road favorites against the Lions with a 46-point total for the Week 8 Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

On top of having never lost a game at Ford Field, the Steelers are 6-1 straight-up and 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven road games as a favorite of 3.0 or fewer points. Pittsburgh is also 4-0 SU in its last four primetime games that Roethlisberger started.

The Lions are 3-13 SU in their last 16 games at night. However, they are coming off a bye and are 6-2 both SU and ATS in their last eight games after a bye week.

The Steelers, which are 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS, have gotten away with having an oversized chunk of their offense come from RB Le'Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. With Brown likely to be covered by CB Darius Slay most of the night, Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offensive brain trust might need to look elsewhere.

With WR Martavius Bryant (inactive) scratched, rookie JuJu Schuster-Smith will get plenty of looks as Pittsburgh tries to revive its deep passing game. Roethlisberger will also have to clean up some turnover issues against a Lions defense that is tied for third in the NFL with nine interceptions.

Up front, Pittsburgh has allowed just 10 sacks and the line’s consistent push in the rushing phase has helped Bell find daylight. While the first point of reference with the Lions defense is likely the embarrassing 52 points they allowed two weeks ago against the New Orleans Saints, they are in the top 10 of the league in yards-per-rush.

For the Lions, which are 3-3 both SU and ATS, priorities 1A and 1B for their offense during their week off were presumably first-half production (only five of their 14 offensive touchdowns are before halftime) and pass protection. The possibility of leading receiver Golden Tate (shoulder) being unable to play would definitely hurt their prospects of a fast start, but Stafford does thrive at distributing the ball among several targets.

The issue for Detroit in the passing phase is giving Stafford time to set up. Detroit allowed 17 sacks in its three games immediately prior to the bye, and now it has to stymie a Steelers pass rush that is tied for the second-most sacks with 24.

The Steelers defense is giving up 4.7 yards per carry, so this could be a game where Lions RB Ameer Abdullah sees bigger holes than he’s been accustomed to this season.

The total has gone under in 15 of the Steelers’ last 20 games after a win. The total has gone over in seven of the Lions’ last eight home games in October according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com

Chancellor’s big play allows Seattle to beat Detroit 13-10

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SEATTLE — With one big punch, Kam Chancellor showed his importance to the Seattle Seahawks.

And once again, the Seahawks may have received another Monday night break from the officials in the same end zone where the infamous “Fail Mary” took place.

Chancellor knocked the ball free from Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson at the 1-yard line when it appeared the Lions were going to take the lead, and Seattle held on for a 13-10 win.

With Detroit on the verge of capping a 91-yard drive with the go-ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining, Chancellor came from the side and punched the ball from Johnson’s arm as he was being tackled by Earl Thomas.

The ball bounded into the end zone where it was guided over the back line by K.J. Wright for a touchback and Seattle’s ball at the 20.

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Wright could have been called for illegal touching for hitting the ball out of the end zone, which would have given the ball back to Detroit. But no flags were thrown and on the ensuing possession, Russell Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for 50 yards on third down. With Detroit out of timeouts, the Seahawks (2-2) ran off the final seconds of their second straight win.

“We can’t change it now,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “It is what it is. We won and we’re going to move on.”

MORE: Wright says he “didn’t know” that rule at all

Detroit fell to 0-4 for its worst start since 2010 when the Lions also started 0-4 on their way to a 6-10 season, and with a schedule that offers little relief going forward.

It was an ugly performance by the home team, filled with offensive mistakes and two fourth-quarter fumbles by Wilson, the second returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Caraun Reid to pull Detroit to 13-10.

But in the end, Seattle’s defense came through.

Starting on their 9 with 6:23 remaining, the Lions converted a big third down on Golden Tate‘s 22-yard catch-and-run and reached the Seattle 46 with 3 minutes left on Ameer Abdullah‘s 9-yard run. Matthew Stafford then zipped a pass to No. 3 tight end Tim Wright down the seam for 26 yards to the Seattle 20 with 2:30 remaining, placing it in-between Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Chancellor.

K.J. Wright
K.J. Wright seen batting the loose football out of the back of the end zone.

The Lions reached the Seattle 11 and on third-and-1, Stafford passed to an open Johnson. As he stretched for the goal line, Chancellor came across and knocked the ball free.

Seattle has not allowed an offensive touchdown in the two games since Chancellor ended his holdout and has forced 18 punts during that stretch.

“It was big time,” Wagner said of Chancellor’s return. “He just made us a whole defense.”

Wilson was forced to be an escape artist as Seattle’s offensive line continued to struggle with protection. Wilson threw for 287 yards and rushed for another 40 yards. Wilson’s most memorable play was spinning free of two near sacks and finding Kearse for 34 yards in the second quarter, and then hitting Doug Baldwin on a 24-yard TD on the next play.

Seattle was without Marshawn Lynch for the first time since Week 7 of the 2011 season against Cleveland when Lynch had back problems flare up during pregame warmups. Thomas Rawls rushed for 104 yards last week in relief of Lynch, but could not get started against a better Lions defense. Rawls finished with 48 yards on 17 carries.

Stafford was 24 of 35 for 203 yards for Detroit, which lost starting tight end Eric Ebron and both starting defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker to injuries.

Ebron suffered a knee injury in the first half after having two early catches, while Ngata and Walker both went out in the second half. Ngata suffered a calf injury while Walker was taken off on a cart after suffering a left leg injury in the fourth quarter.