Each week, the Steelers Now staff is picking each NFL game.
Alan Saunders: 68-35
Parker Hurley: 62-41
Mike Asti: 60-43
Ron Lippock: 59-44
Mike Asti: 11-3
Parker Hurley: 10-4
Ron Lippock: 10-4
Alan Saunders: 11-3
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings
Asti: Vikings. Cousins is rolling and the Redskins are bad and banged up. That’s a recipe for disaster for Washington.
Saunders: Vikings, by a lot.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Saunders: Seahawks, I guess. Not feeling confident in a 1 p.m. Eastern.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Saunders: Colts. Really can’t figure them out, but I guess I’ll start picking them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans
Asti: Bucs. My pick is mostly for my distain of the very average Titans.
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
Cincinnati Bengals vs Los Angeles Rams in London
Asti: Rams. The Bengals are a great opponent for a struggling that offense with tons of talent.
Saunders: Rams in a jolly old beat-down.
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills
Asti: Eagles. While the Eagles haven’t been all that impressive, the Bills have also yet to prove themselves.
Saunders: Bills? Eagles have been very unimpressive.
Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears
Asti: Bears. The Charges desperately need a win, but this Chicago defense salivates at the chance to feast on desperate teams.
Saunders: Bears defense might have to do it on their own, but I think they can.
New York Giants at Detroit Lions
Saunders: Lions are the far better team.
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars
Saunders: Jaguars and the ghost of Minshew Mania will be more than enough to handle the sad-sack Jets.
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
Saunders: 49ers might be the best team in the NFC.
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
Asti: Patriots. I guarantee it.
Saunders: Patriots, guaranteed.
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
Asti: Packers. Green Bay’s edge comes by being much healthier.
Saunders: Packers are in much better shape right now.
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers
Asti: Steelers. Pittsburgh couldn’t have asked for a better matchup coming out of the bye. The Steelers have their issues, aren’t healthy and are even dealing with drama, but the Dolphins are terrible in every aspect of the game. Nothing is a sure thing, but this is about as close as it gets. A Steelers loss and there’s no reason for fans to care about the rest of the season. Steelers, 30-10
Hurley: Steelers win but do not cover. We need to learn about who Mason Rudolph is in this game. With a bad pass rush and time off, Rudolph should have a big game. Steelers, 24-14
Lippock: Steelers over Miami – this will be closer than some think, but Pittsburgh still wins.
Saunders: Steelers. This is the rare game where the Dolphins actually have an incentive to win — or at least don’t have a disincentive to win — as they hold both teams’ first-round draft picks. So this one will just come down to talent, but the Steelers have more of that, too. Pittsburgh rolls, 35-17
NFL Insider John Clayton: Steelers Out of Running for J.J. Watt
One of the league’s most prominent insiders believes the Steelers are out of the running for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt.
Joining The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday, NFL insider John Clayton said Watt will not be joining his brothers T.J. and Derek in Pittsburgh.
Clayton sees the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills as the favorites to land Watt’s services.
For a potential dark horse, Clayton says the Las Vegas Raiders as an outside-the-box candidate to sign the veteran pass rusher.
.@JohnClaytonNFL says JJ Watt won't be coming to Pittsburgh. Tennessee, Green Bay, and Buffalo are the 3 teams. Raiders as a dark horse.— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) February 24, 2021
Watt leaves 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 in 2020.
NFL Hosting Women’s Careers in Football Forum
The NFL is hosting its fifth annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum from Feb. 24-25, the league announced in a press release Tuesday.
The event will be held virtually and “connect 40 women, 75% of whom are women of color, with leaders in professional football to help those women network and build relationships in the areas of coaching, scouting and football operations.”
Those participating in the event will join panel discussions, breakout sessions and have networking opportunities with industry leaders, such as head coaches and team executives. All portions of the event are aimed at building connections that will result in hirings and subsequent representation.
Since its inception in 2017, the two-day event has assisted in developing “a more diverse talent pipeline by connecting high-potential women to career opportunities in football.” According to the league, 118 opportunities for women in football have been created as a result.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and wife Jane Skinner Goodell will speak, as well as NFL Chief Football Administrative Officer Dawn Aponte. In addition, three owners, seven head coaches and six general managers will also join the conversation.
Sarah Thomas made history earlier this month becoming the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. The champion Tamp Bay Buccaneers also had a record number of women on their coaching staff this past season.
Report: 2021 NFL Salary Cap Expected at $182-183 Million
The 2021 NFL salary cap is expected to be around $182 or $183 million, according to a report by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
That is just slightly above the bare-minimum figure of $180 million agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA last week, and aligns with Steelers Now sources that predict the cap will fall between $180 and $185 million.
The Steelers are one of several teams that will be significantly over the salary cap, regardless of what figure is.
According to Pro Football Talk, those teams have been lobbying to increase the 2021 salary cap at the expense of future years to minimize the impact the pandemic has had on NFL operations.
Doing so would essentially amount to an interest-free loan given by the owners to the players, something that some owners have balked at.
That final figure could still be impacted by the league signing new television contracts for the 2022 season before the salary cap is finalized, which is expected some time in March.
The new league year starts on March 17, which is the day that all teams must be under the new salary cap.