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With Steelers, Patriots injuries on offense, bet on a low-scoring affair in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh and New England both face injuries to key offensive stars after subpar Week 1 showings.

Action Network Use Only - New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) faces a tough task against an opportunistic Pittsburgh Steelers defense on Sunday. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images/TNS)
Action Network Use Only - New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) faces a tough task against an opportunistic Pittsburgh Steelers defense on Sunday. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images/TNS)Read moreTimothy T Ludwig / MCT

As if there weren’t already enough concerns for the Patriots and Steelers after troubling Week 1 efforts, both teams enter this week with injuries to key stars that could loom large over Sunday’s matchup.

New England appears to be in a better spot as a short road favorite at BetMGM, though neither team is well-suited to put up points in what should be one of the lowest-scoring games of the weekend.

Here’s how we’re betting Sunday’s contest, which kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Steelers vs. Patriots odds (via BetMGM)

Patriots -2 (-110), moneyline -135

Steelers +2 (-110), moneyline +110

O/U 40.5 (-110)

Steelers vs. Patriots prediction: Analysis

Only one game on the Week 2 schedule boasts a lower total than this contest, which pits two of the more challenged offenses in the league coming off less-than-inspired efforts in their season debuts.

The Steelers are technically 1-0, but it sure doesn’t feel like it after one of the most bizarre games you’ll ever see. Pittsburgh’s defense finished with five takeaways, seven sacks and a defensive score in last week’s overtime win over the Bengals, but this offense managed just one offensive touchdown and 267 total yards across 70 minutes.

New starter Mitch Trubisky (21-of-38, 194 yards) looked just like what we remembered from his days in Chicago – a game-manager with the arm to make key throws late but without the instincts to carry that across four (or five) quarters. He didn’t get much help from workhorse back Najee Harris (foot), who suffered a new injury in addition to the Lisfranc sprain that plagued him in training camp.

If that sounds like a recipe for lousy offense, get a taste of these Patriots, who scored their fewest points in a season opener (7) since the 2003 season, when Tom Brady had just one Pro Bowl to his name. Things aren’t looking much better ahead of Week 2, as starter Mac Jones (back) is battling injury and illness after a ho-hum performance in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins.

» READ MORE: Can Tom Brady snap winless streak vs. division rival Saints?

Even a healthy Jones would be hard-pressed to lead this offense to high scoring totals given the lack of skill-position talent around him. The Patriots’ two leading receivers from last week, Jakobi Meyers (55 yards) and Kendrick Bourne (41), are both former undrafted free agents. Tight ends Jonnu Smith (33) and Hunter Henry (20), whom this team shelled out big bucks for a year ago, have a combined four 50-yard games between them since the start of last season.

This simply doesn’t look like the same offense that ranked sixth in scoring (27.2 PPG) in 2021, when Josh McDaniels was still the offensive coordinator. And the Steelers’ offense doesn’t look any better than it did a year ago, either. It all adds up to a juicy play on the under in a matchup that’s light on elite offensive playmakers.

Steelers vs. Patriots pick

Under 40.5 (-110 BetMGM)

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