The Pittsburgh Steelers will wrap their three-game homestand with a chance to go 2-1 when they host the Green Bay Packers at Acrisure Stadium on Sunday, and it appears to be an approachable matchup.
KEY TO VICTORY: Find first-quarter offense
The Steelers have been a fourth-quarter offense for much of the 2023 season, finding scoring drives when they need to, but have been unable to get things going earlier than that.
They did that last week, scoring on their first drive against the Tennessee Titans — another team that would much rather run the ball and control the clock than play from behind. That recipe would go along way this week, with Jordan Love and the Packers passing offense moving the ball at times, but turning it over far too much. If they make Love play from behind for most of the game, he’ll give them the ball.
OVERLOOKED MATCHUP: Jayden Reed vs. Steelers slot corners
The bigger named wide receivers for the Packers are Christian Watson, the second-year former North Dakota State receiver with an insane size/speed combo and physical combat catch specialist Romeo Doubs. But Jayden Reed, the rookie from Michigan State, is really the guy that could hurt the Steelers, who will be without their top slot cover man in Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Patrick Peterson will probably play in the slot some, as well as Keanu Neal and Chandon Sullivan, but none of those feel like strong man-to-man options against the shifty and sure-handed Reed.
BOLD PREDICTION: Najee breaks free
The Packers are banged up on defense, with linebacker Quay Walker and cornerback Jaire Alexander both out. Alexander’s absence should make the Packers play more zone on the back end, and Walker is their most athletic linebacker. That might finally make for some lighter boxes for the Steelers to run against, and they’ve been trending nicely with some power runs against light boxes. That’s a recipe for a big Najee Harris game. Playing with a lead would help, too.
Steelers 27, Packers 13
Last week: Steelers 23-17 (W)
Steelers -3 (-120)
Over 38.5 (-110)
T.J. Watt over 2.5 (+135)
Last week: 1-2 (W Steelers -3, Over 36.5, Pickens over 4.5 receptions)
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