CBS Sports’ bold predictions for Week 12 include Colts blowing out Steelers in football on Monday night

It’s been a pretty difficult season so far for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are sitting at 3-7 and having a difficult trip to Indianapolis for a Monday Night Football matchup with the equally struggling Colts in front of a national crowd.

The Colts have dealt with their own issues, from poor play down the offensive line, injuries on defense, the bench press and Matt Ryan’s reinstatement in the lineup, the firing of Frank Reich and the impressive hiring of Jeff Saturday as ESPN’s interim head coach and more. But the Steelers have had significant problems of their own, including injuries, poor play by key figures, a pathetic offense and the decision to switch from Mitch Trubisky to under center rookie Kenny Pickett to start the growth and development process for the coveted first-round Selection.

Both teams have been a mess for the most part this season, but CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin believes there will be a clear winner in Week 12 of Monday Night Football, the Colts in Blowout style, at least based on his bold predictions for the week.

β€œThe matchup calls for an ugly low-scoring affair, but consider the Steelers could lose two key players in Jaylen Warren, who brings some much-needed pop to Najee Harris’ lumbering ground game. and center Mason Cole, rookie QB Kenny Pickett’s first line of defense,” Benjamin writes for his bold prediction for Colts-Steelers. “Also consider that Indy has a top 10 ‘D’ that only limited the Eagles to 17 points and all Matt Ryan and co could need are a few hits to run away with. Pittsburgh’s leaky high school should provide opportunities for Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell to flee.”

The Steelers could do without the services of Warren and Cole offensively on Sunday, that much is correct. While they were overall solid players for the black-gold offense, those players’ losses wouldn’t be too detrimental to Monday night’s matchup. Granted, Warren is a dynamic player, one who’s been an integral part of limited offensive tackle this season, but without being a second runback isn’t that much of an issue.

Neither did Cole’s potential loss for the week. Cole walked out of the Week 11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals around halftime and missed the entire second half, forcing the Steelers to turn to JC Hassenauer in his place. Hassenauer, to his credit, played well in 41 snaps and recorded an overall 67.2 grade from PFF in the matchup, including a 66.2 run blocking grade and a 68.2 pass blocking grade.

Hassenauer will be available for at least a week in the middle of the Steelers offensive.

However, defensive issues were a big issue in Week 11 against the Bengals. Though the Colts don’t have as much star power as the Bengals, Ryan remains a good quarterback, one who could split a struggling Steelers secondary with Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce and Paris Campbell as his top weapons, not to mention star running behind Johnathan Taylor in the backfield.

However, predicting a blowout is bold. The Steelers have been beaten twice this season to the Buffalo Bills (38-3) and the Philadelphia Eagles (35-13); three times if you wanted to include the 29-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night football. The blowouts against the Bills and the Eagles happened on the street, and the matchup against the Colts is on the street.

However, Indianapolis’ offense isn’t as explosive as either of those teams, which will make it difficult for the Colts to accumulate points in bunches. The real concern for the Steelers will come up against a top-flight Colts defense with a rookie quarterback on the road in prime time.

Pickett has consistently shown that no moment is too big for him, but this could be the best defense he’ll face all season. The Colts have great players at all three levels with names like DeForest Buckner and Yannick Ngakoue in the trenches, Bobby Okereke as a linebacker, and former Defensive Player of the Year at cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

It will be a tall order for the Steelers on Monday night against a Colts who, despite their struggles, still has a ton of talent. However, it’s hard to believe a blowout will happen, especially with the Steelers getting healthier and having an extra day of prep this week. However, stranger things have happened.


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