Brown needs to make some big plays for the Steelers to be successful. The Steelers have yet to win losing last week to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs and tying the Cleveland Browns in more helpful hints Week 1. Pittsburgh gave up six touchdown passes to Mahomes, which could spell disaster in Week 3. Tampa Bay backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, playing in place of suspended starter Jameis Winston, has had back-to-back gems. Fitzpatrick has thrown for at least 400 yards and four touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s two season-opening wins. Last week, he was 27-of-33 for 402 yards and four scores in a victory over defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia.
As such, Jimmy Garoppolo, fresh from a leg injury of his own, is expected to start. And this unit was supposed to be a strength this season, but, over the last five weeks, they’ve surrendered 29, 43, 30, 33 and 31 points. But I’m going to break that cardinal sports superstition rule, here a week from Halloween, to talk about my current streak of missing my upset pick. I started the year 4-0, as regular readers would know and, again, kept that fact to myself.
The NFC South showdown could test the under for the total on the game and be much closer than many people would think since the Jaguars have been in every game, including their losses this year. Still, the Falcons are dangerous as they proved in last week’s win over Dallas. Quarterback Matt Ryan was efficient going 22-for-29 for 215 yards and RB Tevin Coleman ran for 83 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn had six of the Atlanta’s eight sacks in Atlanta’s 27-7 win. If the Falcons can get after Russell Wilson like that, they will have a shot at beating the Seahawks in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, CenturyLink Field.
For the 4th consecutive week, AJ McCarron will start for the Bengals. He’s played well in Andy Dalton’s absence as he’s yet to throw an interception in the 3 games he’s started. However he did throw 2 interceptions in his first game in action when he replaced Dalton midway through, against the same Steelers defense he’ll face this Saturday night. The Ravens missed the playoffs last season for the first time since John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco joined the team. They were held back with injuries to a number of star players, such as Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Terrell Suggs, and Justin Foresett.
The Patriots are 7-1 and averaging almost 35 points a game in the four games since Brady’s return. Coming into the season, both the Cardinals and the Vikings were serious contenders for the NFC title. Ten weeks later, both teams are in danger of not making the postseason. The Cardinals have struggled all year long to maintain any consistency and are just after beating San Francisco (1-8) on a last-second field goal.
In the first win over Pittsburgh this season, Baltimore held the Steelers to just 19 yards on the ground. In consecutive losses to New Orleans and Carolina, the Ravens allowed 134 and 154 rushing yards, respectively. For the season, the Baltimore defense is still giving up less than 100 yards a game. Baltimore will need to find that groove again on Sunday against a Steelers team that can run the football. While the running game has been able to flourish, quarterback Dak Prescott has spent too much time running for his life. As a result, the Cowboys fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander and replaced him with Marc Colombo, the team’s assistant offensive line coach since 2016.
All other starters — a group that includes Patrick Mahomes — went 0-40. Earl Campbell of the Houston Oilers broke 100 yards rushing against the Steelers just once in 12 career games against the team. For as dominant as the Seahawks’ (5-0) offense has been this season, Seattle is not exactly running away with games. The team’s average margin of victory is 6.8 points and all of their opponents have scored at least 23 points. Currently the 3-3 Miami Dolphins (+47) have a better point differential than the 5-0 Seahawks (+34).