NFL Week 10 Scouting Report: Packers visit Steelers

Steel City Underground will provide fans in Steelers Nation a pre-game scouting report of each of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ opponents during each week of the 2023 NFL regular season, comprised of items from top storylines and insights.

In Week 9 of the 2023 NFL regular season, the Green Bay Packers were able to break a four-game losing streak at Lambeau with a win over the Los Angeles Rams. In Week 10, they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, November 12 for an afternoon match at Acrisure Stadium with a 3-5 record. We look at the storylines surrounding the Packers ahead of the game in Pittsburgh.

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Packers’ offensive line will be tested heavily

Green Bay’s success against the Rams had a lot to do with improved play from their offensive line. They did a better job of protecting quarterback Jordan Love and were able to gain 184 yards rushing in the win. The run game eliminated much of the previously predictable passing situations Love was forced into in previous outings. As a result, Love completed 20-of-26 passes with a lot less pressure.

Against the Steelers, a defense that enters Week 10 with the sixth-highest pressure rate among all 32 NFL teams, Zach Tom and either Yosh Nijman (who’s dealing with an injury) or Rasheed Walker at the offensive tackle positions will be tasked with keeping T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith from being the one-two punch of a wrecking ball they’ve been this season to opponents.

“T.J.’s relentless. He’s one of those game-wreckers I was talking about. Then on the other side, Highsmith, he’s a baller as well. Not to mention all the guys they got on the interior line.” –  Packers head coach Matt LaFleur

Getting the ground game going in order to open up downfield passing opportunities will be the game plan. The Packers offense doesn’t want to be forced to be one-dimensional. That will require the offensive line to handle the heavy pressure and not break down.

“When you have the threat to run the ball, it changes the way defensive players play… It’s important for us to be able to establish the run early because when we don’t, you get into obvious passing situations, and defenses are able to tee off. So that’s the main focus.” – Zach Tom

“Different challenge this week, with the Steelers’ two impressive edge rushers in Watt and Highsmith, plus a guy like (Cameron) Heyward on the interior. This is a tough group all the way across. It’s not about zeroing in on one guy to stop from wrecking things. The Steelers have multiple guys who can do that.” – Mike Spofford, editor

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Injury overview

The Packers have a few players that fans will be keeping an eye on as the week advances, practices are finalized, and game day arrives.

Receiver Christian Watson, who was evaluated for chest and back injuries as well as a concussion after an awkward landing following a catch last week, was cleared for practice. Teammate Kenny Clark, who suffered a shoulder injury in the same game, was also at practice on Wednesday.

Nijman (back) and right guard Jon Runyan Jr. (neck) did not participate on Wednesday. Joining them were cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder) and linebacker Quay Walker (groin).

Safety Rudy Ford (calf) was limited in his participation, as were guard Elgton Jenkins (knee) and running back Aaron Jones (hamstring, and likely precautionary).

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Pack defense seeking big stops

Green Bay has been fielding a stout run defense, as evidenced by their allowing just 130 yards on the ground to opponents in the last two weeks, and a single touchdown, on 57 carries. The focus in Week 10 is on limiting missed tackles and getting off of blocks to keep Steelers rushers Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren from getting hot and opening up Pittsburgh’s offensive playbook for Kenny Pickett to hit George Pickens and Diontae Johnson on deep pass plays.

“We truly are invested into this. That’s the [positive] result we get when everybody is playing faster, everybody is trusting each other and playing physical. That’s the outcome we get – we win.” – DL Colby Wooden

Pittsburgh ranks 25th in rushing offense (90.5 ypg) and posted a season-high 166 rushing yards in last Thursday’s 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans. Green Bay remains ranked 23rd against the run (124.0 yards per game) but are 13th in per-carry average (3.97) after allowing just 2.28 the past two weeks.

That’s improvement the Packers want to see continue as they look for big stops in Sunday’s matchup.

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