Actively Predicting the Inactive List: Week 15

The biggest week for the #1 seed in the AFC is finally upon us, and it has been an up and down week with players coming and going from full practice. Ryan Shazier was placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season. The good news is he started rehab yesterday, so hopefully he will be back on his feet soon. JuJu Smith-Schuster returned from suspension, taking Shazier’s roster spot, then promptly injured his hamstring in practice. He is now questionable for this week’s game.

Tyler Matakevich Is the biggest surprise of the week, he was limited on Wed and Thu, but returned to practice fully today, and is not listed as injured, so he will be a big boost to the defense, since he should start on Sunday.

Joe Haden returned to practice this week and was limited for all 3 practices, as he tested out his mended leg. I still think he is a week from playing, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if he suited up on Sunday.

Coty Sensabaugh and JuJu join Haden as questionable for this week’s game. JuJu was limited the entire week, though Coty was limited Wed and Thu, he practiced fully today. All 3 may be game time decisions, and it may come down to how they feel after warm ups, if they are going to play or not.

Vance McDonald can’t catch a break. After starting strong against Baltimore, he injured his shoulder, didn’t practice all week, and is officially listed as out. Vance showed a lot of promise, it what appeared to be his best game to date, hopefully he will return soon and be as effective going forward. It only makes the offense more dangerous to have another weapon at the ready.

And the much ado about nothing players: Maurkice Pouncey (hip), Stephon Tuitt (illness), and Le’Veon Bell (quad), all practiced fully on Friday and are not listed on the injury report. So all of them should be ready to start and play on Sunday.

I update the Injury/Suspension/Inactive/Fine spreadsheet daily. Bookmark it to track the status for the Steelers each week. Click HERE

There will be 7 inactive players for the game this week. I believe they will be:

1. Josh Dobbs: Healthy Scratch/ 3rd QB

2. Joe Haden: It’s a good sign that he returned to practice this week, but I think they are just starting to test his leg to see how it responds to action. I expect him to be ready next week against the Texans, not this week vs the Patriots.

3. Vance McDonald Vance is finding new and creative ways to be inactive. I hope he gets healthy soon, because he can be a difference maker in the run and passing games.

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster: It looks like he injured his hamstring during Wednesday’s practice or early Thursday, but in any event, it doesn’t look good for him being able to start, after a fresh injury and 2 limited practices.

5. Matt Feiler: Matt now seems to be the emergency offensive lineman. He will be inactive.

6. Dan McCullers: Big Dan doesn’t have a spot during games, with the line being so healthy. I expect him to be inactive again this week.

7. JJ Wilcox was inactive this past week, which came a bit as a surprise. With the secondary projecting that Coty should play, Wilcox should again be watching from the sidelines.

Week 14 was another 6 for 7. Bringing my yearly total to 83/99.

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