My favorite part about this game is that one, it is actually a solid Thursday night game, the last four weeks have been absolutely terrible. But the predictions and story lines leading into this game are always so awesome. Today on ESPN First Take (I believe) Stephen A Smith and the crew were talking about what team has the best chance to make it the Super Bowl? Like what a terrible story line jeez? That is what you come up with for this game? And these guys have been reporters for years now, we wonder why sports journalism is not the greatest. This story line sucks because neither of them are getting there and the reporters know it but they know people will watch that story line.
A REAL Storyline; Who will extend their streak? Christian McCaffrey vs James Conner?
This is going to be a great game, and a game that has a lot on the line. The Panthers are heading into Pittsburgh who are on a four-game win streak, and coming off a big win on the road vs Baltimore last week. As the Panthers are chasing the Saints tail playing every game like it is do or die, on a three-game win streak and have a big test in front of them.
Panthers vs Steelers in the air…
- Cam Newton this season has thrown for 1,893 yards averaging 236.6 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has a QB rating of 100.8 a completion percentage of 67.3 and is 177/268 through eight games this season.
- Big Ben has throw for 2,560 yards, averaging 320 yards a game, 16 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, he has a QB rating of 93.9 and a completion percentage of 64.5. On the year Big Ben has attempted 344 passes completing 222.
Panthers wide receivers;
The Panthers do not rank up nearly as well as Pittsburgh with deep threats JuJu Smith Schuster and Antonio Brown it will be a mess covering the field with those two out there. Brown is a clear top receiver in the league, just him alone will keep the Panthers secondary’s hands full. Looking at the Panthers top receivers, they do not have the numbers like Brown and Smith-Schuster. Although the Panthers seem to spread the ball out more evenly, Smith-Schuster and Brown still out perform the Panthers top four receivers.
- Devin Funchess who has 36 receptions for 445 yards and 3 touchdowns
- D.J. Moore has 19 receptions for 297 yards
- Greg Olsen has 18 receptions for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns
- Torrey Smith has 16 receptions for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns (OUT)
- Christian McCaffrey has 49 receptions for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns
Steelers wide receivers;
- Antonio Brown 51 receptions 594 yards, 11.65 yards a catch and 9 touchdowns
- JuJu Smith Schuster 53 receptions 672 yards, 12.68 yards a catch and 2 touchdowns
- Vance McDonald 26 receptions, 346 yards, 13.31 yards a catch and 1 touchdown
- Ryan Switzer 16 receptions, 88 yards, 5.5 yards a catch and 1 touchdown
- Total: 146 receptions, 1,700 yards, 13 touchdowns
Panthers vs Steelers on the ground;
This may an area where Carolina has the edge, although James Conner and Christian McCaffrey are honestly very similar players, looking at McCaffrey’s numbers to Conner’s. Conner does edge out McCaffrey in total yards but McCaffrey has the edge in the receiving department and also compared to Conner’s 151 carries to McCaffrey’s 109, Conner has 702 yards vs McCaffrey’s 502, they both average around 4.6 yards a game but Conner blows McCaffrey out of the water with 9 rushing touchdown to his three. This will Conner’s first really big test going up against another prominent running back, has made a name for himself now, big stage. A Panthers rush offense that ranks 2nd, their offense in general does a job managing the clock. Either way this is a big game for Conner.
- Christian McCaffrey 109 carries, 502 yards, 4.61 yards per carry, 3 rushing touchdowns
- CJ Anderson 22 carries, 105 yards, 4.7 yards per carry
- Steelers; James Conner 151 carries, 702 yards, 4.7 yards per carry, 9 rushing touchdowns
- Stevan Ridley 10 carries, 30 yards, 3 yards a carry
Who comes out on top?
This may shock some but I think Carolina pulls one of their a** here and takes on in Pittsburgh, they seem to be gelling on offense lately, while their defense has not been all that great, they have the offensive fire power to keep up with the Steelers. Both these defenses are not great and it will be interesting to see this shootout tonight. I don’t know clearly the Steelers are the better team and at home, but Panthers I feel come in and make a statement here.