The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers in Week 15 when the Buffalo Bills invaded Heinz Field and beat the home team 17-10 in their home finale of 2019. Throughout this hard-hitting affair, the Steelers were somehow able to escape the game unscathed with injuries.
This is good news, but let’s not assume the Steelers are a healthy team heading into the Week 16 visit to Metlife Stadium to play the New York Jets. No, there might not have been any new injuries to add to the list, but there are still players ailing who could help this team moving forward.
Before getting to the injuries, it should be noted how the Steelers, sitting at 8-6, still control their own destiny when it comes to the postseason. Win your next two games, and you are in. Lose one of the next two, and you now need to start scoreboard watching and hoping for help.
Who are the next two games?
at the Jets
at the Baltimore Ravens
Considering how important these two games are coming up, getting everyone back on the field is imperative to the team’s success. The biggest injury issue moving forward is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
It looked as if Smith-Schuster was eyeing a return to the field this week, but a re-aggravation of his knee injury had him go from a full participant Wednesday, to partial participation on Thursday and ruled out for the upcoming game on Friday.
This isn’t to suggest the Steelers haven’t done well with James Washington and Diontae Johnson in the lineup. They have done a commendable job, but imagine what the offense might look like if Smith-Schuster is there to help revive the group down the stretch.
Another injury to keep an eye on is tight end Vance McDonald, who left the Week 14 win over the Arizona Cardinals with a concussion. McDonald did practice in a limited capacity last week, so barring a setback could be in the lineup vs. the Jets this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Some might scoff at the notion these two individuals will make a huge impact in the offense with Devlin Hodges at quarterback, but the Steelers need all hands on deck the final two weeks of the season, and you want those players in the lineup to help round out the roster.
While Tomlin didn’t mention any other injuries during the post-game press conference, things can come up unexpectedly, so stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Stelers as they prepare for the Jets in Week 16.