Week Six will bear witness to the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2). This will be the 16th meeting between Tom Brady and the Steelers, as Brady looks to go 13-3 against his former AFC foes. This will be the first time that Brady faces the Steelers post-Big Ben.
Tom Brady and company could have a huge day through the air. Pittsburgh allowed Bills QB Josh Allen to torch them for 424 yards passing and four touchdowns last week. Brady passed for 351 yards and one touchdown in a 21-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last week. With Tampa Bay getting their receiving corps back to health and on the field, the Bucs look to put the league’s third-best passing attack on full display. The Bucs are averaging 271.6 yards per game through the air, whereas Pittsburgh’s pass Defense is ranked 31st, allowing 287.6 yards per game. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have the chance to feast on a very vulnerable Steelers’ secondary that is tied for first in the league with 8 interceptions and allowed Bills Wide Receiver Gabe Davis to have a career day with 171 receiving yards and two touchdowns, one of which went for 98 yards and the other for 62 yards.
Tampa Bay’s ground game should be favored often as well as Pittsburgh’s Defense is allowing just over 124 rushing yards per game to opponents, which ranks 22nd in the league. Leonard Fournette could return to “Week 1 Lenny” if the Buccaneers take an early lead and decide to feed their running backs the ball. Tampa Bay is 31st in the league in rushing currently, averaging a measly 66.0 yards per game. Regardless, the Bucs plan to improve on their 20.6 points per game average on Sunday.
A major part of if the Steelers are going to have any life in their Offense is how well Tampa Bay’s 17th-ranked rush Defense responds to Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris. The second-year Running Back has the ability to break a big one if the Bucs are caught sleeping. Don’t let his 44 yards per game fool you. Harris has the ability to open the game up against a Buccaneer Defense that is currently allowing teams to average over 115 yards per game on the ground. Can Tampa Bay finally find an answer to what seems to be the weak link of the defense?
It will indeed be a long day in Pittsburgh if the game plan is to attempt to test the seventh-best pass Defense. The Bucs are allowing an average of 193 yards per game through the air while coming away with six interceptions (T-3 in the NFL) and 19 sacks (also 3rd in the NFL) against an Offense that has allowed 11 total sacks and 6 total interceptions. Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett is going to have a long day in search of his first career NFL passing touchdown. Pickett, who had an atrocious starting debut against the Jets last week, passed for 120 yards and three interceptions while managing a 76.9% completion rating. Eleven players on the Bucs have contributed to sacks this season. It’ll be interesting to see if that number grows. Can the grave diggers continue to snatch the souls from the opposing offense’s passing attack?
Player to watch:
The Steelers do have a player that could make an impact in the Steelers less than average passing attack. Receiver Diontae Johnson, who leads the Steelers with 267 yards this season, could be a weapon for rookie Kenny Pickett. Johnson is the Steelers’ clear number one WR, along with Chase Claypool and George Pickens
Prediction: It will not be this week, as the Bucs will beat the Steelers 38-10.
Bucs: -8.5, Over/Under: 45
Game Notes: via NFL Communications
-Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, the No. 20 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, recorded 327 passing yards in his first-career start last week. With at least 300 passing yards against Tampa Bay, Pickett will become the fourth rookie quarterback ever with at least 300 passing yards in each of his first two career starts, joining JUSTIN HERBERT (2020), KYLER MURRAY (2019), and CAM NEWTON (2011).