Sunday Night Football Predictions: Over for ‘Big Ben’

Sunday Night Football normally has America sitting down to watch the game of the week in the biggest pro sports league of all, and we have more predictions for you as ever on Super Wild Card Weekend.

It is no wonder then that NFL betting pulls in huge interest for the weekly primetime matchup. The first few weeks of the season are booked in advance, but then as we close in on playoff time the flex schedule means broadcasters can choose the game they want just a few days out.

It all makes for terrific viewing, and this week we have a terrific extra treat for SNF fans with a playoff game televised nationally in primetime. That expanded format is perfect – just hook up the huge TV, buy in the pizza and enjoy.

We are coming off yet another successful weekend (we took Vegas over the Chargers last weekend) so let’s get into it.

Wild Card Weekend Predictions & Best Bets

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday January 9, 8.20pm ET, NBC)

This Wild Card matchup on Sunday Night Football will be momentous for one of two reasons. Either it is Ben Roethlisberger’s ‘Last Dance’ in the NFL, or one of the great upsets in playoff history.

Kansas City, currently second favorite to win Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium next month, is a 12.5-point favorite for a reason heading into this matchup at Arrowhead.

The Chiefs enter the postseason after winning eight of their last nine games to win the AFC West and clinch the #2 seed in the AFC. Those early-season wobbles and a 3-4 start are pretty much forgotten. Replaced by a terrific win streak and a defense which has gone from horrific to excellent.

It’s quite the transition for KC in 2021 – this is not the Chiefs we remember from previous years. Patrick Mahomes and that high-powered offense are still capable of fireworks, but that is not the lock it was in the past.

Instead it is that much-improved defense which has helped KC just about run the table in the second half of the season to guarantee a postseason berth.

Pittsburgh meanwhile has somehow managed to get into the playoff tournament despite the aforementioned Roethlisberger clearly being right at the end of his NFL career. He still manages to move the ball when it really matters – normally in the fourth quarter – but the physical tools are so diminished it’s sad to see. The legs won’t let him evade the rush, and the arm no longer has the pop to make all the throws.

Add in a struggling offensive line which adds to the problems for ‘Big Ben’ and also hampers talented rookie RB Najee Harris and it’s tough to see how the Steelers progress from here.

Even with sack machine T.J. Watt terrorizing offenses and HC Mike Tomlin again having a stellar year in squeezing every drop out of what he has, it’s tough to see Pittsburgh progressing here.

These two teams remember met just three weeks ago, again at Arrowhead, when Kansas City dished out a brutal 36-10 beating – it wasn’t even as close as the final suggests.

The Chiefs routed Pittsburgh that day despite not having the COVID-affected Travis Kelce, and with Tyreek Hill a virtual non-factor. Hill is still hobbled by a heel injury though he is expected to suit up Sunday night.

We expect this game to be another convincing win for KC, but we don’t expect a crazy pointsfest. Instead Mahomes and co will do just enough while that Chiefs defense again makes it a long day for ‘Big Ben’ and his supporting cast. With that in mind, we are taking the Under on Total Points with the line currently set at 46.5.

Our second wager is an interesting one. If you take the Chiefs to cover the spread at -12.5 you are likely taking odds at around the -110 mark. We have a better way though…

DraftKings currently offer +170 that Kansas City wins by 13+ points – which is effectively the same thing as covering the spread. So take this bet instead, and the better odds which come with it.

Enjoy the game and good luck with your bets!

OddsCritic Sunday Night Football Predictions

  • Pittsburgh @ Kansas City to be Under 46.5 Total Points at -109 (Unibet, SugarHouse)
  • Kansas City to beat Pittsburgh by 13+ points at +170 (DraftKings)

NB: Odds correct and updated on January 13, 2021

Sunday Night Football Bet Offers

There are of course a ton of offers around on a general NFL level with sportsbooks looking to sign up new customers.

We like the BetMGM offer for new players which says if you bet $10 and your team scores a TD, you win $200.

Sunday Night Football Schedule

Week 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-29 Dallas Cowboys (September 9)

Week 1: Los Angeles Rams 34-14 Chicago Bears (September 12)

Week 2: Baltimore Ravens 36-35 Kansas City Chiefs (September 19)

Week 3: San Francisco 49ers 28-30 Green Bay Packers (September 26)

Week 4: New England Patriots 17-19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (October 3)

Week 5: Kansas City Chiefs 20-38 Buffalo Bills (October 10)

Week 6: Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 Seattle Seahawks (October 17)

Week 7: San Francisco 49ers 18-30 Indianapolis Colts (October 24)

Week 8: Minnesota Vikings 16-20 Dallas Cowboys (October 31)

Week 9: Los Angeles Rams 16-28 Tennessee Titans (November 7)

Week 10: Las Vegas Raiders 14-41 Kansas City Chiefs (November 14)

Week 11: Los Angeles Chargers 41-37 Pittsburgh Steelers (November 21)

Week 12: New Orleans Saints 6-31 Buffalo Bills (Thanksgiving, November 25)

Week 12: Baltimore Ravens 16-10 Cleveland Browns (November 28)

Week 13: Kansas City Chiefs 22-9 Denver Broncos (December 5)

Week 14: Green Bay Packers 45-30 Chicago Bears (December 12)

Week 15: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-9 New Orleans Saints (December 19)

Week 16: Dallas Cowboys 56-14 Washington Football Team (December 26)

Week 17: Green Bay Packers 37-10 Minnesota Vikings (January 2)

Wild Card Weekend: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs (January 16)

When does Sunday Night Football kick off?

Normally at the same time people – 8.20pm Eastern Time (5.20pm Pacific) but the Steelers vs Chiefs game has an 8.15pm start. But not always on a Sunday – as you can see the rights package includes a Thursday night opener in Week 1 and a night game on Thanksgiving.

Also worth remembering that flex schedule situation as we get further into the season. It allows the broadcaster to flex (change) two games between Weeks 5-10, and then all of Weeks 11-18 can be flexed. So after Week 4, absolutely nothing is set in stone…

Which TV channel shows Sunday Night Football?

Sunday Night Football has been a primetime mainstay on NBC since 2006 with marquee announcing team Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in the booth. It’s even bigger now than Monday Night Football.

NBC pays huge bucks for the privilege of airing the games – its current deal nets out at $950million, but the new pact announced in 2021 has an 80 percent increase up to $1.71billion. Nobody can make money like the NFL…

The reason NBC pays all that cash? Guaranteed audience. The average for a Sunday Night Football game is a viewership of more than 17.4million across linear and streaming channels.

As well as watching Sunday Night Football on linear NBC, you can also catch it on Peacock, the NBC Sports app and on the likes of Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. A ton of viewing options.