Ben Roethlisberger was recently upgraded to questionable for the Pittsburgh Steelers game against the Kansas City Chiefs tomorrow at 1 p.m., but it appears as though he will only be a spectator. Despite backup quarterback Michael Vick being awful in the past few games, the Steelers still have an impressive 4-2 record, which is good for 2nd place in the AFC North. While Roethlisberger is clearly close to getting back to 100 percent health, rushing him back against a putrid Chiefs team is not something that appears to be in the cards for the Steelers. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network clarified the situation on his Twitter account earlier today.
This update from Rapoport really comes as no surprise to anyone. Roethlisberger has been limited throughout the week in practice, and it is generally a bad sign when players do not become full participants later in the week. While many thought it could have been deceptive talk by the coach in order to throw the Chiefs off and not prepare for Ben Roethlisberger, Rapoport’s report pretty much confirms that Landry Jones will be making his first start of the season. ProFootballTalk first reported the strong likelihood of Jones getting the start on Thursday after the Steelers ended their practice.
So what does that mean for the Pittsburgh Steelers chances tomorrow against the Chiefs? The opinions are mixed. While the Chiefs are not a good football team and currently have a record of 1-5, the game is still being played on the Chiefs home field at Arrowhead Stadium, a place that is traditionally difficult for visiting teams. Add to the fact that the Chiefs best player, Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, recently tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.
In spite of the Chiefs early struggles, they are still a three-point favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers without Roethlisbeger at the helm. While three points are always given to the home team, Vegas and other sources believe these are two evenly matched teams this week.
Most of the experts at ESPN believe the Steelers will come out victorious against the Chiefs though. Nine out of the 13 analysts have the Steelers winning, while only four of them are going with the Chiefs. The fan poll also favors the Steelers.
While Landry Jones is no Ben Roethlisberger, he has to be an upgrade over the aging Michael Vick. For an offense that was prolific last season and started off on fire this year, it has been putrid the past few weeks with Vick under center. All Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown has had some of the worst games of his career, and running back Le’Veon Bell has seen his receptions drop considerably. Roethlisberger just has a certain chemistry with his star wide receiver and star running back that has been built over the past few seasons.
Even though Big Ben will not be under center tomorrow, it appears as though he is on track to return Week 8 for the Steelers showdown against the division leading Cincinnati Bengals. After his limited practice session on Thursday, Roethlisberger spoke to reporters in an interview that appeared on Steelers.com.
“I felt fine, I felt normal; knee didn’t swell up, so I felt good. It’s not even my call so I don’t know what to feel. I guess Mike is going to look at the film and see what he thinks and go from there. Tomorrow he’ll ask me, ‘How’d your knee do over night? Are you sore?’ And I’ll tell him how I feel and he’ll probably look at the film and determine off the film what he’s going to do.”
Look for Ben Roethlisberger to be in uniform for the Pittsburgh Steelers next week.
[Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]