The Green Bay Packers are set to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season. At 3-5, they have a great deal of work to do if they have any hope of sniffing the playoffs this season, though they are coming off of a confidence-boosting win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week Nine.
Pittsburgh, at 5-3, need to keep pace with the rest of their teams in their division. The Baltimore Ravens lead the AFC North with a 7-2 record while the Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals all have the same record.
Like the Packers, the Steelers’ best and most consistent unit is their defense, led by former Wisconsin Badgers linebacker TJ Watt. Indeed, the Pittsburgh defense has won several games for the team when the offense was held at bay.
The Steelers’ defense may be the toughest unit Green Bay faces all year, but they will be missing a couple significant contributors.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Will Likely Be Without Minkah Fitzpatrick Against the Green Bay Packers
One of the best players on the Steelers’ defense is three-time First-Team All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2022, Fitzpatrick led the NFL with six interceptions, was a First-Team All-Pro, made his third Pro Bowl, and finished tenth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
He has yet to record an interception this season, but is just as much of a lockdown defender allowing just 16 receptions on 26 targets, and has not allowed a touchdown (he gave up five last year).
Like many Packers players, though, Fitzpatrick is dealing with a hamstring injury that has caused him to miss the last two weeks of practice and their most recent game against the Tennessee Titans.
There was some hope that he would be able to return for the game against Green Bay, but Noah Strackbein, who covers the Steelers for Sports Illustrated reports:
“Tomlin didn’t sound too optimistic about Fitzpatrick’s availability this week, saying he could have some participation by week’s end. The All-Pro is ‘improving,’ but it appears unlikely he will be active and instead miss a second week. A return to practice would make his first day back in two weeks.”
Obviously, this is a big break for the Packers’ youthful offense, though seeing injuries is never a good thing. That being said, Jordan Love and his pass catchers really started to mesh in the second half of the Rams’ game, with Love completing more downfield passes than he had in a game all season.
Not having Fitzpatrick is a big blow to the Steelers’ defense, one that Green Bay can hopefully take advantage of.