While the Steelers are getting their Defensive Player of the Year back, another key defender will be out for at least one game.
Pass rusher T.J. Watt was activated off injured reserve a day after telling reporters he expected to play against the Saints.
As a result, the Steelers downgraded safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to out this weekend due to appendicitis. The two-time All-Pro defensive back currently leads the team with three interceptions and ranks second with 45 tackles.
Pittsburgh will have to rely on Watt’s return up front to compensate for Watt’s absence on the back end.
The three-time All-Pro hasn’t played since suffering a pectoral injury during the season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Anyone planning to wield a Terrible Towel at Acrisure Stadium this weekend should be happy about that.
Since Watt’s injury, the Steelers have lost six of seven games, and their win against the Buccaneers was their lone victory without him.
Some of the struggles can be attributed to a rebuilding roster and learning to win again with rookie QB Kenny Pickett. However, the defense has also been a shell of its former self.
As the sack numbers show, Pittsburgh terrorized Joe Burrow with seven sacks in Week 1. Since then, the defense has managed only eight sacks.
Watt is healthy and back in the fold, so the Steelers will be able to make life tough for New Orleans even without Fitzpatrick.