Buccaneers To Host Steelers on Monday Night: (Sept. 24) Time Start, Channel, Players To Watch
The tables have turned in what has been an unpredictable NFL season, notably for the winless Pittsburgh Steelers, who are set to visit the undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight on Monday Night Football on ESPN (8:15 P.M. EST).
Both squads are at odds with what was expected of them, with the Bucs destined to be the bottom feeders of a cutthroat NFC South division, and the Steelers in control of another lousy year of the AFC North. Tampa’s two wins have the temporary hold above the New Orleans Saints, and the Steelers’ loss and tie keep them at the bottom, setting the table for what will be a pivotal matchup for the NFL playoffs very early on in the season.
Almost all credence for such a compelling matchup must be lent to the quarterbacks of the respective teams. Bucs slinger Ryan Fitzpatrick, initially the understudy for starter Jameis Winston, boasts a league-leading 819 passing yards. His 12 touchdowns are second only to the red-hot Patrick Mahomes, an arm the Steelers are all too familiar with. A league-high 151.5 QB rating for Fitzpatrick surpasses even Mahomes, who like Fitzpatrick, is a leading MVP candidate. Both are bad news for the fragmented Pittsburgh defense.
The 25th-ranked defense in Pittsburgh could be on the receiving end of another onslaught by the Bucs offense, one that ravaged the Saints in New Orleans and the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles. A bright spot for the 11 defenders is the addition of Pro-Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, who returns from a hamstring injury Monday night. The absence of star running back Le’Veon Bell, whose backup James Conner has been more than effective, continues to be the story of the 2018 season for the Steelers, who reportedly began accepting offers for the three-time Pro-Bowler.
In either case, the NFL playoff implications are rife in this Monday night matchup.