Thursday Night Football Preview: Panthers (6-2) vs. Steelers (5-2-1)

Thursday Night Football Preview: Panthers (6-2) vs. Steelers (5-2-1)


Photo Courtesy of Robert Robinson


Preview

This Thursday Night Football matchup will feature two of the hottest teams in the NFL. Both teams had a short week to prepare, as they are both coming off close wins on Sunday. The outlook of these two teams is pretty similar as they both are looking to control their own destinies in the playoff hunt. Pittsburgh is trying to extend their lead in the AFC North, while Carolina is playing catch up behind the New Orleans Saints and trying to maintain their Wild-Card slot. This should be an exciting game to watch with big playoff implications.


Players to watch

For the Panthers, all eyes will be on dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton. He will be facing a struggling Steelers secondary. This means that outside linebackers TJ Watt and Bud Dupree must put pressure on Newton and keep him from running around while also taking some pressure off the secondary. Pittsburgh is in a similar situation, as Ben Roethlisberger will be looking to air it out against this Carolina secondary. However, as solid as the passing attack should be, the Steelers have to keep running back James Conner rolling in order to maintain a balanced attack. Linebacker Luke Kuechly will be tasked with making sure that doesn’t happen.


Keys to the game

Carolina Panthers

  • Protect Newton

  • Attack through the air

  • Put pressure on Roethlisberger

  • Big game from secondary


Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Keep Conner going

  • Limit turnovers

  • Put pressure on Newton

  • Capitalize on big plays in the passing game


Injury list

Carolina Panthers

  • Mario Addison, DE - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • David Mayo, OLB - Groin (Questionable)

  • Torrey Smith, WR - Knee (Questionable)

  • Cam Newton, QB - Shoulder (Questionable)

  • Captain Munnerlyn, DB - Chest (Questionable)

  • Greg Olsen, TE - Foot (Questionable)

  • Ryan Kalil, C - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Eric Reid, SS - Shoulder (Questionable)


Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Dan McCullers, DT - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Ryan Switzer, WR - Ankle (Questionable)

  • Marcus Gilbert, T - Knee (Questionable)

  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB - Finger (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Cam Newton, QB (CAR)

  • Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)

  • James Conner, RB (PIT)

  • Christian McCaffrey, RB (CAR)

  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB (PIT)


Prediction

This will come down to the wire. Both teams feature extremely dangerous offensive attacks led by two of the best quarterbacks in the league, which means it should be an offensive shootout down to the very end. I see Roethlisberger taking over at the end of this game and leading the Steelers down the field to win the game. Pittsburgh wins by a touchdown in a very exciting football game.


Final Score: Steelers 35, Panthers 28


Written by: Ryan Lippert

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