The Pittsburgh Steelers are certainly seeing their stock rise as Mike Tomlin’s team has now fired off three wins in a row. The team’s momentum is snowballing as they head into perhaps their biggest matchup of the season thus far – a week nine date in Baltimore against the Ravens. The Steelers are going to need a big day from many key contributors. Take a look below to see who is primed to make an impact and who will need a big performance to offset their declining stock.
RB James Conner – Stock Soaring
What else is there to say about running back James Conner? Three consecutive 100-yard games have made Conner the AFC’s leading rusher and the third in the NFL in rushing yards. The sophomore running back really controlled the tempo last week against the Cleveland Browns, closing out the victory with 146 rushing yards. Now the running back will have another crack at the Ravens’ defense; a defense that he did not get much action against in their previous meeting. Conner finished with just 19 yards on nine carries the last time against the Ravens but has been soaring to new heights ever since. If there is one player that is most likely to avenge their week four loss to the Ravens, it would be a safe bet to put your money on the red-hot Conner.
Artie Burns – Stock Free Falling
Every week, the Steelers have come to believe that cornerback Artie Burns has hit rock bottom and every week the cornerback continues to set new lows. After getting burned by the Bengals two weeks ago, Burns failed to log any defensive snaps in last Sunday’s victory over the Browns. If there was anytime to buy stock in Burns, now would be the time because the only way to go for him is up. The third-year cornerback will have the opportunity to reverse his fortunes this week as starting cornerback Coty Sensabaugh has been dealing with a foot injury, giving Burn an opportunity to take back the starting job.
RT Matt Feiler – Stock Up
It has been a long journey for offensive lineman Matt Feiler, as the lineman has gone from practice squad material to serving as the Steelers’ primary backup tackle and a pretty good one at that. Feiler filled in for an injured Marcus Gilbert again on Sunday and performed admirably well in his absence, just like he did over a month ago against the Buccaneers. The right tackle helped keep a clean pocket for Ben Roethlisberger and paved the way for a 146-yard performance for running back James Conner. Should Gilbert not be able to go Sunday against the Ravens, the Steelers have to be confident that Feiler can step in and not miss a beat once again.
RB Stevan Ridley – Stock Down
Being the back up running back is not a glamorous position whatsoever, it is also not a position where you could afford to make a mistake. Running back Stevan Ridley made a critical error last Sunday, fumbling the football while the Steelers were in Cleveland territory. As a result, the team turned to rookie running back Jaylen Samuels to pound the rock during the games final minutes instead of Ridley.
CB Mike Hilton – Stock Up
Cornerback Mike Hilton has been back for three weeks now and his performance has gradually increased with each week. Since his return, Hilton has returned to form as a battering ram in the slot. Over the last two weeks, the Steelers’ slot cornerback has recorded nine tackles and two pass defenses. Particularly important for Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens is that Hilton missed the first matchup, a large reason why Joe Flacco and his offense were able to cruise their way to victory. This Sunday, Hilton will have a chance to make up for his absence in the first matchup.