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NFL Picks Week 11

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NFL

Each week, the Steelers Now staff picks each NFL game.

STANDINGS

Alan Saunders: 97-48
Mike Asti: 87-58
Parker Hurley: 87-58
Ron Lippock: 86-59

LAST WEEK

Mike Asti: 5-8
Parker Hurley: 7-6
Ron Lippock: 5-8
Alan Saunders: 5-8

SUNDAY EARLY

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

Asti: Panthers
Hurley: Panthers
Lippock: Panthers
Saunders: Panthers. Couple of teams I can’t figure out. Spinning the wheel.

Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions

Asti: Cowboys
Hurley: Cowboys
Lippock: Cowboys
Saunders: Cowboys. No Matt Stafford? No win.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Asti: Colts
Hurley: Colts
Lippock: Colts
Saunders: Colts with a healthy Jacoby Brissett.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

Asti: Texans in a shootout and game of the day.
Hurley: Texans
Lippock: Texans over the Ravens in an upset. I like this Texan offense – and it matches up well with this Ravens defense. This will be a track meet and I think the Ravens won’t be able to keep up.
Saunders: Ravens, but don’t be surprised if this comes down to the wire.

Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings

Asti: Vikings
Hurley: Vikings
Lippock: Vikings
Saunders: Vikings

New York Jets at Washington Redskins

Asti: Jets
Hurley: Jets
Lippock: Jets
Saunders: Redskins behind Duane Haskins, forcing all Redskins fans to wonder what had happened if he’d started the season.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Asti: Saints
Hurley: Saints
Lippock: Saints
Saunders: Saints can’t lose two gimmes in a row, can they?

SUNDAY LATE

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Asti: 49ers
Hurley: 49ers
Lippock: 49ers
Saunders: 49ers

Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders

Asti: Raiders
Hurley: Raiders
Lippock: Raiders
Saunders: Raiders

New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

Asti: Patriots
Hurley: Eagles
Lippock: Patriots. If I had more guts I’d pick the Eagles over the Patriots. But they Eagles’ defense rush isn’t what it used to be.
Saunders: Patriots in a bounce-back win.

SUNDAY NIGHT

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams

Asti: Rams
Hurley: Rams
Lippock: Bears
Saunders: Rams in a squeaker.

MONDAY NIGHT

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

Asti: Chiefs
Hurley: Chiefs
Lippock: Chiefs
Saunders: Chiefs, I guess? Not exactly exuding confidence as of late.

THURSDAY NIGHT

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Asti: Steelers, 23-16.

I actually think the game may even be closer than my score perfection indicates. While Cleveland has struggled, they are coming off a huge win. Even though Baker Mayfield has been more careful with the football lately and Pittsburgh can’t rely on always getting turnovers, it feels they will make one (or two or three) will happen in this game. I also expect Rudolph to play well enough to win again. He was making quicker decisions with the ball last week, and if that continues, the Steelers offense will only get better, especially IF it can mustard some semblance of a running game.

Hurley: Browns, 21-20.

For the second straight week I will call for Pittsburgh to cover the spread but lose in a close one. That prediction worked out for the Steelers last week. The addition of Kareem Hunt has helped the Browns run more misdirection. The Steelers defense went wire-to-wire with two good offenses in Indy and LA. On a short week, if Mason Rudolph does not put up points and avoid turnovers, the defense may not have enough gas to score a TD this week.

Lippock: Steelers, 23-20

This will be a close, see-saw battle. Cleveland has gotten a bit more conservative as of late, relying more on the running game and trying to minimize Baker’s mistakes.

Baker has not thrown an interception over the last two games. He’s due. I think this will be a game of chicken between these coaches to see who makes the most mistakes. I think Baker will make one too many.

Saunders: Steelers 28-13

Baker Mayfield has thrown 12 interceptions this season. He’ll throw two more and set the Steelers’ offense with a couple of short fields.

Pittsburgh's newest source for Steelers news, analysis and insights. Part of the Pittsburgh Sports Now Network.

NFL

Ravens Will Defer 2020 Season Tickets To 2021

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The Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday they will defer 2020 season tickets until 2021.

Single-game ticket sales for the 2020 season will also be discontinued, with refunds being issued to fans that have already bought them, the team said in a press release.

Still, the Ravens are holding out hope that fans will be allowed in stadiums this season, albeit in a limited capacity, with an expectation of less than 14,000 seat available. Baltimore added that attendance by fans and overall volume will be determined by “social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols developed by health experts, governmental officials and the NFL.”

“To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary,” stated Ravens president Dick Cass. “We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible.”

While the Ravens appear to be lacking optimism regarding fan attendance in 2020, the also said they would resume selling tickets if the NFL releases a seating manifest that allows for fans come the fall.

“With over 62,000 season tickets already sold, there is no equitable way to accommodate in a limited stadium capacity all PSL Owners who are interested in maintaining season tickets for 2020,” stated senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman. “Under these unusual circumstances, it’s best to simplify the ticket sales process and allow fans to decide which games they want to attend, while giving our PSL Owners priority in accessing tickets.”

The NFL has not made any definitive decision regarding empty stadiums, but the Ravens seem to be the first organization to take a proactive approach fearing the worst.

Pittsburgh is still selling single game tickets, but in a limited capacity in anticipation of social distancing guidelines. The team also has a disclaimer on their website warning buyers of potential rescheduling or postponement of games, stating full refunds will be available for games that are not played.

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NFL

James Conner Surprises Mom with New House

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner warmed hearts last month when he surprised his father with a new truck.

Now, he is taking care of mom.

Conner recently surprised his mother with a brand new house, sharing her emotional reaction to Twitter on Saturday.

Conner was able to pull off the surprise for his mother, Kelly Bibbs, with the help of his brothers. While Bibbs may have not realized what exactly was going on at first, seeing her son James and the golden balloons arranged to say “Welcome Home” quickly gave it away.

Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry shared their thoughts on the big surprise, among other on social media.

Conner’s gesture is a continuation of an offseason of giving that saw him gift his father a brand new truck back on June 6.

Entering his fourth season out of Pitt, Conner is looking for a bounce back season following an injury plagued 2019 campaign. He rushed for 464 yards and four touchdowns, but played in only ten games for the Steelers.

Last season was a far cry from 2018, when Conner was a breakout sensation replacing Le’Veon Bell. He ran for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl honors.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 25-year-old has something to prove in 2020.

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Report: NFL Teams Could Trim Training Camp Rosters More Than 13%

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NFL teams are reportedly considering bringing fewer players than normal to training camp this year in an effort to combat COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Instead of bringing the regular 90 players, Schefter’s sources say teams could bring just 80, or even 75 players to camp this August.

While it appears teams have the right idea in mind by trying to minimize the risk of COVID-19, shrinking training camp rosters will limit opportunities for fringe players attempting to find a landing spot.

Still, smaller rosters will allow for proposed social distancing in training camp in compliance with the league’s protocols announced last month. There are also plans to expand practice squad rosters to handle the likely inactives that will arise from positive tests, which will return roster slots to those barred from camp.

In another move to combat the coronavirus, several reports indicate the league is slashing the 2020 preseason in half. Each team will play their Week 2 and 3 exhibition games, but Weeks and 4 will be canceled. The Hall of Fame game between the Steelers and Cowboys has already been called off.

These last two moves by the league are the first two instances of the NFL bending to the virus. The league had previously held the NFL Draft and free agency on time unimpeded, and is currently still planning on having fans in attendance this season, although that seems like a long-shot currently.

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