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NFL Picks Week 9

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Each week, the Steelers Now staff is picking each NFL game.

STANDINGS

Alan Saunders: 81-37
Parker Hurley: 73-45
Mike Asti: 73-45
Ron Lippock: 72-46

LAST WEEK

Mike Asti: 13-2
Parker Hurley: 11-4
Ron Lippock: 13-2
Alan Saunders: 13-2

THURSDAY

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Asti: 49ers
Hurley: 49ers
Lippock: 49ers
Saunders: 49ers, but not to cover, and beware Thursday night weirdness here.

SUNDAY EARLY

Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars in London

Asti: Texans
Hurley: Jaguars
Lippock: Texans
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.
Hurley: Eagles
Lippock: Eagles
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.
Hurley: Jets
Lippock: Jets
Saunders: Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick is clearly the better quarterback.

Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs

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

Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers

Asti: Panthers
Hurley: Panthers
Lippock: Titans
Saunders: Panthers, I guess?

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills

Asti: Bills
Hurley: Bills
Lippock: Bills
Saunders: Bills are undefeated when playing teams that barely belong in the NFL, something they’ve done a ton this year.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks

Asti: Seahawks
Hurley: Buccaneers
Lippock: Seahawks
Saunders: Seahawks

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders

Asti: Lions. The Lions start their emergence.
Hurley: Lions
Lippock: Raiders
Saunders: Lions, though I’d feel better if this were in Detroit.

Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers

Asti: Packers
Hurley: Packers
Lippock: Packers
Saunders: Packers

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos

Asti: Browns. While Baker Mayfield and the Browns are falling apart, they just have to beat Denver.
Hurley: Browns
Lippock: Browns
Saunders: Broncos. I think things have totally gone off the rails in Cleveland.

SUNDAY NIGHT

New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens

Asti: Patriots
Hurley: 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.

MONDAY NIGHT

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

Asti: Cowboys
Hurley: Cowboys
Lippock: Cowboys
Saunders: Cowboys, but this would this would be a classic Cowboys game to lose and keep the division close.

NFL

Ryan Switzer Asks for Prayers for COVID-19 Positive Son

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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.

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.

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NFL

NFL Considering Making Roughing the Passer Reviewable

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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.

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NFL

NFL Insider John Clayton Predicts Steelers Could Cut Joe Haden, Vince Williams

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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.

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.

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