The Steelers are set for a Monday night matchup against the Colts, and here are four bold predictions for the game.
The Steelers are on the hunt for a win after a second-half collapse ended their game against the Bengals. They are set to face a very beatable Colts team in primetime, but they need to show more than what they did last week. After a strong first half where the team looked to be in control, they fell apart in the second half and ultimately lost the game.
The Colts aren’t nearly as good as the Bengals, but they have looked sharp under new head coach Jeff Saturday. They aren’t the same hapless team that they were a few weeks ago. That said, they have a slew of their own issues to contend with, and the Steelers can take advantage. Here are four bold predictions for the Monday night matchup.
George Pickens gets shut down
George Pickens has had quite a start to the second half of the season. He has continued to see more opportunities and he continues to showcase why he is such a special talent. He was the go-to option against the Bengals and scored his first receiving touchdown of the season. He is the clear-cut top option in this passing game right now.
That said, I think he gets snuffed out a bit this week. The Colts have a very talented secondary, and I’m guessing Pickens will start to draw more attention from secondaries. I think they focus on stopping him, and as a result, it works. He is held to under 40 yards as he fails to beat a secondary focused on stopping him.
Najee Harris regresses
Akin to what happens with Pickens, I think Najee Harris faces some stacked boxes as the Colts want to force the Steelers to throw the ball. I will be the first to say, Harris has made quite the transformation since the bye week. Before, he was a hesitant runner that was looking for huge plays in space. He has gone back to focusing on hitting holes hard and using his size and power to great success.
With holes tighter this week, I think we see Harris revert back to his earlier style which was ineffective. The offense will struggle as a whole (more on that below), and Harris will want to make the big play on his own. It doesn’t work, and he has a stat line akin to his earlier outings this season.
Kenny Pickett collapses
Is anyone noticing a trend? With his top two weapons taken away, I think Pickett also has a rough outing against the Colts. His play has been better since the bye week, and the first half against the Bengals was easily his best showing so far, but he is still a very inconsistent player with a lot of issues that need to be addressed.
It doesn’t happen this week. With his top weapons neutralized, Pickett goes back to his reckless nature in order to try and keep the game close. It leads to terrible results. Three more interceptions and a fumble add to his long list of turnovers. He does find the endzone via a Pat Freiermuth score, but all in all, Pickett fails along with the rest of the offense.
The Steelers get blown out
All of the above cumulate into a blowout loss for the Steelers. Pittsburgh tends to do well in prime-time games, and the Colts are a very beatable team, but the results this week are ugly. The offense is horrible, which puts pressure on the defense. Early scores from Michael Pittman and Mo Alie-Cox give the Colts an early lead.
With a lead and a pathetic Steelers offense, Jonathan Taylor dominates the second half. By the fourth quarter, the defense is so gassed that he really breaks the game open. A pair of scores leads to the 28-10 finish, as the offense rarely sees the field after the second quarter. When they do, the issues outlined above lead to short drives. All in all, it is an ugly and embarrassing defeat for the Steelers.
I have a bad feeling about this game, which in turn has my bold predictions following a particular pattern. I hope I’m wrong, as a win would be a welcome addition for the team this week. I just don’t see it happening, and these bold predictions would point to an ugly outcome if they came true.