Pittsburgh Steelers: Packers & Browns perfect opponents to face before the playoff hunt

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

A 20-16 win against the Tennessee Titans helped Mike Tomlin begin the weekend on a positive note. His team defended home field Thursday night against a focused conference opponent. It was the Pittsburgh Steelers' fifth win of the 2023 campaign. They've experienced setbacks but continue to persevere.

Upcoming matchups against noteworthy franchises will determine if the Steelers are playoff material. Matt Canada's offense must put points on the board to stay relevant in the playoff hunt.

Pittsburgh Steelers must take advantage of the struggling Green Bay Packers in Week 10

A baton switch at the quarterback position changed the projection of the Green Bay Packers' season. Joe Barry's front office is determined to improve the roster. They began the off-season by trading away their superstar quarterback. In April, Aaron Rodgers became the newest member of the New York Jets. Green Bay received multiple 2023 draft picks and a conditional second-round selection if Rodgers played more than 65% of snaps. It forced Matt Lafleur to rely on his third-year quarterback heading into the regular season.

An impressive start to the new campaign helped Jordan Love build confidence. Success against the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears gave fans a reason to believe in Green Bay's quarterback plans. Love threw three touchdown passes in consecutive outings. The Detroit Lions extinguished No.10's hot streak in Week 4. The former first-round pick threw two interceptions during a pivotal divisional matchup.

Regaining confidence has not been easy for the Packers' starting quarterback. He's thrown more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4) since their 34-20 loss to the Lions. The Los Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings were three of Detroit's losses during their four-game losing streak. Assistance from their defense (9th), helped Lafleur's unit capture a 20-3 victory against Los Angeles Rams. They must repeat their efforts in Week 10 to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers must defeat Cleveland Browns in Week 11 to secure playoff berth

A win against a division rival will give the Steelers an advantage in the AFC playoff picture. Kevin Stefanski's team is determined to show growth from previous seasons. It's reflected in their record halfway through the season. Wins against the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals showed glimpses of Cleveland's' potential. They relied heavily on Jim Schwartz's defense (6th) to limit points and keep opponents out of the endzone.

Finding open receivers will be difficult for Pittsburgh's second-year quarterback in Week 11. The Cleveland Browns rank 13th in pass coverage (75.5) and first in pass rush (90.7) Myles Garrett is the highest-graded edge rusher In the NFL (94.6) and leads all defenders with ten sacks on the season. Kenny Pickett will be a player to watch in Week 11. He must perform above expectations to help Pittsburgh achieve success.

Upcoming matchups against two struggling franchises will help Mike Tomlin's squad evaluate the strength of their roster heading into the postseason. If the Steelers experience issues, they still have enough time to make corrections before the playoff hunt.

All statistics courtesy of pff.com.

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