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Steeler Nation is a world-wide army that lives and dies with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Six-Time Super Bowl Champions are a franchise whose tradition dictates a standard of excellence, and their fans expect nothing less year in and year out. Those very same ideals translate to the ultimate Pittsburgh Steelers GameDay Preview, a guide that all Pittsburgh fans read weekly to learn everything they need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Pittsburgh SportsNation, aka Mike Drakulich (@PghSportsNation), who covers both Pitt football and the Steelers for NGSC Sports, brings you inside the huddle for both teams with the Keys to Victory, The Game Scoop and score prediction, Game Day Information, a detailed breakdown of each team and starting line-ups, and an up to date team injury report. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff. The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) vs Carolina Panthers (5-8)

NFL Week 15

Game-time: Sunday, December 18th, 1:00 PM

  • Vegas line: Carolina -2.5

Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC.

  • Field: Kentucky Blue Grass

Keys to Victory

Offense

  • Establish Run Game: Time to get Najee Harris the ball 20-25 times and let him eat.
  • No Turnovers: Interceptions by Mitch Trubisky killed the Steelers vs the Ravens last week.

Defense

  • Stop the run: Carolina will focus on getting both Chubba Hubbard and  D’Onta Foreman the ball. Limit them and Pittsburgh should win.

The Game Scoop

With the loss to the Ravens last week, the season, effectively, came to an end for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now the Steelers will have to face the Carolina Panthers without starting QB Kenny Pickett and linebacker Myles Jack, who is inactive today, despite being listed Questionable on the injury report.

Despite the interceptions last week, Mitch Trubisky moved the ball well against Baltimore.

The Panthers are a bad team despite being just a game out of the NFC South Division lead.

Prediction: Steelers 27 Panthers 20

Game Day Information

TV: CBS (Local: KDKA-TV)

  • Announcers: Greg Gumble (play-by-play) Adam Archuleta (analyst) | AJ Ross (sideline)

Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM & 970 WBGG-AM

  • Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Craig Wolfley (analyst) | Max Starks (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)

National Radio: N/A

  • Announcers: 

Internet broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com

 

Weather at kickoff: Sunnyy and 47. Winds out of the West at 8 mph.

NFL Links

 

Scouting the Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall record: 5-8 (4th in AFC North)

Last game: Ravens 16 Steelers 14

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin

  • 15th Season with Steelers
  • Overall regular-season record: 159-93-2
  • Playoff record: 8-9 (Qualified for playoffs 10 times)

Team Links

 

Steelers Offense

Offensive Stats

  • Points per game: 17.5
  • Total yards per game: 334.2
  • Passing yards per game: 221.2
  • Rushing yards per game: 113

 

Quarterback

Kenny Pickett* | #8

The first round pick from Pitt is getting better each week, but it’s time for the young quarterback to start putting the ball into the endzone via the pass more often than not. Out this week with a concussion.

  • Passing Yards: 1,797 | TD Passes: 4 | INT’s: 8 | Sacked: 23
  • Rushing Yards: 225 | Rushing TD’s: 3

Back-up: Mitch Trubisky | #10

Trubisky will get the start with Pickett sidelined with a concussion.

  • Passing Yards: 1,073 | TD Passes: 4 | INT’s: 5 | Sacked: 10
  • Rushing Yards: 29 | Rushing TD’s: 1

 

Running Backs

Najee Harris | #22

After a start slowed by a foot injury, Harris has upped his game and is playing like a man possessed now that he is healthy.

  • Rushing Yards: 704 | Rushing TD’s: 5
  • Receptions: 32 | Receiving Yards: 165 | Receiving TD’s: 2

Jaylon Warren | #30

Good change of pace back when he comes in for relief of Harris. Runs hard and hits the hole going downhill. If Harris is ever out, would get the majority of carries.

  • Rushing Yards: 206 | Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 18 | Receiving Yards: 151 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Benny Snell | #44

Looked good in first action all year, Snell answered the door when opportunity knocked. 

  • Rushing Yards: 90 | Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 17 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Derek Watt | #44

  • Rushing Yards: 15 | Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 5 | Receiving Yards: 11 | Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Wide Receivers

Diontae Johnson | #18

Has yet to score a touchdown, but leads the team with 67 receptions.

  • Receptions: 67 | Receiving Yards: 647 | Receiving TD’s: 0

George Pickens | #14

Has all the talent you could ask for… now the Steelers have to find a way to get him the ball more consistently, especially downfield.

  • Receptions: 40 | Receiving Yards: 590 | Receiving TD’s: 2

 Myles Boykin | #82

  • Receptions: 1 | Receiving Yards: 11 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Steven Sims | #13

  • Receptions: 9 | Receiving Yards: 53 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Gunner Olszewski | #89

  • Receptions: 4 | Receiving Yards: 50 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Pat Friermuth | #88

Emerging as one of the better tight ends in the game. 2nd on the team with 50 receptions and leads the team in receiving.

  • Receptions: 53 | Receiving Yards: 630 | Receiving TD’s: 1

Zach Gentry | #81

  • Receptions: 16 | Receiving Yards: 104 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Conner Heyward | #83

  • Receptions: 9 | Receiving Yards: 106 | Receiving TD’s: 1

*Injured/Out

 

Steelers Defense (Base 3-4)

Defensive Stats

  • Points per game allowed: 22.5
  • Total offense yards per game allowed: 358.5
  • Passing yards allowed: 242.7
  • Rushing yards allowed: 115.8
  • Sacks: 23
  • Interceptions: 14

 

Defensive Starters

DE: Cam Heyward #97 | DT: Montravius Adams #57 | DE: Larry Ogunjobi #99

  • Heyward has 46 tackles and five sacks. 

OLB: T.J. Watt #90 | ILB: Devin Bush #55 | ILB: Myles Jack #51| OLB: Alex Highsmith #56

  • Highsmith leads the team with 10 sacks. Jack leads the team with 98 tackles. Bush is 2nd on team with 66 tackles. 2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt has 22 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two INT’s.

CB: Levi Wallace #29 | SS: Terrell Edmunds #34 | FS: Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 | CB: Cameron Sutton #20

  • Fitzpatrick is 3rd on the team with 62 tackles, and a team leading four interceptions. Sutton has two INT’s, while Wallace has three. Damontae Kazee will see plenty of snaps and has seven tackles and one interception. Edmunds is 4th on the team with 46 tackles and one INT.

 

Steelers Special Teams

Placekicker

Chris Boswell | #9

One of the best clutch kickers in the game.

  • Extra Points: 9-9
  • Field Goals: 12-16
  • 1-19 yards: 0-0
  • 20-29 yards: 3-3
  • 30-39 yards: 2-3
  • 40-49 yards: 2-4
  • 50+ yards: 5-6

Matthew Wright | #4

  • Extra Points: 7-7
  • Field Goals: 12-14
  • 1-19 yards: 0-0
  • 20-29 yards: 1-1
  • 30-39 yards: 5-6
  • 40-49 yards: 5-6
  • 50+ yards: 1-1

 

Kickoff Returner

Steven Sims | #13

  • Average: 25.6 | TD Returns: 0

 

Punt Returner

Steven Sims | #13

  • Average: 5.9 | TD Returns: 0

 

Scouting the Carolina Panthers

Overall record: 5-8 (Tied for 2nd in NFC South)

Last game: Panthers 30 Seahawks 24

Head Coach: Steve Wilks

  • 1st Season with Carolina 
  • Overall regular-season record: 7-12 | 4-4 with Carolina
  • Playoff record: 0-0

Team Links

 

Panthers Offense

Offensive Stats

  • Points per game: 20
  • Total Offense per game: 308.5
  • Passing yards per game: 183.6
  • Rushing yards per game: 124.9

 

Quarterback

Sam Darnold | #14

Darnold steps back in as the starter with Baker Mayfield gone and P.J. Walker playing below average.

  • Passing Yards: 284 | TD Passes: 2 | INT’s: 0 | Sacked: 2
  • Rushing Yards: 33 | Rushing TD’s: 1

Back-up: P.J. Walker | #11

  • Passing Yards: 731 | TD Passes: 3 | INT’s: 3 | Sacked: 7
  • Rushing Yards: 39 | Rushing TD’s: 0

Running Backs

D’Onta Foreman | #33

Starter for Carolina that often splits time with Chubba Hubbard.

  • Rushing Yards: 637 | Rushing TD’s: 4
  • Receptions: 5 | Receiving Yards: 26 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Chubba Hubbard | #30

Now healthy again, should see split carries with Foreman.

  • Rushing Yards: 250 | Rushing TD’s: 2
  • Receptions: 8 | Receiving Yards: 61 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Receivers

D.J. Moore | #2

Top receiver in Panthers arsenal.

  • Receptions: 46 | Receiving Yards: 605 | Receiving TD’s: 4

Terrance Marshall, Jr. | #88

  • Receptions: 19 | Receiving Yards: 346 | Receiving TD’s: 1

Laviska Shenault, Jr. | #15

  • Receptions: 21 | Receiving Yards: 198 | Receiving TD’s: 1

Shi Smith | #12

  • Receptions: 16 | Receiving Yards: 185 | Receiving TD’s: 1

Rashard Higgins | #17

  • Receptions: 8 | Receiving Yards: 62 | Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Ian Thomas | #89

  • Receptions: 19 | Receiving Yards: 176 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Tommy Tremble | #80

  • Receptions: 11 | Receiving Yards: 101 | Receiving TD’s: 2

Giovani Ricci | #84

  • Receptions: 7 | Receiving Yards: 68 | Receiving TD’s: 0

*Injured/out

 

Panthers Defense (Base 3-4) 

Defensive Stats

  • Points per game allowed: 22.3
  • Total offense yards per game allowed: 343.5
  • Passing yards allowed: 214.7
  • Rushing yards allowed: 128.8
  • Sacks: 25
  • Interceptions: 8

 

Defensive Starters

DE: Brian Burns #53 | DT: Derrick Brown #95 | DT: Matt Ioannidis #99 | DE: Yetor Gross-Matos #97

  • Burns has 55 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

OLB: Shaq Thompson #7 | MLB: Damien Wilson #57 | OLB: Frankie Luvu #49

  • Thompson leads the team with 98 tackles. Luvu is 2nd with 78 tackles and has five sacks.

CB: C.J. Henderson #24 | SS: Xavier Woods #25 | FS: Jeremy Chinn #21 | CB: Jaycee Horn #8

  • Henderson has 50 tackles and two INT’s. Horn has three interceptions.

 

Panthers Special Teams

Placekicker

Eddie Pineiro | #7

  • Extra Points: 21-23
  • Field Goals: 25-27
  • 1-19 yards: 0-0
  • 20-29 yards: 1-1
  • 30-39 yards: 13-14
  • 40-49 yards: 10-11
  • 50+ yards: 1-1

 

Kickoff Returner

Raheem Blacksheer | #20

  • Average: 27.2 | TD Returns: 0

 

Punt Returner

Shi Smith | #12

  • Average: 7.2 | TD Returns: 0

 

 

Steelers vs Panthers History

Series History: Began in 1996

Overall Record: 6-1

  • Home: 4-0
  • Away: 2-1
  • Postseason: 0-0

Streak: Steelers have won the last six games.

Last regular-season meeting: Steelers Win, 52-21 (Nov. 8, 2018)

Last postseason meeting: 

 

Injury Report (12/18/22)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Out: QB Kenny Pickett (Concussion)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: LB Myles Jack (Groin)

Carolina Panthers

  • Out: LB Brandon Smith (Ankle)
  • Doubtful: 
  • Questionable: WR DJ Moore (Ankle), S Xavier Woods (Knee), WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (Shoulder)

 

About Post Author

Mike Drakulich

From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team. There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all! As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football. For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!
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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!

By Mike Drakulich

From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team. There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all! As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football. For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!

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