The National Football League enters week four and it also enters the month of October. This week the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to the ‘not so frozen tundra’ to take on the Green Bay Packers. Here’s everything you need to know for the game.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
When: 425pmET Sunday October 3rd, 2021
Weather: 66 degrees with showers of roughly 50% through the afternoon.
Line: Steelers +6.5 O/U 46.5
Last Week: Last week the Packers kicked a field goal to beat the 49ers in San Francisco while the Steelers dropped their second straight game at home losing 24-10 to Cincinnati.
TV: CBS Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analysis), Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
TV Coverage in Your Area: Check the coverage map at the506.com.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Craig Wolfley with Missi Matthews and Max Starks on the sidelines. (RIP Tunch Ilkin)
Head Official: Scott Novak. Novak enters his third season as a head official. His most recdent game with the Steelers was in November of last year when Pittsburgh beat Jacksonville. Through the first three weeks, Novak’s crew is averaging, let me say that again, AVERAGING, 20 penalties per game.
Key Injuries/Game Status (courtesy steelers.com) PIT: DT Carlos Davis (Knee) – Out, OL Chukwuma Okorafor (Concussion) – Out, OL Rashaad Coward (Ankle) – Out, WR Chase Claypool (Hamstring) – Questionable GB: WR Marques Valdes-Scantling (Hamstring) – Out, G Elgton Jenkins (Ankle) – Doubtful, CB Kevin King (Concussion) – Doubtful
LB Krys Barnes (Concussion) – Questionable, S Vernon Scott(Hamstring) – Questionable, DL Jack Heflin (Ankle) – Questionable
Injury Notes: Joe Haeg appears destined to get his first career start for the Steelers with Okorafor out… I would plan on not having Claypool which means the only deep shots will likely go to James Washington… With King out, the Green Bay secondary is a bit depleted. Can we take advantage?
2021 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 25th GB 26th Passing Offense: PIT 13th GB 22nd Rushing Offense: PIT 32nd GB 30th
Total Defense: PIT 13th GB 9th Passing Defense: PIT 20th GB 9th Rushing Defense: PIT 10th GB 16th
AFC North Rankings: Baltimore 2-1, Cincinnati 3-1, Cleveland 2-1, Pittsburgh 1-2
This Week in the AFC North: Jacksonville 21 at Cincinnati 24 (Thurs 815pmET), Cleveland at Minnesota 1pmET, Baltimore at Denver 425pmET,
What You Need to Know: The Steelers streak of 75 straight games with at least one sack came to an end last week… In the free agency era, the Steelers (124) and the Packers (116) are second and third respectively in wins… Mike Tomlin is 37-19 all-time against NFC opponents… In road contests against the NFC he is 16-12… Ben Roethlisberger needs one touchdown pass to reach 400 for his career… Big Ben is 41-19 against NFC opponents in his career… Najee Harris’ 14 receptions last week was good for third all-time and first among running backs in Steelers’ History.
Green Bay Packers Names to Know: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, WR Davonte Adams, TE Robert Tonyan, WR Randall Cobb, DT Kenny Clark, CB Jaire Alexander, K Mason Crosby, OLB Za’Darius Smith, S Adrian Amos
What’s at Stake: Green Bay is the clear favorite in the NFC North. Only Minnesota appears to be a threat as the Lions and Bears are struggling. A win for the Packers keeps them atop the division. The Steelers have already lost to the Bengals who are now 3-1 after winning Thursday Night. They cannot afford to fall any further behind them or the Browns or Ravens should they win this week.
All-Time Series: Packers lead 19-16 and lead all-time in Green Bay 11-8.
Last Meeting: Nov 2017 in Pittsburgh. Steelers 31 Packers 28
Check out the latest Steel City Blitz Steelers Podcast for more on this game.
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
1. Get it Right, Please! I’m not asking for miracles here but the Steelers’ offense needs to find some sort of balance. This unit cannot survive on dump-offs to Najee Harris and throws to the sideline all game long. If Big Ben has issues with Matt Canada’s offense then he needs to do one of two things. Either start using the offense Canada has designed or don’t use a damn thing and go back to drawing up plays in the sand. Something has to give here in order to create points. The Packers’ defense is good but it has areas that can be exposed. Use Pat Freiermuth over the middle and try to open up those parts of the field we’ve been ignoring. Just get it right!
2. Force Field Goals. It isn’t too often that anyone stops Aaron Rodgers and I don’t see the Steelers, as the defense is currently with injuries and so on, doing that anyway. But where the defense can have an immediate impact on the game is in the Red Zone. If Keith Butler’s charges can force Rodgers into poor throws, quick throws, sacks and incompletions then perhaps they can force field goals. There’s no way as the Pittsburgh offense currently is that they are going to win a shootout so therefore they have to limit Green Bay touchdowns. If they can, at the very least, turn this into a field goal kicking competition then I’ll take my chances with that.
3. Special, Special Teams. When your offense is at rock bottom and your defense isn’t nearly 100% of what it should be then you have to have contributions from the third phase. We saw the difference it can make in Buffalo in week one and Danny Smith’s units have to come through again. A kickoff return? A punt return? A blocked field goal or punt? Any or all are acceptable. Above all else however, is don’t let any of those things happen to you. Ray Ray McCloud made this team because of his return abilities and he’s due to rip one off. The point here is that this unit needs to do something special.
Prediction: So far in this 2021 season I’m batting .000. Apparently I should be playing for the Pirates eh? All jokes aside, I fear this is the first one I might have right. Based on what I’ve seen from the Steelers’ offense through three games what hope do I really have here? I think we’ll see an inspired effort from the defense who will immediately recognize the ridiculous amount of Terrible Towels that have joined them but I just can’t see it being enough. Until I see more from this entire team my confidence in them is low.
Packers 27 Steelers 17
Season Prediction Record: 0-3