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Steelers Injury Update: Kenny Pickett Out, Mitch Trubisky to Start

Posted on: December 5, 2023, 12:25h. 

Last updated on: December 5, 2023, 12:40h.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny aggravated a right ankle injury on Sunday and will miss a couple of weeks while he recovers from surgery. Backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky will start for the Steelers in place of Pickett until he returns.

Steelers Kenny Pickett injury
Two defenders from the Arizona Cardinals sack Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett at Heinz Field. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The Steelers (7-5) are in the thick of a playoff hunt. They recently fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada because his play calling had grown stale and stagnant.

The Steelers have a quick turnaround before they face the New England Patriots on “Thursday Night Football” this week. The Patriots (2-10) are dealing with their own offensive woes and are +5 road underdogs in Pittsburgh in Week 14.

The Steelers are 7-5 against the point spread (ATS) this season. The Patriots are the worst betting team in the NFL this season with a 2-10 ATS record.

Pickett Down, Mitch Trubisky Time

Pickett had been dealing with a lingering ankle injury, which he aggravated in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Pickett exited late in the second quarter, and Trubisky finished the game.

The Cardinals held off the Steelers, 24-10, and improved to 3-10 on the season.

Pickett was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and decided to undergo tightrope surgery. He had a similar procedure done on his other ankle in 2020 when he was in college at Pitt. He returned to action after four weeks.

The Steelers haven’t designated Pickett to the IR, but he’s definitely not playing the Patriots on a short week.

Pickett exited three games this season due to injuries. Trubisky came on relief in all three contests, which the Steelers lost.

Mitch’s been a franchise quarterback before,” said head coach Mike Tomin. “He’s comfortable in those shoes. He doesn’t behave like a backup as being elevated, and I think those are things that make him attractive.”

Trubisky, a former #2 pick in the NFL Draft, has a career record of 31-24 as a starter mostly with the Chicago Bears. Trubisky went 2-3 as a starter with the Steelers last season.

In three games this season, Trubisky completed 59.2% of his passes for 273 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Another Injured Quarterback in the AFC

If the season ended today, the Steelers would secure the #5 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Baltimore Ravens (9-3) hold down first place in the AFC North, and the Steelers are in second place. The Cleveland Browns (7-5) are in third place in the division, and the Cincinnati Bengals (6-6) are in last place, but within striking distance.

The Steelers are one of four potential playoff squads in the AFC that could be starting a backup quarterback in Week 14.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently the #4 playoff seed in the AFC. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence sprained his ankle in an overtime loss on “Monday Night Football.” Backup C.J. Beathard will start if Lawrence is unable to play on Sunday.

The Cleveland Browns are currently in the #6 seed. They lost Deshaun Watson to a season-ending shoulder injury. His backup, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson is currently in concussion protocol, so veteran Joe Flacco is penciled in as the starter.

The Indianapolis Colts are currently the #7 seed as the potential third and final AFC wild-card team. Backup Gardner Minshew has been starting for the Colts ever since rookie quarterback Anthony Thompson went down with a season-ending shoulder injury.

The Bengals are on the playoff bubble, but they also have a backup quarterback at the helm. Starter Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury, and backup Jake Browning started the last couple of games.

Betting the Steelers Despite the Pickett Injury

The Ravens are the consensus favorite to win the AFC North at -600 odds, followed by the Steelers (+800), Browns (+850), and Bengals (+15000). The Ravens have an 86% chance to lock up the division title, according to a projection by Upshot. The Steelers have a 7% chance, and the Browns have a 6% chance.

The Steelers have five remaining games, including three on the road. They host the Patriots on Thursday, and then the Bengals in Week 16. They hit the road for games against the Colts in Week 15, the Seattle Seahawks on New Year’s Eve, and end the season in Baltimore against the Ravens in Week 18.

Aside from the Ravens, the other three teams in the AFC North are jockeying for three AFC wild-card berths. The Browns have a 59% chance to make the playoffs, and the Steelers have a 52% chance according to Upshot. The Bengals are a serious postseason long shot with less than a 1% chance.

The Steelers are +3500 odds to win the AFC Championship and +7500 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII, according to DraftKings’ NFL futures board.

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