PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have ruled out five players against the New England Patriots. Leading that list is, of course, quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett had tightrope surgery on his right ankle on Monday, and the team anticipates him to miss two to four weeks. That means he could return at some point this month, but he might be out until they go to Baltimore for the last game of the season. Mitch Trubisky will start, with Mason Rudolph getting the backup job for the first time all season.
Cornerback James Pierre is out. The special teams ace as a gunner and kick coverage specialist is injured and could miss multiple games with a shoulder injury. That means promising rookie Darius Rush will play on special teams, and the team could look to give him a role in the sub-packages.
Offensive lineman Dylan Cook is inactive as well. Center Mason Cole and left guard Isaac Seumalo were questionable coming into the game, but it seems they will end up playing through neck and shoulder injuries, respectively. Pittsburgh will have their entire starting five.
With defensive lineman Montravius Adams back for the first time in a month, DeMarvin Leal will be inactive. Pittsburgh will look to fill the rotation out on the defensive line, and Leal is the odd man out. But so is outside linebacker Markus Golden, who is a surprise inactive. Golden is not playing with Kyron Johnson up for special teams ability on top of his ability to rush the passer, so the Steelers felt comfortable sitting Golden.
Lastly, running back Anthony McFarland will not play as Najee Harris is active. Linebacker Blake Martinez will make his season debut. All four questionable guys, Najee Harris, Isaac Seumalo, Mason Cole, and Elandon Roberts, will play.
For the Patriots, they will be missing three of their seven wide receivers with Pop Douglas, Devante Parker, and Kayshon Boutte out. Starting running back Rhamondre Stevenson will also not play.