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Steelers vs. Redskins Preview and Predictions


Following their surprise run to the NFC East title in 2015, expectations are heightened for the Washington Redskins as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night in the season opener for both teams. Washington is looking to build upon its closing run a year ago, when it finished the regular season with four consecutive victories.

"We have a great opportunity to go be effective and play well and that's exciting and something for our fans to be excited about," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "But, we've got to go out and prove it." Washington made a bold move to bolster its defense by signing Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, setting up a marquee matchup with Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh will be without a pair of key weapons as running back Le'Veon Bell is serving a three-game suspension and wide receiver Martavis Bryant is out for the year for violations of the league's substance abuse policy. The offense should still be potent behind the leadership of two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but there are concerns over a defense that ranked 30th against the pass last season.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Steelers -3. O/U: 50

ABOUT THE STEELERS (2015: 10-6, second in the AFC North): Once renowned for its Steel Curtain defense, Pittsburgh has evolved into an offensive juggernaut, with Roethlisberger leading the league with an average of 328.2 yards per game last season and Brown hauling in a mind-boggling 375 receptions and 31 touchdown catches in the past three years. "It starts and it ends with him," Norman said of Brown. "That's going to be a tall task to take on." DeAngelo Williams was more than a capable replacement last season while subbing for a suspended and injured Bell, rushing for 11 TDs and 907 yards. Defensive ends Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward and linebacker Ryan Shazier are top talents but the secondary remains suspect after yielding an average of 271.9 yards in 2015.

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (2015: 9-7, first in the NFC East): One knock against Washington last season, aside from being the only team to finish above .500 in its division, was not beating one opponent with a winning record. Nonetheless, Cousins thrived in his first full season as the starter, becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for at least 4,000 yards (4,166) and 25 touchdowns (29), and has one of the league's top tight ends in Jordan Reed, who enjoyed a breakout season with 87 receptions and 11 scores. There are questions about a ground game headed by Matt Jones, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing much of the preseason with a shoulder injury, and a defense that ranked 28th last year despite 9.5 sacks from linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Pittsburgh's 41 wins on Kickoff Weekend are the most by any AFC team.

2. Redskins WR DeSean Jackson averages 17.7 yards per catch in his career, the most in the league since 2008.

3. Brown tied for the NFL lead with 136 receptions in 2015 and his 265 catches in the past two seasons are the most in any two-year span.

Prediction

Free Daily Lock Pick: NBA: Miami vs. Milwaukee - August 6th - (100% Confidence Release)

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Stadium

FedEx Field
Landover, Maryland, USA.
Capacity: 79,000

Last Injuries

Washington Football Team

  • Josh Harvey-Clemons

    Personal
    I-R | I-R

    Harvey-Clemons is going to sit out the entire 2020 season due to a personal reason. As a result, the team has put him on the Injured Reserve/Opt-Out list.

  • Logan Thomas

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Thomas will have to quarantine for an unknown length while on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list.

  • Kelvin Harmon

    Knee
    I-R | I-R

    Harmon will miss the entire 2020 season due to a torn ACL while on the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Injury list.

  • Emanuel Hall

    Achilles
    I-R | I-R

    Hall has reverted to the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Injury list after clearing waivers with a torn Achilles tendon.

  • Reuben Foster

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Foster has hit the active PUP list while recovering from a torn MCL and ACL, and the severity of the injury is unknown.

  • Caleb Brantley

    Personal
    I-R | I-R

    Brantley is on the Injured Reserve/Higher Risk Opt-Out list after informing the team that he will sit out the duration of the 2020 season.

  • Alex Smith

    Leg
    Ques Week 1 | I-R

    Smith is recovering from surgery to repair a compound fracture in his right tibia and right fibula. he has been placed on the active PUP list, and it is unclear if he will be ready for Week 1 versus the Eagles.

  • Cody Latimer

    Personal
    Out indefinitely | out

    Latimer has landed on the commissioner's exempt list by the NFL as the league will review an off-field incident that he was involved in.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Jaylen Samuels

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Samuels has been designated for the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it remains unclear when he will return.

  • James Washington

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Washington has landed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and there is currently no timetable for return.

  • Justin Layne

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Layne has been placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Arrion Springs

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Springs is on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and there is no timetable for recovery.