All Eyes On Monday Night

USA Today

By. Jonathan Clark
SteelerNation.com

 

FOOTBALL IS BACK! Tonight, the Houston Texans will take on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to kick off the fan-less 2020 NFL season. Although the fans will not be in the stands, I can imagine that the majority of them will be tuned in for their first taste of NFL football in 2020. For Steelers fans, it just means it’s one day closer to Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium.

With no preseason games entering the regular season, many are predicting games to be sloppy for the first couple of weeks. Teams are expected to take a couple of weeks to usually get it altogether, a time that would normally be replaced by the preseason games. While that may be the case, we should all be thankful that we finally get to watch an NFL football game with teams competing for that coveted Lombardi Trophy. 

The Steelers first test will be against the New York Giants. On paper, it seems like the Steelers will win the football game. The matchups all around the football field pretty much favor the Steelers in more ways than not, but the Giants are a new and young football team with star RB Saquon Barkley and 2nd year QB Daniel Jones keeping the Giants fans’ excitement alive. With new head coach and Bill Belichick protege Joe Judge at the helm, the Giants are in rebuilding mode, but in a season like this, any team can find themselves on top. The Steelers are favorites in this game and rightfully so, they are the more experienced team and have more playmakers than the Giants on both sides of the ball, and as we all know, playmakers do their best work in primetime. 

That being said, there are three positions that I am going to be keeping an eye out on during the game on Monday night. 

First is the running back position. Earlier this week, Head Coach Mike Tomlin stated that they are going to evaluate the running back position week by week, ending the conversation by saying that James Conner is still his “bell-cow” to start the season. It’s going to be exciting for me to see  if all of these running backs we have will find time on the field standing behind Ben Roethlisberger

There has been a lot of hype about 2nd year RB Benny Snell Jr. dating back to last season where he showcased his abilities to all of SteelerNation, and many are expecting him to have a bigger role this upcoming year. The Steelers also kept 3rd year RB Jaylen Samuels and rookie Anthony McFarland on the roster, and we have to believe that there are plans for both. I don’t think we will see much of McFarland much on Monday night, given his lack of experience of an NFL football field, but I think he will be a guy that they ease into the game week by week in hopes one week he will go off. But it will be interesting to see if we get a glimpse of Samuels in this game. Samuels has been a solid RB for us these past couple of seasons with some key performances, it just seems like he can’t find his complete role with this football team, but when he is on the field, he makes an impact. It will be interesting to see the rotation of RB and how each of them will be used in different situations. 

Second is the wide receiver position. With star JuJu Smith-Schuster locking up the #1 spot, there are many questions surrounding the depth chart underneath him. The Steelers seem to have a luxury of WR talend at the moment. Behind Smith-Schuster, there is 3rd year guy James Washington, 2nd year Diontae Johnson, and rookie Chase Claypool out of Notre Dame. There is excitement surrounding all of these guys, but the questions are who will see the playing field most. We expect the majority of the snaps to go to Smith-Schuster, Washington and Johnson on Monday night, and hopefully get a good look at Claypool to see just what the hype is all about. In my opinion, this is a big year for the position and each of these guys has a shot to pencil themselves in as starters with quality performances week in and week out. This position needs to step up in 2020 and it looks like we have the right group of guys to do so. 

Lastly, is the obvious. Save the best for last. How can you not be excited to see Ben Roethlisberger slinging it again on Monday night? I feel like my eyes will be glued to our franchise QB each snap. With the reports this off-season from many around the organization saying that Roethlisberger looks good and stating that his arm is looking better than ever, it is hard not to get excited about this upcoming season. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has put some pressure on the two-time Super Bowl winning QB saying that we actually might get to see a better Roethlisberger than we have before. Obviously time will tell and this season is long. Monday is just one game in a 16 game marathon, but man, isn’t it going to be nice to see Roethlisberger taking a snap behind Maurkice Pouncey again? Hopefully with a win to follow.

This Monday night a lot of questions will be answered, and the wait will finally be over. Our 2020 Steelers will be ready to go underneath Coach T in hopes of hoisting that coveted 7th Lombardi Trophy!

 

Let us know where your eyes will be focused on this Monday night! Comment Below!

#SteelerNation

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