August 19, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Steve McLendon (90) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
These two teams last regular season game was in Week 16 of 2010, and it was a game the Panthers would probably rather forget. Behind some electrifying plays from WR Mike Wallace and five sacks from the Steelers defense, Pittsburgh blew out the visiting Panthers 27-3.
It was a dismal point for Carolina, as they'd go 2-14 that year, with many losses like the one at the hands of the Steelers. However, the down year put them in line to draft franchise QB Cam Newton, who already helped them improve four games from 2010 to 2011.
Carolina's still a team on the rise, and could improve a bit again this season. Newton is probably the most dynamic passer - if not player - in the NFL, and his upside is as high as his 6-foot-5 frame stands.
Granted, this is preseason, and it'd be surprising if Newton even saw the field tonight, but such is the nature of the preseason. We've got to talk about something in regards to the opponent.
The Steelers, on the other hand, look to hammer down a few final roster spots, and perhaps more now than they initially thought. The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed on a new rule that would allow a team to pull a player on injured-reserve back after a certain point in the season.
Steelers RG David DeCastro is a perfect option for that, and if that is the plan, he'll have to be put on the active roster at the deadline, 9 p.m. Friday. If he's placed on the IR on or after Sept. 4, he's eligible to be pulled back during the season (the exact date has not yet been agreed upon, and we'll update the story when we receive confirmation).
That could mean tonight's game frees up another roster spot. The question is which player and/or which position? The smart money seems to be on a linebacker, particularly, one who can contribute on special teams. Watch who newly minted special teams coach Amos Jones has on his coverage units tonight.
It could also be a defensive lineman. Al Woods and Corbin Bryant have both played well so far this training camp, and are both on the bubble for what appears to be one final defensive line spot, behind Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Casey Hampton, Steve McLendon, Cam Heyward and Alameda Ta'amu.