It’s Sunday Night Football at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh tonight, as the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers hope to pull an upset behind Brett Hundley. I never viewed Hundley as much of an NFL quarterback at UCLA in college, and he’s have troubles filling in for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Hundley often had difficulties hitting the deep ball with poor accuracy. His best asset in college was his running ability in the spread offense at UCLA. He isn’t fast enough to make it a focal point of his game in the NFL. Defenses at the professional level are way too fast for his legs. So, take away that out of his toolbox and he is left as a pocket-passer, which hasn’t gone so favorably for him thus far in his career.
Hundley will be making the sixth start of his career. The third-year QB didn’t see the field much in each of his previous two seasons. This is his third season, so it’s time for him to show something, or be shown the door. He’s going to have a tough time sticking around in the NFL if he doesn’t improve in the next month. There are some awful quarterbacks in the NFL, though, so maybe the ability to take a snap is good enough to be a backup these days. Hundley enters with 2 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, including a 60.8% completion percentage. His quarterback rating stands at an abysmal 63.3.
Among starting quarterbacks, Hundley is 32nd in the NFL with his substandard QB rating. Hundley desperately needs to get help out of the Packers’ running game. That hasn’t been the case, though, and has had to operate without the starting running back. Ty Montgomery has missed some time, and will be doubtful going into Pittsburgh on Sunday night. To add to their misfortunes, rookie runner Aaron Jones was arrested on marijuana charges a few weeks ago.
Fellow rookie Jamaal Williams has assumed the starting role for the Packers. He led the Pack with 57 yards rushing against the Ravens a week ago. It was a losing effort for the Packers, as they lost 23-0 and took their fourth loss in the last five games. With a record of 5-5, they are still statistically alive for a wildcard. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though, Packers’ fans.
Ben Roethlisberger plans on retiring soon, and a Super Bowl win this year would undoubtedly seal that decision. Roethlisberger already has two Super Bowls from 2006 and 2009. He is going for the hat-trick in 2017. The Steelers enter Sunday night with a record of 8-2 as they’re deadlocked with the Patriots in the AFC. A Steelers and Patriots AFC Championship would be perfectly fine with me. For the Steelers tonight, they must stay focused and not take the Packers lightly. The Packers are at a severe disadvantage with Hundley at QB, but they have to treat this game like it’s any other. Head below for our free Packers vs. Steelers pick for Sunday Night Football.
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds:
vs. Steelers -14(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Steelers Pick:
The Packers must get Hundley in a rhythm early in this contest. If he doesn’t find any kind of confidently in the early stages, this isn’t going to be a competitive game. He has to find some confidence in himself. No matter if he’s confident or not, I don’t think Hundley is talented enough to make much out of his career, but he could hang around as a backup. He will not be able to keep up with Roethlisberger on the scoreboard if he comes out throwing duds and his head is hanging low 10 minutes into the game. Hundley will contend with a quality defense on Sunday night. The Packers have turned back the clocks, and have been playing like an elite defensive unit.
The Steelers are allowing 287.6 points per game for 4th in the NFL. They are giving up only 16.5 points per game, which is good enough for 2nd. They haven’t given up more than 20 points since that debacle against the Jaguars on the 8th of October. That and an overtime loss to the Bears are the only games they’ve given up more than 20 on the scoreboard. Under Hundley, the Packers have averaged 13.4 points per game. The Steelers are 3rd at defending the pass, giving up just 190 yards per game. Hundley is going to have to find some breaks to move the ball on the Pittsburgh defense.
Pittsburgh will be without wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in this one. Smith-Schuster has shown plenty of potential as a rookie, but it shouldn’t impact their offense too much tonight. Clay Matthews exited last week against the Ravens and will be questionable to go for the Packers tonight. Steelers’ safety Mike Mitchell’s status is up in the air. He practiced in full on Wednesday, but was limited on Thursday.
With Hundley at quarterback, this may be one where Mitchell can sit out again and the Steelers will be fine. The Packers have had an extra few days to prepare for the Packers, after blowing the Titans away last Thursday night, 40-17. It’s hard to foresee Hundley having any success against the Steelers’ defense, who continue to get overlooked by the public. This isn’t Polamalu’s defense, but they can get after it on the defensive side. A final in the area of 30-13 for the Steelers looks likely. Not going to try and overthink this one.
PICK: STEELERS -14 (-110)