The Steelers aren’t playing for much anymore, but here are four bold predictions for their game against the Panthers.
The Steelers aren’t playing for much right now given their loss to the Ravens. The odds of making the playoffs are almost nonexistent, and the team is set to have its first losing season in almost twenty seasons. That said, Pittsburgh won’t simply roll over and let the Panthers win. I still expect a fierce game this Sunday.
The Panthers are on a bit of a hot streak as well. Since bringing in a new interim coach, they have seen better play overall and have found some semblance of consistency as a team. They still have plenty of issues, but they have been playing better football in recent weeks. Here are three bold predictions for the Steelers as they take on the Panthers.
Larry Ogunjobi has a breakout game
The Steelers were quick to add Larry Ogunjobi after Stephon Tuitt retired in the offseason. The expectation was for him to be a solid reinforcement along the line and provide additional pass-rush help. While he hasn’t been a bad addition by any means, he has been lacking in the sack department. I think that changes this week.
The Panthers boast three big power blockers along the middle of their line, but I think Ogunjobi uses some finesse to get into the backfield. He nets two sacks on the day and is consistently disrupting the Panthers passing game all day. His good play is a welcome addition for a unit that has been lacking pass rushers.
It’s an interception party
Both the Steelers and Panthers have fielded some of the worst quarterback play this year. The Steelers have gotten very mixed results from their two options and may have to look at Mason Rudolph this game (as of this writing, no quarterback has been announced as the starter). Meanwhile, the Panthers are on their fourth option at quarterback.
Both defenses have also been pretty good at picking passes off. I think you can see where this is going. It is a turnover heave day for both teams, as neither passing game gets off the ground. Five total interceptions are thrown in a sloppy performance by both teams. The defenses feast, but the offenses stall.
D’Onta Foreman continues Steelers rush defense narrative
Last week against the Ravens was the Steelers saddest day as a defense this season. Baltimore, the best running team in the NFL, on their third-string quarterback ran the ball like it was no problem last week. Even late in the game when everyone was expecting the run, the Ravens gashed this defense in a miserable performance.
D’Onta Foreman has seemingly revived his career. He flamed out with the Texans but became the top backup to Derrick Henry in Tennessee. He isn’t a dynamic player, but he runs with a lot of power and has taken on the majority of the Panthers offensive success in recent weeks. I don’t think the Steelers improve with their run defense and the narrative continues.
The Steelers are essentially out of the playoffs but don’t expect them to just give up down the stretch. This team still wants to win even if the playoffs aren’t on the line. The Panthers are in a very similar boat and have been playing good football as of late. Keep these bold predictions in mind as the Steelers face the Panthers this Sunday.