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INDIANAPOLIS The Colts are going to have a massive matchup on their hands this Saturday for rookie right tackle Blake Freeland.

In a game with massive playoff implications, the Steelers got some good injury news on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the impactful injury statuses ahead of Colts (7-6) and Steelers (7-6) this Saturday at 4:35 PM:


  • LB-T.J. Watt (concussion): It’s not often we point out the opposing injuries with a high-level of importance, but Watt is too good of a player to not point out. Watt entered concussion protocol last Friday, following Pittsburgh’s Thursday night loss to New England. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who has 14 sacks on the season, practiced all week long, and then cleared concussion protocol on Thursday. Watt playing on Saturday, and facing a rookie right tackle in Blake Freeland, calls for heavy attention from the Colts on that right side, which is where the explosive pass rusher mainly lines up. Over the last 4 seasons, having Watt in the lineup has meant around a 7-point difference in points allowed by the Steelers, with Pittsburgh being 1-9 in games without their defensive star. Those are astonishing numbers for a single defensive player. Watt vs. Freeland is a huge matchup to watch for a Pittsburgh team needing turnovers/big defensive plays to hang in there.


  • RB-Jonathan Taylor (right thumb): Some 2.5 weeks removed from right thumb surgery, this’ll be the third straight game Taylor has missed. Earlier this week, Steichen said the plan is for Taylor to play again this season. That’ll have to come in the final 3 weeks as Taylor’s absence continues on Saturday. The Colts run game has really struggled as of late, averaging 2.7 yards per carry or less in 4 of their past 5 games. Steichen added that Taylor is “definitely getter better” when asked if No. 28 was any closer to returning to practice.


  • CB-JuJu Brents (quad): Is this finally the week we see the return of JuJu Brents? Yes. The rookie practiced fully all week long, after participating in two days of work last week, and will make his return for the first time in nearly two months. Outside of Jelani Woods, no Colts player has missed more practice time this year than Brents. That’s been a huge bummer to his development, and helping out a youthful cornerback room. Would the return of Brents lessen the role of Darrell Baker Jr., who has been this team’s 3rd cornerback (behind Kenny Moore, Jaylon Jones) for the last month or so? That seems very possible.


  • LB-E.J. Speed (knee): The Colts will have their disruptive linebacker back this week after he was a late-scratch last weekend. Not having Speed next to Zaire Franklin was certainly felt against the Bengals, so his return should be very welcomed.


  • Again, it’s a battle of backup quarterbacks on Saturday with the Steelers not having Kenny Pickett (ankle) under center. It’ll be Mitch Trubisky starting for Pittsburgh, in a week where some in Steeler nation were curious if Mike Tomlin would give 3rd stringer Mason Rudolph a look. Trubisky has faced a Gus Bradley-coordinated defense once before, that was in 2019 with the Bears. Trubisky went 23-of-35 for 253 yards and 1 INT in that game with the Chargers.


  • Like last year against the Steelers, the Colts will be donning their 1956 throwback jerseys for this one. That includes an extra stripe on the shoulder pads, more of the bucking bronco logo, and two horseshoes on the back of the helmet.

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