The Steelers face the Colts this week in a battle between the two lowest-seeded teams still in the AFC Playoff picture. As a result, the stakes couldn’t be much higher as both teams can’t afford to lose much this late in the season.
Having won four of their last five games, the Colts are still a very dangerous team despite not being among the AFC’s elite. Here are six players on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster to keep your eye on heading into Week 15.
G Quenton Nelson
Nelson was once a household name on the offensive line, and even though he isn’t quite the player he used to be, he made the Pro Bowl in 2023 and is still among the best at his position. The sixth-year guard is one of the leaders on the Colts’ offense line and he’ll have to step up on Saturday with Indy’s starting right tackle, Braden Smith, listed as out for the game.
Nelson will be a formidable matchup on the interior for the Steelers’ defensive line. He famously battled Cam Heyward in 2020, with the Steelers’ star winning the matchup more often than not. It’ll be a rematch for two great players as the Steelers take on the Colts.
WR Michael Pittman
Pittman is only 16 receiving yards away from a thousand yard season this year. He’s far and away the biggest receiving threat on the Colts’ offense, and he’ll surely be a priority for the Steelers’ defense to stop.
Pittman has been a consistent threat this year for the Colts, recording 50+ receiving yards in all but two contests this season. He’s a top-notch possession receiver who can still make big plays, often drawing comparisons to another former USC receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster. He has only found the end zone four times this season, but make no mistake: the Colts’ passing game still runs through Pittman. He’s one of the biggest reasons why the Colts have managed to have offensive success even with their starting quarterback out for the season.
TE Kylen Granson
Granson’s 22 catches for 264 yards and a touchdown on the season aren’t exactly the numbers that usually merit a spot on this list. But the truth is, the Steelers’ inability to cover any tight ends over the past few weeks means having a ‘TE’ next to your name on the depth chart is qualifying enough.
Granson leads the Colts’ tight ends in production this year, and for good reason. He’s an athletic, mismatch pass-catcher who recorded a 46-yard catch-and-run against the Titans two weeks ago. The young tight end has been an inconsistent presence on the Colts’ offense all year, but the Steelers’ defense has proven to be a great matchup for tight ends looking for breakout games. Keep your eye on Granson this Saturday, and while you’re at it, take note of Will Mallory and Mo Alie-Cox, two other capable tight ends on Indianapolis’ depth chart. Alie-Cox leads the group with two touchdowns on the season as a 6’5 red zone threat.
RB Zack Moss
Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor is set to miss Saturday’s game, but that still doesn’t mean that the Steelers will have an easy time defending the Colts’ run game. Taylor’s backup, Zack Moss, is a talented runner in his own right who has proven to be an effective weapon when Taylor is out of the lineup.
Moss has rushed for 750 yards, five touchdowns, and a 4.3 yards per carry average this season, impressive numbers for a running back who has had to share carries with Taylor for much of his season. This year, Moss has recorded two 120+ yard rushing games and eight games with over 50. However, he’s been in a bit of a slump lately, only breaking three yards per carry once in his last four games. Moss is a dangerous runner, but he’s in need of a bounce back game against the Steelers this Saturday. Pittsburgh’s run defense, led by run-stuffing linebacker Elandon Roberts, has looked strong at points this season, but they’ve often gotten worn down in the second halves of games.
DL DeForest Buckner
DeForest Buckner has been one of the NFL’s best and most consistent defensive linemen ever since he entered the league. At 6’7, Buckner is a long, athletic defender with impressive versatility. He’s equally effective against both the run and pass, with 5.5 sacks and 12 stuffs this year per ESPN.
With Steelers’ center Mason Cole having an incredibly rough year and left guard Isaac Seumalo questionable to play on Saturday, Buckner will present a challenge for the Steelers’ offensive line. He’s capable of completely wrecking Pittsburgh’s gameplan if given the chance.
CB Kenny Moore
One of the best defensive backs in the NFL, Moore has been a lockdown presence in the slot for the Colts for the past few seasons. But he’s more than just a cover corner, regarded as one of the NFL’s best defensive backs against the run as well as an elite nickel blitzer. So far this year, he’s recorded 81 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 5.5 stuffs per ESPN.
Moore is also a ballhawk, something that could play a big role in the game as the Colts take on a turnover-prone Mitch Trubisky and the Steelers’ offense. Moore has 17 career interceptions including three this year. He returned two of them for touchdowns in one game against the Panthers this year, and he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week as a result. The Steelers may not utilize the slot much in their offense, but Moore will still be a name to watch out for as he’s a weapon in every aspect of the game on defense.
After facing 2-10 teams in back-to-back weeks (and losing twice), the Steelers will face the 7-6 Colts in what will be the toughest matchup of the past few weeks for Pittsburgh.