10 Steelers who present possible matchup nightmares for the Eagles

Alex Highsmith #56, Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Alex Highsmith #56, Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

They’ve been both allies and hostile adversaries. They don’t meet often, but the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL’s two teams from our great country’s Keystone State have met 80 times on the gridiron to take part in their version of a battle for in-state bragging rights.

You may not have known this had you not checked, but the Birds have owned the series with an all-time record of 48-29-3. They’d probably trade that for Pittsburgh’s six Super Bowls though.

Once upon a time, the 1943 NFL season to be exact, they joined forces as the Steagles after players on both sides were lost to military service during World War II. They barely finished above .500 with a 5-4-1 record while failing to qualify for the postseason.

Here we sit, many moons later, with two proud franchises seemingly headed in opposite directions. Make no mistake about it though. Our beloved Birds can’t fall asleep behind the steering wheel once kickoff arrives.

Here are ten Steelers that can help fuel an upset over the Eagles in Week 8.

Don’t let the 2-5 record fool you. The Pittsburgh Steelers are always a tough out for their opponent. We’d expect nothing less from a team coached by Mike Tomlin. Here are ten players from the Black and Gold that can shift the game’s momentum on a single play, ten guys Nick Sirianni’s coaching staff had better have a plan for.

Kenny Pickett, quarterback

It hasn’t gone the way he or his team would like, but the Kenny Pickett era is underway. There are a few things to be excited about. He’s completed almost 69 percent of his passes while showing some athleticism, but seven interceptions during four in-game appearances with three starts isn’t a recipe for success. Either way, you have to keep an eye on him.

Najee Harris, running back

Najee Harris isn’t necessarily setting the world on fire. 3.3 yards per carry on average isn’t going to earn him any Sportscenter moments, but at six-foot-one and 232 pounds, this isn’t someone that you want charging at you with a full head of steam for four quarters. On the season, he boasts 329 yards, seven first downs, and a touchdown run on 100 attempts from scrimmage.

George Pickens, wide receiver

Always a highlight-reel play waiting to happen, rookie wide receiver George Pickens ranks first on the Steelers’ offense in receiving yards (338) and second in yards per reception despite being the fourth-most targeted receiver.

Diontae Johnson, wide receiver

Diontae Johnson is one yard behind Pickens in receiving yardage with 337 big ones of his own. He has yet to reach the end zone in 2022, but he’s been a headache for opposing defenses all season. He could also be a headache for the Eagles’ secondary on Sunday.

Pat Freiermuth, tight end

In 2021, tight ends gave the Eagles’ defense fits in the passing game. Jonathan Gannon’s unit has been up to the task so far this season, but Pat Freiermuth won’t give Philadelphia a day off in Week 8.

Cameron Sutton, cornerback

Jalen Hurts will need to continue making good decisions while delivering the football, especially when throwing in Cameron Sutton’s direction. Perhaps Pittsburgh’s best cover guy, he already has two interceptions and six pass breakups in six games. He was inactive for Week 6’s game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Myles Jack, linebacker

Picked up by the Steelers this offseason after spending his first six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Myles Jack has done well with the new opportunity. He leads Pittsburgh in total tackles (68) and those of the solo variety (42).

Alex Highsmith, linebacker

With T.J. Watt on the shelf, Alex Highsmith is Pittsburgh’s best sack artist. He’s added 6.5 to his professional resume this season while also tallying 26 tackles, nine additional quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. The Eagles’ offense needs to keep tabs on him at all times.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety

Minkah Fitzpatrick was once one of those disgruntled players looking for a new home that the Eagles had goo-goo eyes for. He landed in Pittsburgh and has since racked up 242 tackles, 14 interceptions, 32 pass breakups, and three forced fumbles in 52 regular-season games. He’s a two-time First-Team All-Pro and a two-time Pro Bowler for a reason.

Cameron Heyward, defensive end

Another of the Steelers’ defensive all-stars, Cameron Heyward was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2020. He’s also a three-time First-Team All-Pro (2017, 2019, 2021) that has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past five seasons. So far this year, he’s come up with 29 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

We expect an Eagles win, but they’ll have their hands full on both sides of the ball all afternoon.

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