The Pittsburgh Steelers will cap off their short week on a Thanksgiving edition of Thursday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts tomorrow night. While Thursday Night Football has received its criticism over the years for lack of practice time, unfair recovery times between games and for lackluster actions, the Steelers will have to endure this in order to keep pace in the AFC North. Using both Thursday Night trends from this season and Tomlin’s own Thursday Night résumé, an early prediction can be established on what to expect to see Thanksgiving night.
Comparing all the games this season to the Thursday Night Football games could give us an initial outlook on if there are any notable differences.
The results of this analysis show a few notable items worthy of being marked down. Both sides are roughly averaging 22 points per game with a slight decrease in total yards and passing yards. The most eye-catching trend although, is the domination by the home team on Thursday Night Football which is a concern for the travelling Steelers.
Home teams have won 8 of 11 Thursday Night contests this year and are averaging 25.8 points per game. Road teams who must endure a short week and travel are averaging just 19 points a game, a difference of about a touchdown. This does not bode well with the Steelers’ own Thursday Night track record.
Tomlin and the Steelers have lost their last four Thursday Night contests and have not won a road Thursday Night game since 2007 which was against the now relocated St. Louis Rams. Tomlin’s Steelers carry a 1-4 record and average 19.2 points per game as the road team on Thursday Night but this number also includes the 41-24 drubbing of the Rams in 2007. Excluding the Rams game, the Steelers are averaging a mediocre 13.8 points per game as the road team on Thursday Nights. Thankfully, despite their road woes, the Steelers may have a tad of luck blowing in their favor for this Thursday’s matchup.
That luck comes at the expense of the Colt’s own luck, as in quarterback Andrew Luck, who is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol and looks unlikely to play Thursday Night. Instead the Colts may start back up Scott Tolzien who has five interceptions in two career starts.
Road teams do not win often on Thursday Night Football but they often do not go up against Scott Tolzien at quarterback. With the possible help of Tolzien, the Steelers will look to buck the trend and become the 4th road team to win a Thursday night game this year.