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Anthony Castonzo downgraded to out, Colts to be without both starting tackles vs. Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 1:11pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers pass rush got more good news with both Colts’ tackles out of the Week 16 game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team who could benefit from any good fortune that might come their way. On Friday news broke of Indianapolis Colts right tackle Braden Smith being placed on the COVID-19/Reserve List, meaning he won’t be playing Sunday when the Colts travel to Heinz Field.

T.J. Watt will now have a favorable matchup on Sunday, but it looks like rookie Alex Highsmith will also have a favorable matchup this Sunday. On Saturday, the Colts downgraded starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo to out.

Anthony Castonzo now declared out for the Colts Sunday. Indianapolis will be without both starting offensive tackles Sunday. #Steelers #dkps

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) December 26, 2020

Castonzo has been the starting left tackle in Indianapolis since he was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft. Missing two games already in 2020, Castonzo was dealing with a sprained MCL which he was playing through late in the season. Unfortunately, an additional ankle injury put Castonzo on the injury report this week and now has him downgraded to out against the Steelers.

Castonzo signed a two-year, $33 million contract extension with the Colts this past offseason. Based on yearly salary, Castonzo is the fifth highest paid left tackle in the NFL.

The Steelers are reeling with a 3-game losing streak, and the news of the Colts being without both starting tackles could be just what the doctor ordered for the black and gold.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the Colts at Heinz Field in Week 16.

The Steelers need to revive their running game, and Benny Snell might be the man to do it

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 12:30pm
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need to revive their running game, and Benny Snell might be the man for the job.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team nearing desperation. While they have locked up a playoff spot, nothing is certain about this team heading into the postseason. They have lost three games in a row, Ben Roethlisberger looks like a shell of himself and their running game ranks second worst in the NFL.

Not only are the Steelers’ 88.9 yards only above the Houston Texans’ 86 yards per game on the ground, their 3.7 yards per rush average throughout the 2020 regular season is tied for the worst in the league with the Atlanta Falcons. One of the reasons their average is so low is because their attempts, 339, ranks 6th lowest in the league.

So, are the Steelers’ running woes just because they haven’t been running it enough? Is it because they can’t run it effectively when they do decide to run the ball? Or is it the people who are being deployed to run the ball?

James Conner has been the primary running back for the Steelers throughout the 2020 regular season, but his statistics have been anything but impressive. Here are his statistics through 11 games:

155 attempts
663 yards
4.3 average
5 TDs
59 Long

Not really inspiring numbers for a man who has been given the vast majority of carries when he is in the game. What about Benny Snell Jr.? Is he the answer at running back? His statistics aren’t impressive either, but his Week 15 performance vs. the Cincinnati Bengals could provide hope for the future.

Here are his regular season statistics thus far:

102 attempts
358 yads
3.5 average
4 TDs
30 Long

But if we look closer at the Week 15 performance in a losing effort on Monday Night Football, is Snell the answer for the lagging Steelers’ running game?

18 carries
84 yards
4.7 average
1 TD
29 long

Week 15 was the first time in a long time the Steelers’ offense looked capable running the football, and as Mike Tomlin said in his Tuesday press conference, the Steelers would have likely been able to run the ball better if the score would have been different. More importantly, Tomlin left the door open for Snell to possibly be the running back moving forward.

“We’ll ponder those possibilities.” Tomlin said. “You have to admit, Benny [Snell] was an awesome element of play for us in the last game where we didn’t have a lot of awesome elements of play. His efforts were appreciated, so I’m sure he will have an opportunity to be impactful in this one regardless of James [Conner]’s availability.”

Snell is not a game-breaking type of back, but he is consistent and a hard-nosed runner. Most would say he certainly has the look of a Steelers running back. During his media availability on Thursday, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said he saw this small outburst of the Steelers’ running game coming.

“I saw it coming a little bit of the week practice, saw it coming because Benny Snell is a competitor. He didn’t want to be denied. He brought a lot of energy and juice to that game, and I felt like we were more consistent running the ball.” Fichtner said.

“We still had our pitfalls. We had a third-and-1 and we didn’t make it. When we can hit situational football at 100 percent, then you are going to be winning games more times than not winning games. Situationally is where the run game has to really keep coming whether it is red zone, whether it is short yardage, whether it is goal line, that type of thing.”

What fans want to know is the same question asked to Tomlin on Tuesday. Is there any chance Snell replaces Conner, even when Conner returns to the team on Sunday? Fichtner wouldn’t go that far, but he did say he sees Snell as being a capable “bell cow” running back for the Steelers.

“He has. He has done a good job with ball security. He is a fighter. He’s got pretty good contact balance. He usually falls forward.” Fichtner added. “I know it means an awful lot to him. I say that because I see him. I see the time and the effort and the things he does to be a professional. I’m excited with him right now, but I’m also excited that it looks like James [Conner] might be coming back to us. Two of those guys being “healthy” might be just we need to help pick up our run game.”

What is curious about Fichtner’s last statement is the Steelers have proven they are not willing to run a dual running back system. The closest they have gotten to such a thing would be at the start of games when they give a specific running back a drive. After that, it usually falls on the shoulders of Conner to handle the vast majority of the duties handled by the running backs.

Will things change after Snell’s solid performance in Week 15? I wouldn’t hold my breathe, but the Steelers are hoping their running game will be the magic elixir for not just the offense, but the entire team.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field in Week 16.

NFL Saturday Football Week 16 open thread: Keeping tabs on all the NFL action

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 11:50am
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Some Saturday NFL football in Week 16!

It is hard to believe, and some might still struggle with it, but NFL football is back!

It wasn’t always certain there would be a return of America’s favorite game, but here we are, in the midst of Week 16 and some Saturday NFL action!! The games today will be as follows:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions — 1 p.m. ET NBC/NFL Network

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals — 4:30 p.m. ET NBC/FOX/NFL Network

Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders — 8:15 p.m. ET ABC/NFL Network

While this isn’t the first NFL game of the 2020 season, our new commenting system remains a work in progress. While improvements have been made, and they aren’t done with those improvements, just wanted to put a message here from NFL Manager Jeanna Thomas about the system:

Here are a few features that you might want to include in game day thread articles, to help your community enjoy the game day threads more:

If you change the ‘Sort By’ option to “Oldest,” you can read all the comments in chronological order, and the comment box moves to the bottom. If you leave it as “Newest”, the latest comments will appear at the top.

If you’re using a computer, you can move down the comments using C, and move back up using shift-C by clicking once inside the comments area. This can also be used to ‘load more’ comments.

Under the ‘My Profile’ tab, you can keep track of replies to your comments, and also sign up for email notifications of replies

If you want to auto-show all images/GIFs/Tweets, you can opt into this under My Profile - Preferences

As always, we’re continuing to improve the system, and will be watching how everyone is using it on game days – and if you or your community have suggestions on how we can further improve the game day thread experience, we’d love for you/them to join our commenting feedback group: https://forms.gle/2FTSCHRgnggxH6SR6 or you can email support@coralproject.net.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root for the Steelers!

If you don’t want to hear the talking heads babble on about the two teams playing tonight, you can always watch the game on mute and listen to some of our great Steelers podcasts. Check out the playlist below:

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Fan Rooting Guide: Who Steelers fans may want to root for in other games in Week 16

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 10:30am
Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

BTSC’s guide to the other weekend games that might impact the Steelers the most.

The Steelers are scheduled to play the 10-4 Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and a win is more important than ever for they clinch the division with a win. However, there are plenty of games that are crucial to their playoff hopes, in and out of the division. Most of the time, Steelers fans know who to root for. But here’s a guide to significant matchups, and whose losses Pittsburgh would benefit more from this weekend. Once again, the black-and-gold need to win for this wish list to be viable. But any edge on the competition in the AFC is welcome.

Here are the conference standings going in to Week 15

e: Eliminated x: Clinched playoff berth y: Clinched division z: Clinched conference
  1. xy Kansas City Chiefs (No change) 13-1: Would win AFC West and earn a bye in Round 1
  2. xy Buffalo Bills (+1) 11-3: Would win AFC East and host Indianapolis in Round 1
  3. x Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) 11-3: Would win AFC North and host Miami in Round 1
  4. Tennessee Titans (No change) 10-4: Would win AFC South and host Cleveland in Round 1
  5. Indianapolis Colts (+1) 10-4: Would earn the second Wild Card and travel to Buffalo
  6. Cleveland Browns (-1) 10-4: Would earn the first Wild Card and travel to Tennessee
  7. Miami Dolphins (No change) 9-5: Would earn the third Wild Card and travel to Pittsburgh
  8. Baltimore Ravens 9-5 (No change)
  9. Las Vegas Raiders (No change) 7-7
  10. e New England Patriots (No change) 6-8
  11. e Denver Broncos (No change) 5-9
  12. e Los Angeles Chargers (No change) 5-9
  13. e Houston Texans (No Ccange) 4-10
  14. e Cincinnati Bengals (No change) 3-10-1
  15. e New York Jets (+1) 1-13
  16. e Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) 1-13
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders - Saturday 8:15 PM

These are two AFC teams that appeared the most as teams to root for in the 2020 Rooting Guide. At this point, the 7-7 Raiders are no help to the Steelers, but the Dolphins could keep the Ravens out of the postseason by winning their last two on the road vs. Vegas and Buffalo.

Who to root for: Miami Dolphins

Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday 1:00PM

The Chiefs would have to lose out against Atlanta and the Chargers. The Steelers would have to win out (IND, at CLE) for Pittsburgh to reclaim the top seed in the AFC. The New Orleans Saints weren’t able to help the cause last week and I sincerely doubt that the Falcons will this week. But one can hope.

Who to root for: Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans - Sunday 1:00PM

My only rooting interest in this game is draft position. I actually really like the Texans, but they don’t have anything to gain by winning. Losing does help though. I’d rather not see the Bengals pick better than they already will. So, hence the rooting nod.

Who to root for: Cincinnati Bengals

New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens - Sunday 1:00 PM

I really don’t want to see the Ravens in the playoffs. A loss keeps them closer to out of the postseason. But with the Giants and Bengals on the docket. They could be punching their ticket.

Who to root for: New York Giants

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets - Sunday 1:00 PM

Do the New York Jets have another win in them? The Cleveland Browns are getting into that Ravens Zone where you root against them as much as you possibly can. A divisional showdown between the Steelers and Browns might be on the radar next week.

Who to root for: New York Jets

Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars

This game means nothing to the Steelers. Actually, it might not mean much to the fans of the teams involved either. I get that the Bears are fighting for a playoff berth, so save the emails...I’m joking. But I don’t want the top overall pick ending up in Duval, so Jags it is.

Who to root for: Jacksonville Jaguars

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers

This game means nothing to the playoff race or the Steelers whatsoever. So pick against the team you have the biggest beef with.

Who to root for: Rooter’s Choice

Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers- Sunday 8:20 PM

The Steelers are better served by the Colts winning the AFC South over the Titans. It all is about keeping the Ravens out and Tennessee owns a tiebreaker over Baltimore. Indianapolis does not. The Titans and their potent running game may be able to knock off a division winner as well.

Who to root for: Green Bay Packers

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots - Monday 8:15 PM

The Steelers lose a tiebreaker against Buffalo and they now need a game advantage to get the top seed back. The Bills need to start losing again. The Pats are playing for pride and hopefully can comply.

Who to root for: New England Patriots

Who do you like in these games for yinzer’s sake? Let us know in the comment section in this article or on BTSC social media, and if you want more explanation to these picks check out the new Rooting Guide podcast below:

Expert Picks: Steelers unlikely to win vs. the Colts, per the “experts”

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 9:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the better record, and are at home, but the experts think they’ll lose their fourth in a row in vs the Colts.

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter their Week 16 game vs. the Indianapolis Colts with the better record, and playing at home. However, despite their 11-3 record, and the Colts’ 10-4 record, the Steelers are reeling. Losers of their last three games, the Steelers have their fans, and the NFL experts, second-guessing whether this team is a contender or pretender.

In fact, the Steelers, despite their early season success and being at Heinz Field, are underdogs vs. the Colts in Week 16. Will the Steelers be able to bounce back? Will they be able to right the ship? Will the be able to silence their many critics?

Time to take a look at what the experts think about this Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis game to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

For the experts who give some explanation to their picks, Will Brinson of CBS Sports sees another disappointing game for the Steelers Sunday.

This game feels a little too obvious — the Colts are just a lot better than the Steelers right now. Pittsburgh needs to win this game or else things can go sideways and they could lose the division to the Browns in Week 17. But some times, as a great philosopher once told me, you just need to realize that a line is just a line. The Colts are the better team right now. I don’t see a situation where the Steelers snap out of their funk and win this game. They can’t run the ball and their short-passing game doesn’t bode well against the Colts zone defense. Indy doesn’t blow teams out, so that’s concerning. But they should handle Pittsburgh here.

The Pick: Colts 24, Steelers 17

However, not all experts see this game being a laugher. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco thinks the Steelers will pull off the upset and clinch the AFC North in the process.

These two are both alive in the playoff chase, which makes this a big game. The Steelers are struggling in a big way to move the football, while the Colts defense has lagged some the past few weeks. Something will have to give. I think Ben Roethlisberger will make some plays down the field that have been missing. The Steelers will pull off the upset.

Pick: Steelers 23, Colts 21

As for the folks at the Sporting News they believe the game will be close, but it will be the Colts, not the Steelers, leaving Heinz Field victorious.

The Colts have not committed a turnover in their last three wins, and the Steelers are coming off a short week. Philip Rivers is 2-2 in the regular season at Heinz Field, and he pushes Indianapolis into the playoffs in an upset.

Pick: Colts 28, Steelers 24

There are always those sites who don’t put the thought into the outcome of the game like the above websites. Instead, they just pick the winners and leave it at that. For sites like, CBS Sports and ESPN, they are almost all-in on the Colts to beat the Steelers. There were a few who were bold enough to see a bounce-back game for the home team, but there weren’t many.

In the grand scheme of things, these are just a few websites which produce weekly expert picks. What about all the other sites? Who do they think will win this huge AFC matchup? This is where our friends at NFL Pick Watch come in and lend a hand. NFL Pick Watch takes all NFL expert picks across the internet and compiles them into an easy-to-read graph.

According to NFL Pick Watch, just 31% of the experts across the internet think the Steelers stand a chance on Sunday at Heinz Field.

Will the experts be right? Or will the Steelers find a way to reclaim their 11-0 selves and beat the Colts? Only time will tell, but the experts certainly aren’t banking on the Steelers to rebound in Week 16.

Steelers in danger of suffering December collapse for third straight year

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 8:30am
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Steelers have had a difficult time finishing their season strong over the last few years.

It seems as if the Steelers have come a long way since head coach Mike Tomlin famously promised to “unleash hell” in December during the 2009 season.

Pittsburgh is now 1-3 in the final month of 2020, with their single win being an ugly one against a depleted Ravens roster. Their offense has been terrible and their defense looks exhausted. It doesn’t get any easier for them, as they face the red-hot Indianapolis Colts in the final week of December, and then a hungry Cleveland Browns team to end the regular season on January 3rd.

At the moment, it looks as if the Steelers will finish their season on a 5-game losing streak.

Sadly, this isn’t a massive surprise. Falling apart near the end of the year has unfortunately become all to common for the Steelers over the past few seasons. In 2018, the team was 2-3 in December and ended up missing the playoffs. They did pull of a memorable victory against the New England Patriots, but still lost the majority of their games that month. Their only other victory was over a terrible Bengals team, a game that ended with an ugly score of 16-13 that marked the beginning of the end for Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh.

2019 wasn’t much better. Despite losing Ben Roethlisberger for the season, the Steelers had a playoff spot in their sights at 8-5 going into the final stretch of the season. Unfortunately, they lost all three of their final games to drop to 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

And with an inexcusable loss to the 2-win Bengals last Monday, it looks like the Steelers have fallen into a December slump for the third year in a row. While AFC playoff teams such as the Chiefs, Bills, Titans, and even Ravens are beginning to play their best football of the year as the postseason draws nearer, the Steelers are playing their worst.

Call it a coincidence, but a pattern is definitely forming with the Steelers failing to win down the stretch. As evidenced by their year-ending losing streaks that cost them playoff spots in 2018 and 2019, or even their collapse against Jacksonville in the 2017 playoffs, the Steelers are losing when it counts the most.

A team led by veterans such as Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, and Cameron Heyward should know how to keep their team focused throughout an entire season, and an experienced head coach like Mike Tomlin should have no problem keeping his team’s level of play consistent.

But that level of consistency and focus simply hasn’t been there. And while injuries and scheduling gaffes have certainly hurt the Steelers’ level of play, losing to a 2-10-1 Bengals team without both their franchise quarterback and running back is unacceptable.

With the AFC North title on the line and the playoffs just around the corner, Mike Tomlin desperately needs to get his team back into 11-0 form. The Steelers will get a chance at the Super Bowl regardless of how their regular season ends, and a January resurgence will be all it takes to make up for another ugly December slump.

JuJu Smith-Schuster will stop dancing on logos, and all is right with the world again!

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 7:30am
Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will stop dancing on opposing logos. Rejoice and happy holidays!!!!!!!!!!

Did you hear the news? Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster announced on Wednesday that he will no longer dance on the logos of opposing football teams!

Merry Christmas, Steeler Nation!

Suddenly, the Steelers three-game slide has been erased, they’re still undefeated and totally legit Super Bowl contenders again!

Smith-Schuster’s fumble against the Bengals, a play that was a direct result of him dancing on their logo before the game, never actually happened. Instead, Smith-Schuster absorbed the hit, stayed on his feet and raced 80 yards for a touchdown! The Steelers won the game, after all!!!!!

Happy Kwanzaa, Paul Brown Stadium, you home away from home, you. Why, look at you, I could eat you up!

JuJu’s realization that the world would have been better off had he never danced on logos has changed everything. Suddenly, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s right arm has life again! His accuracy on deep balls has been restored. The blood that used to pool on his game-day jersey after standing in the pocket and absorbing hit after hit has returned! Roethlisberger isn’t afraid to get hit anymore!

Happy Hanukkah, Big Ben’s bruises!

You know how opposing defenses began to scheme away Pittsburgh’s short-passing game? That never happened. Why? Because Roethlisberger never did it to begin with. That was all in a world where Smith-Schuster danced on opposing logos! I no longer have a grievance with JuJu. He’s seen the error of his ways. He’s a different man, and because of it, the Steelers are a different team!

Happy Festivus, social media!!!!!

Suddenly, the Steelers can run the football again! Those offensive linemen now love to block for the run, and when they do, why, you should see the push they get, especially on third or fourth and one! Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner’s game-planning isn’t so predictable in a world where JuJu doesn’t dance on logos.

Happy Postseason, offensive balance!

The Steelers defense isn’t so battered and depleted in this non-logo dancing world. Devin Bush’s torn ACL never happened, because Smith-Schuster wasn't distracted with dancing on logos and was around to save it. Same holds true for Bud Dupree. T.J. Watt has his buddy back again!

Happy New Year, T.J’s lack of double teams!

Fans in the stands at Heinz Field. Fans on the grassy hillside at St. Vincent College. There was never a pandemic, because JuJu’s total focus on football prevented it.

Happy Opening Day, $17 beer!

The Chiefs are no longer unstoppable on offense. Patrick Mahomes is just another quarterback.

All because of JuJu's mettle!

There are now 8,000 reasons why the Steelers will win the Super Bowl!

It’s a miracle!!!!

Every time JuJu has his bell rung, a Steeler gets his Lombardi!

Happy Super Bowl, Steelers fans!!!

Updating the Pittsburgh Steelers odds to finally win the AFC North, and the Super Bowl

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 6:00am
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Taking an look at the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers’ odds for both team, and individual awards.

The Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t always favored to win the AFC North, let alone to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 55. Nonetheless, after a 11-3 start, things have changed. The Steelers still the odds-on favorites to win the AFC North division, and have fallen significantly behind the Kansas City Chiefs to represent the AFC, and win, the upcoming Super Bowl.

Take a look at the latest Super Bowl odds (All of the below odds are courtesy of BetOnline):

Odds to Win Super Bowl LV

12/15/20 Current

Kansas City Chiefs 9/5 7/4

Green Bay Packers 7/1 6/1

New Orleans Saints 8/1 15/2

Buffalo Bills 12/1 10/1

Seattle Seahawks 12/1 12/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12/1 12/1

Los Angeles Rams 10/1 14/1

Baltimore Ravens 20/1 16/1

Pittsburgh Steelers 12/1 20/1

Tennessee Titans 28/1 28/1

Cleveland Browns 40/1 33/1

Indianapolis Colts 33/1 33/1

Odds to Win the AFC Championship

12/15/20 Current

Kansas City Chiefs 5/6 5/6

Buffalo Bills 6/1 5/1

Baltimore Ravens 10/1 15/2

Pittsburgh Steelers 6/1 10/1

Indianapolis Colts 16/1 14/1

Tennessee Titans 14/1 14/1

Cleveland Browns 20/1 18/1

Odds to Win AFC North

12/15/20 Current

Pittsburgh Steelers 1/33 4/15

Cleveland Browns 14/1 14/5

AP Coach of the Year 2020

12/15/20 Current

Kevin Stefanski 11/2 5/4

Ron Rivera 2/1 3/2

Brian Flores 9/2 5/1

Sean McDermott 12/1 13/2

Mike Tomlin 9/4 10/1

Andy Reid 16/1 18/1

Frank Reich 18/1 20/1

Matt LaFleur 18/1 25/1

Mike Vrabel 18/1 28/1

Super Bowl

AFC vs NFC

AFC -4½

NFC +4½

Will the Steelers lose in the first-round playoffs?

Yes EVEN (1/1)

No -140 (5/7)

Defensive Player of the Year Odds

Aaron Donald 4/7

TJ Watt 5/2

Myles Garrett 5/1

Xavien Howard 15/2

Most Sacks 20-21 Regular Season

Aaron Donald 5/4

T.J. Watt 5/4

Trey Hendrickson 11/4

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16 of the 2020 regular season.

Touchdown Under Podcast: Ben, Bengals, Birthday & Beating the Colts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 5:00am

Check out our latest weekly venture with an international flavor. Put another shrimp on the barbie and check out Steelers Touchdown Under with two blokes from Australia, Matty Peverell and Mark Davison.

Steelers fans are unimpressed. Unimpressed with the offense, some are unimpressed with JuJu Smith-Schuster, some with Ben Roethlisberger, others Randy Fichtner, and some even with Mike Tomlin. This week against the Indianapolis Colts it’s time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to put the ‘bat cape’ on that got them to 11-0 and beat the Colts to prove they won’t just be 1 and one in the playoffs. Join the two Aussie blokes, two mates, Matty Peverell & Mark Davison from Steelers Nation Australia - and the future - as they bring an international perspective to the Steelers current state of play and this week’s upcoming game. These are just start of what will be discussed on the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Overall preview to Week 16
  • The awful loss against the Bengals
  • Where the Steelers Offense can focus to improve their on-field product
  • The Steelers players not providing value for their salary cap number
  • Preview to the Colts game
  • ‘Slingin’ the Slang’
  • Punts of the Week
  • and MUCH MUCH MORE!

Be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Colts/Christmas Week Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 5:45pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the black-and-gold!

It’s Friday again, and Christmas, so it’s time for the six pack of questions. It seems as if Jeff and Dave come to a consensus in cutting to the chase...

This week, I, Jeff, will be tasked with the questions up for discussion.

The rules are still the same...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

Procedural Note: Since the title feature has gone away, please feel free to leave your usual title as the first line of your response and even bold it if you can for the ease of others.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

1. If the Steelers beat the Colts Sunday, and essentially lock up the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoffs, do you rest players in Week 17 if it means nothing?

2. If you are going to rest any players, who do you rest on both offense and defense?

3. The Steelers are home underdogs on Sunday, getting 1.5 points. What is your score prediction for the game at Heinz Field?

4. If you had to predict the 7 teams, and their seeds, to make the AFC Playoffs, who makes it and where?

5. I am a very superstitious person by nature. What, if any, superstitions do you have pertaining to the Steelers?

6. On my Friday Let’s Ride podcast I gave my Power Rankings for my Top 5 Christmas movies. Mine is below, what is yours? (Note: I avoided movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon(s) which take place during Christmas, but aren’t really centered around the Christmas holiday)

1. A Christmas Story
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
3. Elf
4. It’s a Wonderful Life
5a. Home Alone
5b. Home Alone 2

Stay safe out there!

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

We added some new shows and a new platform to our podcasts...if you haven’t checked out Jeff’s new morning show Let’s Ride, Bryan and Tony’s Steelers Retro Show or Dave’s Steelers Stat Geek, or even the new evening shows, give them a try by listening below!

Colts’ starting RT Braden Smith put on COVID-19/Reserve List

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 4:03pm
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Colts will be without their starting right tackle vs. the Steelers Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling. No other way around it, and the Steelers can use all the help they can get to end their three-game losing streak and clinch the AFC North championship.

The help the Steelers could use came from an unlikely place as news broke Friday of the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers’ opponent in Week 16, placed their starting right tackle Braden Smith on the COVID-19/Reserve List.

The Colts have placed starting RT Braden Smith on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. A notable loss for Sunday’s game vs. the Steelers.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 25, 2020

With the Colts down a starting tackle, it means T.J. Watt will have a very favorable matchup at Heinz Field Sunday. This for a Colts team who does a tremendous job protecting Philip Rivers.

Players going on the COVID-19/Reserve List is just another way the 2020 season has been completely unpredictable. Whether it be outbreaks of the Tennessee Titans or Baltimore Ravens, or individual players missing games on the day of a game, like Maurkice Pouncey prior to the Ravens game at Heinz Field.

The Steelers could really use a big win Sunday, as it would not just win the AFC North, but make the 3rd seed in the AFC Playoff Picture the worst they could do heading into the postseason. The loss of Smith should be a big advantage for the elite Steelers’ defense.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Colts Sunday in Week 16.

Injury Report: Ulysees Gilbert to IR, 4 others questionable for Sunday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 3:26pm
Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

On a positive note, Stephon Tuitt returned to practice on Friday.

The Steelers finished up their preparation on Friday for their Week 15 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts where they look to end their three-game losing streak. In the final injury report for the Steelers for Week 16 courtesy of the Steelers PR Department, the Steelers have 4 players listed as questionable for Sunday.

Steelers PR Department

The Steelers made a roster move just minutes after releasing the injury report placing Ulysees Gilbert III on the Reserve/Injured List with an ankle injury. By moving Gilbert to IR, the Steelers have room to place Vince Williams back on the active roster from the Exempt List after returning from the Reserve/COVID-19 List earlier this week.

We have placed LB Ulysees Gilbert III on the Reserve/Injured List, which makes room on the Active/Inactive roster for LB Vince Williams, whose two-day COVID-19 roster exemption expired. https://t.co/hBsWq6oY3R

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 25, 2020

Going into Friday’s practice there were four players, including Gilbert, who did not participate on Wednesday or Thursday. Stephon Tuitt missed two days with a back injury but returned as a full participant on Friday and carries no injury status for Sunday. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi returned as a limited participant on Friday with a shoulder injury as is listed as questionable for Sunday. Marcus Allen missed the first two days of practice due to the shoulder stinger he sustained in Monday night’s game and was unable to return to practice again on Friday. Surprisingly, Allen is listed as questionable for Sunday despite not practicing all week.

On Thursday, the Steelers added kicker Chris Boswell to the injury report with a groin injury which had him limited in practice. On Friday, Boswell did not practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday. The Steelers still have kicker Matthew Wright on the practice squad who could be elevated to the game-day roster again if needed much like Week 13 against Washington.

UPDATE: There are conflicting reports as to Boswell’s participation on Friday. The Steelers PR Department reported Boswell did not practice while Steelers.com has him listed as limited. Both places have him questionable for Sunday.

A new addition to the injury report was running back Anthony McFarland who missed Friday due to an illness. He is also listed as questionable for Sunday.

As for the Colts’ official injury report, you can see the names below courtesy of Steelers.com.

Indianapolis Colts Participation/Injury Report, Week 16

Game Status

T Anthony Costanzo (Knee/Ankle) - Questionable

WR Marcus Johnson (Quadriceps) - Out

DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (Ankle) - Questionable

T Braden Smith (NIR) - Out

Friday, December 25

DT/DE Denico Autry (NIR) - Full

DT DeForest Buckner (Ankle) - Limited

TE Trey Burton (NIR) - Full

T Anthony Costanzo (Knee/Ankle) - DNP

DE Justin Houston (NIR) - Full

WR Marcus Johnson (Quadriceps) - DNP

QB Phillip Rivers (Toe) - Full

TE Mo Alie-Cox (Knee) - DNP

DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (Ankle) - Full

G/C Quenten Nelson (Back) - Full

TE Jack Doyle (Quadriceps) - Full

S Julian Blackmon (NIR) - DNP

WR T.Y. Hilton (NIR) - DNP

LB Darius Leonard (NIR) - DNP

CB Kenny Moore II (NIR) - DNP

T Braden Smith (NIR) - DNP

DE Kemoko Turay (NIR) - DNP

For more information on the Steelers injury report, check out the injury report podcast below.

Saints vs. Vikings, Week 16: Friday Night Football open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 3:20pm
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

NFC football in prime time to start Week 16!

It is hard to believe, and some might still struggle with it, but NFL football is almost done with the 2020 regular season!

It wasn’t always certain there would be a return of America’s favorite game, but here we are, preparing for the Week 16 and a special Christmas Night Football kickoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

While this isn’t the first NFL game of the 2020 season, our new commenting system remains a work in progress. While improvements have been made, and they aren’t done with those improvements, just wanted to put a message here from NFL Manager Jeanna Thomas about the system:

Here are a few features that you might want to include in game day thread articles, to help your community enjoy the game day threads more:

If you change the ‘Sort By’ option to “Oldest,” you can read all the comments in chronological order, and the comment box moves to the bottom. If you leave it as “Newest”, the latest comments will appear at the top.

If you’re using a computer, you can move down the comments using C, and move back up using shift-C by clicking once inside the comments area. This can also be used to ‘load more’ comments.

Under the ‘My Profile’ tab, you can keep track of replies to your comments, and also sign up for email notifications of replies

If you want to auto-show all images/GIFs/Tweets, you can opt into this under My Profile - Preferences

As always, we’re continuing to improve the system, and will be watching how everyone is using it on game days – and if you or your community have suggestions on how we can further improve the game day thread experience, we’d love for you/them to join our commenting feedback group: https://forms.gle/2FTSCHRgnggxH6SR6 or you can email support@coralproject.net.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root for the Steelers!

If you don’t want to hear the talking heads babble on about the two teams playing tonight, you can always watch the game on mute and listen to some of our great Steelers podcasts. Check out the playlist below:

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking all the Week 16 games against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 11:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Several of the BTSC staff pick all the NFL games both against the spread and over/under point totals

The 2020 NFL season has made it through 15 weeks, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have already qualified for the postseason for the first time in three years. Unfortunately, their quality of play as of late has most fans concerned as they prepare for the playoffs with only 2 games remaining.

For the 2020 NFL season, six of the BTSC staff (a group I have affectionately named the “BTSC Super Six”) have signed up to pick every game against the spread and the over/under point totals. We are doing things a little different this year and including the Thursday games. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a group of Steelers’ fans saying who we think will come through each week.

We are using a new program called Tallysight this season. It will allow us to show picks in a much more “friendly to the eye” manner. To understand how it works, the default tab is for our picks against the spread. To see the over/under picks, click the “O/U” tab in the upper right.

Last week, when picking games against the spread, we finished fairly close together with Bryan and I barely coming out on top at 8-8. Bryan continues to hold the top spot overall at 114-110, but Geoffrey still lurks only two games behind.

When it comes to picking the over/under, Bryan came out on top again and led the way at 11-5 this week. Michael held the top spot overall at 119-105. When combining both sets of pick, Geoffrey is still in the top spot at 227-221 combined.

So here are the picks for the games for Week 16 of the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along!

Podcast: Fixing the Steelers’ offense is no easy task

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 11:00am

BTSC’s Jeff Hartman and Dave Schofield talk news of the day and everything surrounding Week 16 vs. Cincinnati. All of this while mixing in fun and frivolity like only they do.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is in a bad place, and their Week 16 opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, won’t make life easy on them. How can the offense improve before the playoffs? Co-editors Jeff Hartman and Dave Schofield discuss that, and more, on this special Christmas Eve episode of the Steelers Preview Podcast.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-Gold. Join the duo as they combine the down all things Steelers and with shenanigans galore.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Injury Report
  • Updated Odds
  • Over/Under
  • Players to Watch
  • X-Factor
  • Predictions
  • Trivia

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel.

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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