2022 Week 15 Steelers Vs Panthers – What To Watch For

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot on their plate heading into today’s game. Their goal is still to make the playoffs no matter how incredibly unlikely that is, but the only thing they can control this week is whether or not they beat the Carolina Panthers, their next opponent.

They won’t have the services of rookie starting quarterback Kenny Pickett when the do, so it will have to come from Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph—in the event that more than one might be called upon to play.

Granted, both Trubisky and Rudolph have won games in the NFL before. Both are capable of running this offense on the most basic levels. How much more can they do beyond that, though? And perhaps more importantly, how much more will be needed?

If the Steelers can get the run game going again like last week, that’s going to be a problem. They were one of the better running games in the league in the month coming out of the bye week, but they took a significant step back in that regard last week, so re-establishing the ability to move the ball on the ground is going to be critical against this Carolina front.

Speaking of Carolina fronts, the Steelers’ front seven is going to have a couple of hands full of the Panthers’ offensive linemen. They have one package where they put eight of them on the field at the same time. it’s no secret they’re going to run the ball, I assure you.

But will they be able to stop it? They haven’t for the past six quarters against the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens. And it’s not just about this ‘Arby’s’ package. It’s not like the Falcons were running eight linemen out there.

And yes, they’re going to run the ball, but Pittsburgh can’t lose sight of quarterback Sam Darnold, either, who now appears to be the Panthers’ option as starter for the remainder of the season. And remember, they’re in the NFC South, so at 5-8, they’re still right in the thick of the division race, so they have a lot to play for.

What about the Steelers? Perhaps this game is as much as anything about finding what they have to play for. They’re not technically eliminated from the postseason, but the odds of them making it are incredibly low and reach ‘pointless to even discuss’ levels if they can’t come up with a win today.

While the coaching staff might not be playing with 2023 in mind, I think it’s safe to say plenty of fans are going to be watching through the lens of the future. They’re going to be looking at guys like George Pickens and DeMarvin Leal and, they hope, Mark Robinson, guys like that, players who they haven’t seen enough of yet, about whom we want to learn more.

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