The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a significant change to their lineup as they name third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph as the starter for their upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16 of the NFL season. The decision comes as the Steelers hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, with a 3% chance to make the playoffs as an AFC wild-card team, according to a projection by Upshot.
The Bengals, currently sitting at an 8-6 record, are looking to solidify their postseason position and potentially end the Steelers’ playoff hopes with a road victory on Saturday. In a season filled with ups and downs for the Steelers, head coach Mike Tomlin is facing pressure as his job could be in jeopardy if the team fails to secure a long-shot playoff berth.
The Steelers’ starting quarterback, Kenny Pickett, has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain and underwent surgery, leaving backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky to start the last three games, all of which resulted in losses. With the offense struggling under Trubisky, the decision was made to give Rudolph, who has experience as a starter, the opportunity to lead the team.
Rudolph, a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has had previous experience as a starter and has been described as a good idea guy by Tomlin and the coaching staff. The team hopes that the change under center will bring about a much-needed spark to the offense.
Looking ahead to the upcoming game, the Steelers are considered +2 home underdogs in a must-win situation, while the Bengals are favored to win despite being without star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The odds reflect the uphill battle the Steelers face as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In the betting world, the Steelers are considered significant underdogs to make the playoffs, with odds of +900, but they still have a glimmer of hope to defy the odds. On the other hand, the Bengals are also underdogs to make the playoffs, with slightly more favorable odds. However, both teams face an uphill battle in a highly competitive AFC.
Ultimately, the Steelers are viewed as long shots in the betting world, with low odds to win the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship. As they prepare to face the Bengals in a crucial matchup, all eyes will be on Rudolph and the Steelers as they look to defy the odds and keep their playoff hopes alive.