FBG says: Neutral matchup. As has been the case for weeks, James Conner's status is unlikely to be known until the weekend. Conner has missed most of the Steelers' past five games with a shoulder injury, though he did seem closer last week. If Conner can't go, rookie Benny Snell should continue to carry the load in this backfield. Snell has taken on 43% of the Steelers' snaps over the past 2 weeks but 65% of the carries, totaling 161 yards at 4.4 per attempt. He's the definition of a plodder, lacking impressive speed or quickness, but he churns out moderate production behind the Steelers' dominant front line. He's posted more rushing efficiency than Conner (3.8 per carry), in fact. They'll get All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey back from suspension this week, which bodes well for the entire stable of backs. The surest thing here is Jaylen Samuels, though with just 34 carries in Conner's absence, he's settled firmly into a third-down role. It will be either Conner or Snell posting hefty rushing volume on Sunday; Friday's injury report will tell the tale.
The Cardinals run defense has served as one of 2019's most generous matchups. They've been fairly average from an efficiency standpoint, giving up 4.3 yards per carry, good for 17th in the league. But those numbers have largely been weighted down by a handful of favorable matchups. They've allowed strong rushing lines to a wide variety of runners, from the studs (Christian McCaffrey, Lamar Jackson) to the struggling (Devonta Freeman, Joe Mixon). Linebackers Jordan Hicks and Haason Reddick have served as one of the league's worst duos, routinely missing tackles on the second level. Safety Budda Baker has developed into a run-support star, but he's relied upon way too much by this shaky group. The Steelers will send tons of rushing volume at the Cardinals Sunday, and they project for solid efficiency to boot. Either James Conner or Benny Snell will boast a real shot at 25+ attempts and a 100-yard finish.