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Predicting the Steelers’ Week 13 inactive list vs. the Browns

There is a chance the Steelers could have identical inactive lists two weeks in a row

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Heading into Week 13, it’s been the first time in a while the Steelers did not make any roster moves throughout the week. While the players on the roster may remain the same, making a change a quarterback is far more impactful than switching up guys on the practice squad. Regardless, there’s also a chance that the Steelers inactive list won’t have much of a change from last week.

While it’s nice to not have that much different when it comes to who is active on game day, it is frustrating that the same players are dealing with injuries who will not play in the game. The prognosis is not as bad as last week for some, so let’s take a look at who could end up inactive on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.


Game Status

Out:
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee)

Doubtful:
RB James Conner (shoulder)

Questionable:
CB Artie Burns (knee)


Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 13:

Definitely:

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster- no longer in the concussion protocol, JuJu is solely dealing with a knee injury at this point. Unfortunately, this will be the first time he misses back-to-back games in his short NFL career.

Most Likely:

RB James Conner- as has been stated numerous times, when a player is doubtful for the Steelers they might as well be considered out. For James Conner, his status increased slightly after getting a little bit of playing time at practice this week. I don’t look for him to be ready to take any contact, so he’ll sit out on Sunday

QB Paxton Lynch- there is the slightest chance the Steelers could shock everyone and keep Lynch active in favor of Mason Rudolph. It would be a very big surprise. So big, I’m not even listing Rudolph as a possibility.

OT Chukwuma Okorafor- life in the NFL can be crazy sometimes. Chuks went from playing every snap in one game to not being active since.

TE Zach Gentry- the Steelers are barely using the two tight ends they have active. There’s no reason to waste a roster spot with a third.

Possibly:

CB Artie Burns or Justin Layne- with Burns having a questionable status, this one could go either way. Layne did a great job as a gunner opposite of Johnny Holton last game, so the Steelers could give Burns another week to rest since this roster position is pretty much delegated to special teams.

LB Robert Spillane or Tuzar Skipper- with all linebackers healthy, one of these two guys will have to sit. Last week it was Skipper, but if he gets up to speed on everything it’s hard to say if he would ever jump ahead of Spillane in the special-teams department.

Unlikely:

RB Kerrith Whyte Jr. or Trey Edmunds- the Steelers seem to be set on dressing four running backs since they are not using the fullback position anymore with Roosevelt Nix on IR. If James Conner ever returns, it will be interesting to see who the Steelers don’t have available on game day.


Projected Inactive List:

  1. JuJu Smith-Scuster
  2. James Conner
  3. Artie Burns
  4. Paxton Lynch
  5. Zach Gentry
  6. Chuks Okorafor
  7. Tuzar Skipper

I’m going with a repeat of last week’s inactive list. The biggest wildcard is probably Artie Burns with his injury. Could the Steelers choose to have both of them active in favor of someone like Robert Spillane? It’s possible. I guess we’ll see Sunday morning.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.