Each week, the Steelers Now staff is picking each NFL game.
Alan Saunders: 48-28
Parker Hurley: 47-29
Mike Asti: 43-33
Ron Lippock: 43-33
Mike Asti: 7-8
Parker Hurley: 10-5
Ron Lippock: 8-7
Alan Saunders: 7-8
New York Giants at New England Patriots
Asti: Patriots, although it would be semi funny if the Giants won based on the Super Bowl history.
Saunders: Patriots, but maybe Giants plus-17.
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London
Asti: Panthers. There’s no way Carolina can lose twice to Tampa, right? Allen might actually provide a situation with less possible mistakes.
Hurley: Panthers, Kyle Allen beats a team that Cam Newton lost to earlier this year
Saunders: Panthers. This pick is sure to be wrong as I climb onto the Kyle Allen bandwagon three weeks too late.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
Saunders: Chiefs in a close one.
Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns
Asti: Browns. As much as Cleveland isn’t close to as good as their hype said they would be, they aren’t as bad as they’ve seemed recently either. This is a very critical game for the Browns, who especially need to get OBJ going.
Hurley: Browns, every week America overreacts to the Browns. This week they bounceback
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars
Asti: Saints, despite Garner Mania
Hurley: Jaguars, Garnder Mania
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings
Asti: Eagles. Philadelphia is back on track and Minnesota has been up and down all year.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Asti: Rams. The 49ers are good, but the Rams are still the class of the NFC West, regardless what one bad game may say.
Saunders: 49ers defense is even better than the Rams is.
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
Asti: Falcons. Atlanta has too much talent to keep losing.
Hurley: Cardinals, Does Kyler Murray get Dan Quinn fired?
Saunders: Cardinals, I guess? Falcons have so much more talent. No idea why they’re 1-4.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets
Saunders: Cowboys by two dozen.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos
Saunders: Titans are the better team. Is there still much of a home field advantage in Denver? I’ll roll the dice with Mariota and company.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers
Asti: Mike Tomlin said it best, the Steeles are playing a Hall of Fame quarterback with their third string quarterback. While I do believe Devlin “Duck” Hodges will be just as effective as any available veteran would be, he’s still going to go through the usual rookie growing pains. It will be up to the Chargers to take advantage when those mistakes happen. Even though it hasn’t led to wins, Pittsburgh’s defense has got progressively better and TJ Watt is going to make life very difficult for Philip Rivers.
This is obviously a must win game for the Steelers, but Los Angeles can’t really afford a loss either, especially after suffering a defeat at the hands of the lowly Broncos last week. I’m a bit torn and could see this game going either way.
Steelers 23 Chargers 20
Hurley: The teams the Steelers lost to are 12-3 in other games, while the Chargers 3 losses are to teams that are combined 3-7-1 with wins against Miami and Indy in overtime. Since trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick the Steelers allow just 41% of passes to be successful and lead the league in TFL, while ranking second in QB hits and sacks. The Chargers offensive line has been a liability with Russell Okung out and Mike Pouncey leaving Sunday with an injury. The Chargers defense has allowed 54% of passes to be successful. The Steelers defense should keep them in it while the Chargers defense can blow a game. Add in a limited home field advantage and this game is screaming upset
Steelers 20 Chargers 17
Lippock: The Chargers have been a very mediocre team this season. They edged the Colts week one and blew out the Dolphins for their only two wins of the season so far – losing to the Lions, Texans, and Broncos. This is a very beatable team – bottom half of NFL on offense and while top 10 on defense, they played some pretty anemic offenses to date. The Chargers are one of those teams that, if healthy. the Steelers should handle.
But, the Steelers aren’t healthy – they are without too many offensive weapons. Down to their third-string quarterback, no Samuels, no Washington, and a banged-up McDonald. And on the road against a West Coast team, where they traditionally struggle. It’s just too much to expect that a third string rookie quarterback can carry this team to a victory under those circumstances – no matter his confidence level.
The defense will keep this one close – this isn’t the same defense that collapsed versus the Rivers-led offense last season. But ultimately I see Hodges making 1-2 errors – as one would expect with a rookie quarterback, starting for the first time, on the road against a good defense. And a frustratingly patient Rivers isn’t likely to reciprocate. Rivers will pick and choose his spots, and it will be just enough. Chargers 24, Steelers 16
Saunders: I have zero faith in the Chargers being able to put away an out-gunned opponent, but make no mistake, the Steelers are out-gunned. I love Devlin Hodges, but without Jaylen Samuels and James Washington, this is quickly becoming an offense devoid of weapons. I think the Steelers defense can keep it close, but that’s it.
Chargers 20, Steelers 14
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Asti: Packers. Even though the Lions are legit, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers own Detroit in big games.
Saunders: Packers don’t lose Monday night games to the Lions.
Around the NFL: Ravens Fall to Third Place with Overtime Loss
Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap early-week action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective.
AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEKEND
Tennessee Titans 30 Baltimore Ravens 24 (OT)
The Ravens have now lost three games on four weeks for the first time since 2018, thanks in large part to a walk-off touchdown by running back Derrick Henry in their overtime loss at home to the Titans on Sunday.
Henry is no stranger to walk-off, game-winning scores. He also recorded a five-yard touchdown in overtime of Week 6, and has become the first player with multiple overtime rushing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. Henry rushed for 133 yards and the scores, and now owns six 100-yard performances on the season.
Not to be out done, Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown caught four passes for 62 yards and score, on which he would not be denied as his team crawled back from an eleven-point deficit in the second half. Fellow wideout Corey Davis led the way with five receptions for 113.
AJ BROWN WILL NOT BE STOPPED!
— NFL (@NFL) November 22, 2020
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was average by his standards, passing for 186 yards with a touchdown and pick, while rushing for just 51 yards on the ground. Even though he failed to win the game for his club in overtime, it was the defense that did Baltimore in, as they were simply unable to stop Tennessee’s explosive offense from amassing 423 yards of total offense, their second-highest total allowed this season. Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins was a bright spot for the Ravens with 70 rushing yards and a score.
Currently outside the playoff picture if the season were to end today, Baltimore will attempt to improve their fortunes when the visit the undefeated Steelers on Thanksgiving night. Tennessee looks ahead to a massive AFC South clash with Indianapolis next Sunday.
Washington 20 Cincinnati Bengals 9
The Bengals lost more than just the football games Sunday, as they will now be without their superstar rookie Joe Burrow for the foreseeable future.
Already off to a tremendous start to his NFL career, Burrow was performing well against the league’s top pass defense when he suffered a gruesome left knee injury in the third quarter. Targeting wide receiver Tyler Boyd on a crucial third down, Burrow went down immediately after releasing the pass when Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen was blocked into his knee. The No. 1 overall pick was carted off the field, and diagnosed with a torn ACL hours later.
Burrow had passed for 203 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game. He entered the weekend having thrown for 2,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He was third in the league with 242 completions, connecting on 65.4% of his passes.
Players from both teams surround Joe Burrow before he got carted off 🙏
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2020
As for Washington, it was once again their young, offensive stars leading them to victory. Rookie running back Antonio Gibson rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown, while second-year wideout Terry McLaurin caught five balls for 84 yards on the afternoon. It was McLaurin’s eight game this season with at least five receptions and over 60 yards. Gibson now has eight rushing scores on the season and five over the last four games.
Cincinnati will now turn to 2019 fourth round selection Ryan Finley when they host the Giants next Sunday. Washington treks to Dallas for a Thanksgiving showdown.
Cleveland Browns 22 Philadelphia Eagles 17
After missing four games with a knee injury, Browns running back Nick Chubb has rushed for over 100 yards in consecutive weeks and led his team to another victory. Chubb racked up 114 yards on the ground, including a 54-yarder. He now has four games eclipsing the century mark this season. The one-time Pro Bowler added this vicious stiff arm for good measure.
Nick Chubb tossed that man 😳
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 22, 2020
Chubb’s return was perfect timing for the Cleveland offense, as their passing game has disappeared over the last four games. Since tossing for a career-high five touchdown passes against Cincinnati in Week 7, quarterback Baker Mayfield has now gone three games without a touchdown pass. Mayfield’s downturn lines up seamlessly with the absence of star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered a torn ACL in the win over the Bengals. The Browns will need to find a way to replace Beckham’s production and find consistency through the air soon, as they find themselves second in the AFC North standings.
Losing back-to-back games for the third separate time this season, Philadelphia’s issues were all to familiar Sunday, starting and ending with the inconsistent play of quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, but also tossed a pair of interceptions that proved costly for his Eagles. He now has 18 turnovers on the season. Wentz was also sacked five times Sunday (thrice by defensive end Olivier Vernon), and remains the most sacked quarterback in football at 40.
Cleveland earns a reprieve in another weak opponent next Sunday when they travel to Jacksonville. Philadelphia faces another tough test, as the host Seattle on Monday Night Football.
Indianapolis Colts 34 Green Bay Packers 31 (OT)
In a dual of prolific passers that took overtime to decide, it was quarterback Philip Rivers and the Colts that overcame a 14-point deficit to win their fourth in five games.
Rivers turned back the clock Sunday, completing 24 of 36 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. It was his third game this season with three touchdown passes after having just two all of last year in Los Angeles. Rivers left the game temporarily with a leg injury, but heroically returned to lead the Colts on their game-winning field goal drive,
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was pretty strong in his own right Sunday, recording his 70th career regular season game with at least three passing touchdowns. Facing a Colts defense that entered Sunday leading the league in total defense and having allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes, Rodgers threw for 311 yards and three scores. He was picked off once by Indianapolis cornerback Rock Ya-Sin.
Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams continued his run of dominance as well in the losing effort, catching seven passes for 106 yards and a scores. Adams is the fourth player in NFL history with at least seven receptions and a touchdown catch in five consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter (1999), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (2007) and Adam Thielen (2018).
Although the Packers won the overtime coin toss and looked poised to win the game, it was a massive play by safety Julian Blackmon that turned the tide for the Colts. With Green Bay driving, the rookie out of Utah forced a key fumble on wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling to set the table for Rivers. Already having a great season replacing the injured Malik Hooker, Blackmon’s big play has solidified his candidacy for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Julian Blackmon's forced fumble helps seal the Colts' OT win over the Packers 💪
— The Athletic NFL (@TheAthleticNFL) November 23, 2020
The Colts will begin a stretch of three divisional games in four weeks when they host the Titans next weekend. The Packers will look to bounce back versus the Bears on Sunday Night Football.
REST OF THE SCHEDULE
- Seattle Seahawks 28 Arizona Cardinals 21
- New Orleans Saints 24 Atlanta Falcons 9
- Carolina Panthers 20 Detroit Lions 0
- Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 3
- Houston Texans 27 New England Patriots 20
- Denver Broncos 20 Miami Dolphins 13
- Los Angeles Chargers 34 New York Jets 28
- Dallas Cowboys 31 Minnesota Vikings 28
- Kansas City Chiefs 35 Las Vegas Raiders 31
- Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Around the NFL: Bengals’ Joe Burrow Carted Off After Scary Knee Injury
One of the NFL’s brightest young stars could be missing extended time following a horrific injury Sunday.
Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow was carted off the field in the third quarter of the Bengals’ game at Washington on Sunday after taking a brutal hit to his left knee.
Looking for wide receiver Tyler Boyd on a critical third down pass, went down immediately after releasing the pass when Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen fell into his knee.
While the severity of Burrow’s injury was not immediately known, Cincinnati quickly ruled him out for the remainder of today’s game as expected.
Injury Update: Joe Burrow has been declared out with a left knee injury.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 22, 2020
Burrow had thrown for 203 yards and a touchdown on the day before exiting the game.
Selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU, Burrow entered Sunday having thrown for 2,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He was third in the league with 242 completions, connecting on 65.4% of his passes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will visit the Bengals on Monday Night Football on Dec. 21.
Report: Chiefs Sign G Stefan Wisniewski
The Chiefs are expected to sign veteran G Stefan Wisniewski to the practice squad, according to Yahoo Sports. It’s possible he will start out there before eventually being promoted to the active roster for the postseason.
The Chiefs are expected to sign G Stefan Wisniewski to the practice squad, a source tells @YahooSports. He’ll start out there and likely be promoted to the active roster for the stretch run.
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) November 21, 2020
This comes only two weeks after Wisniewkski’s Pittsburgh homecoming was cut short after he was released by the Steelers. Wisniewkski, who played at Penn State and Central Catholic, signed with the Steelers in the offseason following winning his second career Super Bowl title in 2019 with the Chiefs. He was also a member of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles team that followed that regular season with the franchises first Super Bowl championship during the corresponding postseason.
The 31-year-old guard and center was never able to impact the Steelers on the field, the team he grew up rooting for as a kid, because he spent the first 6 weeks of this 2020 season on injured reserve.