DeForest Buckner / Grover Stewart vs. Mason Cole
The Steelers’ interior offensive line is not great, and center Mason Cole is among the worst starting centers in the entire NFL this season, allowing 24 total pressures, the fourth worst among his position. He will be accountable for blocking either DeForest Buckner or Grover Stewart throughout the game, in what will be certainly a tough matchup for him. The Colts’ pass-rushing unit was kept quiet against the Bengals and Jake Browning, but playing at home they should be looking for revenge.
Blake Freeland vs. T.J. Watt
This one can get really ugly, and I would not be that surprised if T.J. Watt breaks the single game sack record against Blake Freeland and a Bernhard Raimann that was not able to even limit Trey Hendrickson. Watt suffered a concussion last game but should be ready to go against the Colts, and his pass-rushing capabilities from the edge are the best in the NFL. It is worth noting that Steichen and his coaching staff have really struggled both putting together gameplans and adjusting in-game for stopping elite pass-rushers like Myles Garrett and Trey Hendrickson.
Gardner Minshew vs. Steelers’ pass-rush
Gardner Minshew has looked jumpy in the pocket for the past five games, and now that opposing defenses have tape and time to prepare for him, his efficiency has plummeted. The Steelers’ pass-rush and defense is really good, and the main reason their record looks like it does this year, so Minshew will once again have his work cut out for him. With the running game struggling, missing JT, Minshew will have to find a way to solve his recurring struggles, otherwise the Colts will definitely be sitting on the couch once the playoffs arrive.
Special Teams vs. Whatever got in their heads against the Bengals
The special teams’ unit was a big reason the Colts lost as bad as they did against the Bengals last week, as the field goal unit missed two short kicks, and the punt return team fumbled away a ball. When your offense is struggling as bad as the Colts, they need all the help and possesions they can get, so another day like that will be inexcusable.
Gus Bradley vs. Mitch Trubisky
Jake Browning had a career day as the Colts’ defense looked clueless and unprepared against the Bengals. An up and down unit this year, they will get rookie cornerback Julius Brents back against the Steelers, and will get a chance to go against a backup quarterback at home. A bounceback performance, considering the offensive struggles as of late, would be the key to winning this one and staying in the playoff hunt.