Each week, the Steelers Now staff is picking each NFL game. For Week 5, they’ll go up against some special guest pickers.
Joining us this week in picking each NFL game is former Steelers kicker Jeff Reed. See how the guys stack up to a Steelers great. Think you can do better? Prove it in the comments.
Alan Saunders: 41-20
Parker Hurley: 37-24
Mike Asti: 36-25
Ron Lippock: 35-26
Mike Asti: 7-7
Parker Hurley: 8-6
Ron Lippock: 7-7
Alan Saunders: 10-4
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Asti: Rams. Maybe last week exposed the Rams, but I’m banking on it being more of an aberration.
Hurley: Seahawks, Russ Wilson in primetime in front of the 12th man feels safe.
Lippock: Seahawks, 20-17
Saunders: Rams. Just closing my eyes and pretending last week didn’t happen.
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals
Saunders: Bengals, I guess. Someone gets to go winless in five games as a rookie head coach.
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
Asti: Bills. I’m not drinking the Bills Kool-Aid as much as some people, but they’re still better than the Titans.
Hurley: Titans, just because they are at home
Saunders: Bills impressed in a loss against New England last week.
Chicago Bears vs Oakland Raiders in London
Asti: Bears. The Raiders won’t be able to get much going against the Bears defense.
Hurley: Bears, as Khalil Mack gets revenge on his old team
Saunders: Bears’ better defense should give them advantage in always-wonky game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Hurley: Bucs, Bruce Arians is starting to tame Jameis Winston and good things may come.
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
WILLIE PARKER:James Conner and Jay Samuels will play a huge role this week. Ravens defense is having trouble stopping the run! I’m looking for the Steelers to test that area out early in the ball game! Our defensive front will have to get hits on Lamar Jackson early!! Ravens last game LJ didn’t look like the QB from previous weeks! Devin Bush and the Steelers LB corps and secondary have to play smart!! If the Steelers can get a block punt or huge play from special teams My prediction goes from 20-17 to the Steelers winning by 10!!”
Asti: The outcome of this game basically decides if the Steelers season is over or they actually have a shot at contending. But one impressive showing against Cincinnati doesn’t really equate to confidence in beating a now pretty balanced Ravens team, especially one that’s hungry coming off a loss. Conventional wisdom tells me Baltimore wins, but I actually think Pittsburgh pulls it out somehow to stay alive and keep the division race interesting.
Steelers 26, Ravens 20
Hurley: We think the defense made a statement on Monday that with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush in the mix. Now, they get a dynamic Ravens offense coming off of two losses. This is a big game for Bush as a spy on Jackson and with Joe Haden following Hollywood Brown, the defense wins the Steelers another division battle and makes that AFC North even tighter.
Steelers 24, Ravens 17
Lippock: The Steelers offense was innovative – a transformation last week versus the Bengals. Unfortunately, the Ravens, despite a poor showing versus the Browns, are a much superior defense – and offense – than the Bengals. This is going to put more pressure on the Steelers offense and defense.
Baltimore will move the ball and score points. The conservative offensive approach Pittsburgh has utilized won’t work this week. The concern is that the Steelers will stick to conservative offense until it falls too far behind, putting Rudolph in a tough spot, coming from behind versus Baltimore’s defense.
Ravens 23, Steelers 13
Saunders: Steelers have little reason to feel good about this game. They haven’t seen much of Lamar Jackson and their offense has plenty of issues. But the Ravens lost a winnable game against the Browns last week, giving the Steelers (and me) hope.
Steelers 20, Ravens 17
New England Patriots at Washington Redskins
Hurley: Patriots, they get Jay Gruden fired.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers
Asti: Panthers. This game may be the most boring game all week.
Hurley: Panthers, McCaffrey is a valuable weapon
Saunders: Jaguars. I will not lose to Kyle Allen three week in a row. I will not lose to Kyle Allen three week in a row. I will not lose to Kyle Allen three week in a row.
Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Hurley: Broncos, the bleeding has to stop eventually
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers
Asti: Browns. This will be a battle of defense, and while the 49ers defense could easily cause Mayfield to make mistakes that cost his team the game, Cleveland could force turnovers too. This game may look similar to the Steelers-49ers affair.
Lippock: The 49ers’ run defense has been top 5 in 2019 and this will be a difficult issue for the Browns to overcome. Once the Browns’ offense is turned one-dimensional, Mayfield makes mistakes. And the 49ers are very opportunistic on pass defense. Expect a number of long yardage situations for the Browns’ offense and mistakes by Mayfield that are the difference in this game.
49ers 27, Browns 20
NFL Considering Making Roughing the Passer Reviewable
The NFL is considering making roughing the passer calls subject to replay review, according to NFL.com’s Judy Battista.
Battista reports that owners are expected to vote on the potential rule change at the annual league meetings later this month.
There is no denying that roughing the passer calls have become increasingly questionable over recent years, as the league continues to emphasize the protection of its most valuable assets – the quarterbacks.
Still, the concept does conjure painful memories of 2019, when the league tried reviewing pass interference calls. The experiment proved to be an unmitigated disaster, and was scrapped after a single season.
While the new role could remedy some of the infuriating calls the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been levied with in recent year, the chance could also open up an unintended can of worms.
Reviewing roughing the passer calls is not the only potential rule change the owner will reportedly consider.
According to Battista, owners will also discuss switching overtime back to sudden death, creating an alternative to the onside kick and voting on a rule reportedly proposed by the Buffalo Bills to delay coaching and general manager interviews until the conference championship round.
NFL Insider John Clayton Predicts Steelers Could Cut Joe Haden, Vince Williams
John Clayton, one of the longest tenured NFL Insiders, offered a prediction on how the Steelers will handle their roster in the coming weeks during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
When referring to player cuts around the NFL, Clayton said he expects many notable players to be released by their current teams. Clayton proclaimed “it will be a bloodbath around the league” and that could include a couple key veterans being handed their walking papers by the Steelers.
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) March 3, 2021
Joe Haden and Vince Williams could both be forced to find new teams as soon as next week, according to Clayton. Haden has spent the past 4 seasons in Pittsburgh after spending his first 7 years with the Browns. Williams has played his entire 8-year NFL career with the Steelers after being drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
J.J. Watt Explains Cardinals Signing on Adam Schefter’s Podcast
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt joined The Adam Schefter Podcast on to discuss his decision to sign with the NFC West’s Arizona Cardinals.
While he had numerous suitors across the league, Watt says he was drawn to Arizona by the promise of young quarterback Kyler Murray and his familiarity with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
“All the signs pointed there,” Watt said. “There’s a ton of exciting young talent here. In this league you need a quarterback to have a chance, and they’ve got a very talented young quarterback, who can continue to take the next step. Defense, I’m very familiar with Vance Joseph, who was with me down in Houston with Wade Philips early in my career.”
Watt believes the Cardinals are a team on the cusp of greatness, and that he is the piece to finally put them over the top.
“I think it’s just a team ready to grow and take that next step,” Watt added. “You look at the last three years, they’ve continued to increase win totals every year and are on that trajectory. And I’m looking to help fast track that trajectory.”
Schefter also asked Watt if it was ever realistic he would join his brothers T.J. and Derek with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The star defensive end demonstrated his elusiveness, avoiding addressing the idea head on.
“There was a lot of thought given to every single scenario,” he said. “So we could really sit down and look through all the options and speak with all the teams and gather all the information we possibly could. And there were definitely a lot of great options, there were a lot of opportunities to play. But at the end of the day, I’m very, very excited to be here in Arizona.”
The Cardinals now boast one of the league’s top pass-rushing tandems, pairing Watt alongside elite edge rusher Chandler Jones, who has 97 career sacks.
Arizona had the fourth-most sacks in football last season before Watt’s arrival with 48.
Watt exits Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).
Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown last season.