NFL

COVID-19 Could Turn out to Be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Toughest Opponent

Although Sunday’s game against the lowly Dallas Cowboys was a struggle, the Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 8-0. They remain the lone undefeated team in the NFL. They will try to make it nine straight wins to begin the 2020 season when they host the Cincinnati Bengals this week. Their toughest opponent this Sunday, however, might not be those wearing tiger-striped helmets.

The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled against the Cowboys

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The Pittsburgh Steelers entered last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys unbeaten at 7-0 and as a two-touchdown favorite. Things weren’t easy for Pittsburgh to remain perfect. The Steelers were forced to rally from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to pull out a 24-19 victory.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit tight end Eric Ebron with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 2:14 left to play to give the Steelers the lead for the first time. They held on to win against the 2-7 Cowboys. “I joke I feel like I’m too old for this stuff,” Roethlisberger said, according to Steelers.com. “But we keep winning, having fun with the guys, that’s all that matters.”

The victory put the Steelers at 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. “We’re humbled and honored to be that group,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I’m really proud of our football team. We’ve got a group that sticks together, a group that’s mentally tough.”

The Steelers have a very favorable schedule

In the NFL, there are no gimmes. If there was a gimme, last week’s Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys game would’ve been one. The Steelers came in as a 14.5-point favorite and trailed for the first 57 minutes of the game. It was far from a cakewalk.

With that said, in the Steelers’ next two games, they will be significant favorites. This Sunday they are home to the Cincinnati Bengals and then they’ll travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thanksgiving weekend, the Steelers will face their biggest challenge for the rest of the season. They’ll host the Baltimore Ravens, a team they outlasted 28-24 on the road in Week 8.

Rounding out Pittsburgh’s schedule are home games against the Washington Football Team in Week 13 and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16. Their Week 14 game at the Buffalo Bills could pose a problem as Buffalo cruised past the high-powered Seattle Seahawks last week. They also have road games against the Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

COVID-19 could be the Steelers’ biggest threat

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a huge turnaround from last season when they went 8-8. Two weeks into the 2019 season, Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season with an elbow injury. He’s healthy again this year and the Steelers have the best record in football.

With tight end Vance McDonald already on the Steelers’ reserve/COVID-19 list, four more members of the team joined him Tuesday, including Roethlisberger. Vince Williams, Jaylen Samuels, and Jerald Hawkins have been added to the list and will be isolated for five days. The four were deemed to have had close contact with McDonald and were placed on the list.

The four can return Saturday if they show no positive tests and exhibit no symptoms. Head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t seem overly concerned with Roethlisberger missing practice all week, according to NFL.com. “I have very little concern about it, to be very honest with you,” he said.