Steelers and Panthers Riding Winning Streaks Entering TNF ShowdownBy David A.
The Carolina Panthers visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 10 of the NFL regular season. Carolina is bidding for its fourth consecutive win while Pittsburgh is playing for its fifth straight victory.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton engineered three touchdown drives during the fourth quarter to defeat Philadelphia October 21 prior throwing two touchdown passes in victories over the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton has thrown two touchdowns or more in seven straight games.
Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey totaled 157 yards from scrimmage – 79 on the ground and 78 receiving – in last Sunday’s 42-28 victory over Tampa Bay. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen caught a one-handed touchdown pass in the win.
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Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is the team leader in tackles with 64 and led the team with 14 in its last game versus Pittsburgh in 2014.
The Panthers hope center Ryan Kalil can play despite a bad ankle and not practicing on Tuesday.
Steelers rookie running back James Connor could etch his name amongst the elite of the franchise if he is able to rush for 100 or more yards in his fifth straight game, joining former Pittsburgh greats Jerome Bettis and Franco Harris two members of the NFL Hall of Fame.
Connor has 689 yards on just 108 touches with 88 carries and 20 receptions during his past four games, including 107 rushing and 56 receiving last week in the Steelers 23-16 victory over AFC North rival Baltimore.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger does not like Thursday games due to having a short week to prepare especially this one that comes after a tough physical game against Baltimore.
Big Ben has thrown seven TD passes without any interceptions in his last two games on Thursday while wide receiver Antonio Brown has caught three TD passes in each of his last two Thursday outings. Brown has eight touchdown receptions in his past six games this season.
Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is the team leader in receptions with 53, in receiving yards with 672 and in catches for 20 or more yards with nine.
Pittsburgh has played very well its last five weeks as has Carolina the last four weeks. The game is very evenly matched and a late turnover or big play making the difference. Take the Steelers less the 3.5 points in a 28-24 victory.