Each week, the Steelers Now staff is picking each NFL game.
Alan Saunders: 81-37
Parker Hurley: 73-45
Mike Asti: 73-45
Ron Lippock: 72-46
Mike Asti: 13-2
Parker Hurley: 11-4
Ron Lippock: 13-2
Alan Saunders: 13-2
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Saunders: 49ers, but not to cover, and beware Thursday night weirdness here.
Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars in London
Saunders: Jaguars, I guess? Texans are a talented team, but have led me astray many times this year.
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
Asti: Eagles. The Bears were even lucky to beat the Chargers and Philadelphia has found their stride enough for this game.
Saunders: Eagles, even if their offense might struggle.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Asti: Steelers. This is a pretty even matchup. Both teams have been starting a backup quarterback and are ranked near each other in most categories. It took Rudolph and the Steelers a half to get going against Miami, which can be a reason for concern, but it’s also possible they finally figured out how to utilize Rudolph and this offense, especially with Johnson seeming to fill that number two receiver option that has been a big issue most of the season. Steelers 26, Colts 20.
Hurley: Steelers. The Colts have a good offense and good defense but the Steelers have a potentially great defense. Against a great OC and a backup QB we will finally get to see just how special this defense can be. As the offense settles in with Mason Rudolph if they can take care of the ball, they can put the game in the hands of their defense who could show up in a big way once again at home. Steelers 20, Colts 17.
Lippock: Steelers. Talk about two evenly matched teams. Both rank near each other in offense and defense – almost carbon copies – and both playing with backup quarterbacks.
The biggest differences are home field advantage for the Steelers and the fact the Steelers are much better at forcing turnovers. Om the backs of those two facts, I give this one to the Steelers, 23-20.
Saunders: Steelers. I think the Steelers have been fine, but I’m really basing this pick on my feelings about the Colts, which have an entirely unimpressive collection of skill players. Turnovers will be the key in this one. Colts have been stingy, but won’t be able to handle the Pittsburgh pressure off the edge. Pittsburgh, 28-20.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Asti: Jets. I can’t pick the Dolphins and if the Jets don’t win this they may not win another game.
Saunders: Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick is clearly the better quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers
Saunders: Panthers, I guess?
Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills
Saunders: Bills are undefeated when playing teams that barely belong in the NFL, something they’ve done a ton this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
Asti: Lions. The Lions start their emergence.
Saunders: Lions, though I’d feel better if this were in Detroit.
Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
Asti: Browns. While Baker Mayfield and the Browns are falling apart, they just have to beat Denver.
Saunders: Broncos. I think things have totally gone off the rails in Cleveland.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Lippock: Patriots, 30-20
Saunders: Ravens, because Lamar Jackson really is that dude, and I’m not going to pick the Pats every week.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Saunders: Cowboys, but this would this would be a classic Cowboys game to lose and keep the division close.
Ryan Switzer Asks for Prayers for COVID-19 Positive Son
Former Steelers receiver Ryan Switzer asked for prayers for his 9-month-old son Christian Saturday morning. Switzer’s son has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.
I’m asking everyone that this tweet comes across to please just take a second and say a prayer for our son Christian. He’s 9 months and currently in the hospital after he woke up in his blood. He’s Covid positive.
— Ryan Switzer (@Switz) March 6, 2021
In Switzer’s tweet, he asked everyone to say a prayer for the little guy. Thousands of fans have interacted with the tweet, with many voicing their prayers and well wishes.
The 26-year-old receiver signed a 1-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in January after spending time on their practice squad last season. Switzer was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He then spent both 2018 and 2019 in Pittsburgh before being released by the Steelers before the 2020 season.
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.