In the NFL’s seventh game in London, two storied franchises seek their first win of the season as the Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon at Wembley Stadium.
Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had trouble adjusting last season, but this year there still appears to be a divide. The Steelers are 28th in total offense, and 30th with 14 points a game after three weeks.
In the Monday night game against Chicago, the Steelers opened up the offense some, but eventually fell 40-23 behind 406 yards for two touchdowns and two interceptions by Roethlisberger. Receiver Antonio Brown had nine catches for 196 yards and those two scores, but the Pittsburgh running game failed to kickstart after the team went down 17-0 in the first quarter.
Rookie running back LeVeon Bell should give Pittsburgh a huge boost, making his debut after a foot injury kept him out the first three weeks of the season. He’ll also try to bust through one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines already reeling from the loss of Maurkice Pouncey.
The Vikings also hope to ride their running back, MVP Adrian Peterson, for their first victory after losing the first three matchups by an average of five points. Peterson had 88 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Christian Ponder rushed for two scores, but Minnesota fell to Cleveland 31-24. Among the top 10 rushers in the NFL, Peterson leads that bunch with two fumbles.
Minnesota’s secondary is now ranked 28th the league, allowing 315.7 passing yards per game.
Compounding their troubles, Ponder reportedly has a rib injury, and veteran Matt Cassel will start on Sunday. The 31-year-old was the primary passer in Kansas City for four years, and did lead them to the playoffs in 2010, but he’s failed to complete more than 59 percent of his passes since his breakout year of 2008 in New England.
The game starts at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by CBS, or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: Even
Over/Under: 42 points.
Prediction: Minnesota 27, Pittsburgh 17