The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to take on the Minnesota Vikings (5-7) tonight on Thursday Night Football as Week 14 action kicks off. Divisional berths are moving out of reach for these two squads, but Wild Card slots are still in the mix. Can the Steelers build on their Week 13 win over the Baltimore Ravens to make a final push in the AFC playoff race? Here’s the start time, channel, and live streams for Thursday Night Football, as well as a preview and prediction.
- Channel: FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video
- Time: 8:15 PM ET
- Thursday Night Football Live streams:
- NFL Mobile App
- YouTube TV
What to expect from tonight’s Steelers vs. Vikings game?
After fielding one of the scarier offensive attacks in the league this season, the Vikings have folded over the past few weeks. After Week 13’s loss to the Detroit Lions, Minnesota is riding a two-game losing streak into tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup. Yes, the Lions are winless no more after their walk-off touchdown to WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. However, this was the Vikings’ game to lose.
After heading into halftime with a 20-6 deficit, Minnesota came storming back, scoring 21 points and even taking the lead with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter. Yet, 13 pass attempts later, the celebration in Detroit was on. The turnaround in the NFL comes quick, and forgetting these moments becomes paramount. But what do the Vikings need to do tonight on Thursday Night Football to avoid another embarrassment and almost certainly end their postseason hopes?
Minnesota’s defense has had the luxury of being supported by an offense that — when healthy — is liable to go off at any moment. Thus, the Vikings’ losses this season have highlighted the franchise’s struggles. Minnesota has let every opponent score a touchdown this season, and the Vikings have had a two-possession lead in just one win in 2021.
This is not great news heading into tonight’s Thursday Night Football game. The Vikings have a bottom-five rush defense and have Pittsburgh’s rookie RB Najee Harris coming to town. Harris has averaged 64.9 rushing yards per game, and while he had a lull in Weeks 11-12, he bounced right back against Baltimore’s league-best rushing defense.
If you factor in his receiving yards, the 2021 first-round pick is averaging just under 100 scrimmage yards a game. This production was exactly what the Steelers were hoping for with Harris’ selection, and slowing the young back down will be paramount for a Vikings win tonight on Thursday Night Football.
Even more concerning, the absence of RB Dalvin Cook was somewhat expected for Week 14, but the additional loss of WR Adam Thielen makes things even worse for this Vikings squad. RB Alexander Mattison did well in Cook’s stead against the Lions. However, Minnesota will need either WR K.J. Osborn or Dede Westbrook to pick up the slack opposite star WR Justin Jefferson.
Has Pittsburgh figured things out offensively?
Does Pittsburgh have an offensive issue or a Cincinnati Bengals issue? The answer is yes to both questions. For a team still vying for a postseason berth, they do not score as expected. Pittsburgh has averaged just 20.3 points per game this season, and their two lowest-scoring outings came against the Bengals.
While not the prettiest of wins, Week 12’s victory over the Ravens was huge in turning things around for Pittsburgh. They stopped the bleeding of their losing streak while knocking the Ravens down a peg.
Tonight’s Thursday Night Football game should be interesting as both squads thrive in the second half. Pittsburgh has had multiple double-digit scoring fourth quarters this season, and the Vikings are one week removed from a fierce comeback bid.
Both franchises look for victories at make-or-break points in their respective seasons, but the Vikings’ injuries on offense will be too much for them to overcome. When taking home victories, both of these squads specialize in down-to-the-wire, one-score games, so expect this Thursday Night Football tilt to have you sweating tonight. Pittsburgh gets another vital win in their attempt to sneak into the AFC playoffs.
Steelers vs. Vikings Prediction: Steelers 30, Vikings 23
- Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – September 9
- Final: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 29
- New York Giants at Washington Football Team – September 16
- Final: Washington 30, Giants 29
- Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans – September 23
- Final: Panthers 24, Texans 9
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals – September 30
- Final: Bengals 24, Jaguars 21
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks – October 7
- Final: Rams 26, Seattle 17
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles – October 14
- Final: Buccaneers 28, Eagles 22
- Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns – October 21
- Final: Browns 17, Broncos 14
- Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals – October 28
- Final: Packers 24, Cardinals 21
- New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts – November 4
- Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins – November 11
- Final: Dolphins 22, Ravens 10
- New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons – November 18
- Final: Patriots 25, Falcons 0
- Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints – November 25
- Final: Bills 31, Saints 6
- Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints – December 2
- Final: Cowboys 27, Saints 17
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings – December 9
- Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers – December 16
- San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans – December 23