The Pittsburgh Steelers are fresh from picking up their eighth loss of the season after they fell to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14. The Steelers will try to bounce back as they face the surging Carolina Panthers in Week 15. The Steelers have a very faint chance of still making the playoffs, but one loss will pretty much boot them out of contention. A win here may also jeopardize the Panthers’ hopes of climbing to first place in the NFC South. Here are our Steelers Week 15 predictions as they take on the Panthers.
On Sunday, the Steelers and Panthers will face off in an interconference battle between two teams with identical records. However, the two teams are in different situations when it comes to the playoff picture. The Steelers are coming off a tough 16-14 loss at home to Baltimore last Sunday. The Panthers, on the other hand, had a successful outing last Sunday, defeating Seattle 30-24 on the road. That victory kept the Panthers in play for first place in their division.
Keep in mind that in their all-time regular season series, the Steelers hold a commanding 6-1 advantage over Carolina. This includes a 52-21 victory in their most recent matchup in 2018. This Sunday’s game promises to be an exciting showdown between two evenly matched teams.
With all these in mind, here are our four bold predictions for the Steelers in their Week 15 game against the Panthers.
Steelers continue to prep for the unknown at QBhttps://t.co/Dpt8GXTk3x
— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) December 15, 2022
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4. LB TJ Watt gets another big sack
In Week 14 against Baltimore, Pittsburgh LB TJ Watt had three tackles, including one solo sack. This increased his total number of sacks for the season to 2.5 in six games. This was also Watt’s first solo sack since returning from injury. Despite dealing with a rib injury in the past couple of weeks, Watt played a season-high 89 percent of the Steelers’ defensive snaps against the Ravens.
Given his importance as a pass-rusher, it is likely that Watt will continue to play a prominent role in the defense in the upcoming game against Carolina. We have him recording another sack against the Panthers.
3. WR George Pickens goes over 70 yards
In last Sunday’s game against the Ravens, Steelers rookie sensation George Pickens had three receptions on three targets for 78 yards. Although he has received only four or fewer targets in four of his last six games, Pickens has demonstrated his ability to make plays with receptions of 42 and 25 yards.
The rookie has only one touchdown to show in the past few games, but he has also recorded five catches of 20 or more yards in his last four contests. Don’t be shocked if he has another deep catch here against the Panthers. In fact, we have Pickens going over 70 yards here with a touchdown to boot.
2. RB najee harris plays and puts up 70+ total yards
Harris sat out practice on Wednesday due to a hip issue, but he returned to a full session on Thursday, indicating that he is likely to play in Sunday’s game against the Panthers.
Last week against the Ravens, Pittsburgh RB Najee Harris was a prominent player in their backfield. He recorded 12 rushes for 33 yards and a touchdown, as well as two receptions on three targets for 17 yards. He accounted for the majority of the work out of the Steelers backfield, but the team’s offense struggled to produce consistently, which limited his potential.
Despite this, Harris was able to score a touchdown in the first quarter, bringing his total for the season to five. Prior to Sunday’s game, Harris had totaled 90 or more total yards in three of four contests. Take note that the Panthers defense has allowed an average of 128.8 rushing yards per game so far this season.
Harris has played a key role in the Steelers offense this season, demonstrating his versatility as a running back. In addition to his rushing ability, he has also proven to be a reliable receiver out of the backfield. While the team’s offense has struggled at times, Harris has consistently produced and has proven to be a valuable asset for the Steelers. He will look to continue this strong performance in Sunday’s game against the Panthers and help lead the team to victory. Harris should put up over 70 all-purpose yards in Week 15.
1. Steelers get the boot on the road
The Steelers have a mediocre passing offense, ranking 24th in the league with an average of just 204.3 yards per game. Their rushing offense is also subpar, ranking 19th with an average of 113 yards per game. In terms of scoring, the Steelers are 27th in the league with 17.5 points per game and 14th in scoring defense, allowing 22.5 points per game. That just won’t cut it here against a confident and surging Panthers unit.
Both teams have a record of 5-8, but the Panthers have a chance to compete in the NFC South race with four games left. The Steelers have uncertainty at quarterback and have struggled offensively throughout the season. In contrast, the Panthers have momentum and a reason to play, especially as they are at home. Given the Steelers’ poor performance on both sides of the ball, the Panthers should come out on top of this Week 15 clash.