The Carolina Panthers are 2-0 going into tonight’s Sunday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and with Cam Newton back for the second week stand a good shot at ending the night 3-0. The Panthers defense has been better than expected this year, which should challenge Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. But Newton will be the highlighted QB tonight as he stares down a less-than-formidable Pittsburgh defense.
The Steelers are synonymous with stout defense, but through two weeks they’re struggling on the line. Their pass defense is solid, allowing 182 yards per game (7th best in the NFL). But they’re allowing almost that many yards on the ground (174) and rank 25th in the league for points allowed.
Against most quarterbacks Pittsburgh’s good passing defense would be a good sign. But Newton is a strong dual-threat quarterback, and he now has one full game under his belt. Newton started last week against the Detroit Lions and ran the defense ragged. The former No. 1 overall pick went 22-for-34 for 281 yards and a passing touchdown, and he racked up 20 more yards on the ground.
Pittsburgh’s Roethlisberger has a lower QBR than Newton (43.7 to 55.2), but his ability to fill-up a stat line will be a test as you watch the Panthers game and their fifth-rated defense. Through two games Roethlisberger has completed 45 of 71 passes for 582 yards and 1 TD. The Panthers, though ranked fifth in overall defense, are allowing 207.5 passing yards per game, placing them 12th in the league.
The Steelers seem to have the advantage on the ground, where running back Le’Veon Bell has led them to an average of 113 rushing yards per game. The Panthers average just 87.5. Still, the point spread for tonight’s Panthers Steelers game is 3.5 in Carolina’s favor.
You can watch the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Carolina Panthers for Sunday Night Football live tonight on NBC. Kickoff from Bank of America Stadium is scheduled for 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST. You can also watch Steelers vs Panthers live online free Sunday Night Football via the NBC Sports Live Extra page or DirecTV’s website. That second option requires you to subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket package with MAX, but all subscribers can watch the game online free via the DirecTV live stream on a smartphone, tablet or PC.