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Watch Steelers at Packers: TV, streaming, odds, prediction as Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger duel

Written by on October 1, 2021

For just the third time ever, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers will face each other when the Steelers head to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers. The Packers enter Sunday’s game with consecutive wins that includes their dramatic 30-28 win in San Francisco last Sunday night. The Steelers are looking to get back on track after consecutive home losses to Las Vegas and Cincinnati. 

CBS Sports lead NFL reporter Tracy Wolfson will be part of Sunday’s broadcast. She spoke with CBS Sports about the matchup while offering her expertise as for what fans can expect to see from the two teams. We’ll also make our final score predictions in a game between two bedrock franchises. But first, here’s how you can follow the action in real time. 

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

How to watch

Date: Sunday, Oct. 3 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
CBS | Stream: Paramount+ (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Packers -6.5, O/U 45.5


When the Steelers have the ball 

Pittsburgh’s offensive line has struggled to protect Roethlisberger and has struggled to open consistent holes for rookie running back Najee Harris. The line also committed several costly penalties during last Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Bengals. Making matters worse is that starting right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor did not practice earlier this week due to a concussion. Despite the issues, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he has no current plans to shake up the unit. 

Facing a Packers defense that is ninth in the league against the pass, the Steelers will have to commit to the running game if they have any chance of an upset. That should lead to less passes for Roethlisberger, who put the ball in the air 58 times against the Bengals. His favorite target this season has been Harris, who caught a franchise running back record 14 passes against the Bengals. Fortunately for the Steelers, they are facing a Packers pass rush that has recorded just five sacks thus far. 

“I think they’re going to have to rely a lot on their defense,” Wolfson said when assessing the Steelers’ chances at pulling off an upset. “When they get the ball, I do think that they’re going to have to dink and dunk and find ways to get the ball out quickly. Najee Harris, he was kind of the star coming out of [last week’s game]. It was through the passing game more than through the run game. Get him in involved more in the running game. Find ways to get those chunk yardage, and that’s how they’re going to play.  

“And their defense is going to have to come up big. Keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. And if you can do that and sustain some drives, they can make it ugly and they can pull out a win.”  

While the status of Okorafor and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster are in question, the Steelers are expected to have Diontae Johnson back for Sunday’s game. The team’s leading receiver in 2020, Johnson suffered a knee injury on the final play of Pittsburgh’s Week 2 loss to Las Vegas. 

When the Packers the ball 

Rodgers has to be licking his chops after looking at recent film of Pittsburgh’s defensive backs. They allowed a 61-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Henry Ruggs III in Week 2. Last Sunday, the unit gave up a 34-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to rookie Ja’Marr Chase just before halftime. The Steelers’ secondary now has the unenviable task of facing arguably the NFL’s best QB-WR duo of Rodgers and Davante Adams. The duo has already connected 25 times for 309 yards through three games. In last Sunday night’s win over the 49ers, Rodgers and Adams connected 12 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. Down one point with 37 seconds left, completions of 25 and 17 yards to Adams set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal as time expired. 

“They just knew, ‘Just get us the ball back. It doesn’t matter how much time,’” Wolfson said of the Packers’ demeanor before their last offensive drive. “They had all the confidence in the world. Rodgers has all the confidence in the world. The combination of him and Davante reminds me a lot of something that’s building between Keenan Allen and Justin Herbert. There’s that connection that they just know, ‘We’ll get this done.’ And they knew the supporting cast would be able to. The offensive line did a tremendous job of protecting. …When teams can win in those crucial moments and close games out, those are championship teams.”  

Given Rodgers’ connection with Adams, should the Steelers double-team Adams while forcing Green Bay’s secondary receivers to make plays? Or should the Steelers concede some plays to Adams while taking away Rodgers’ other weapons?

“I would double Davante,” Wolfson said when asked that very question. “That’s just personally my opinion. But it’s pick your poison. …I like to take that star guy away, especially because it’s Aaron’s guy. It’s the one he’s most comfortable with. Take that guy away and force others to step up. It will be interesting to see how they play him. How that matches up remains to be seen.”  

Pittsburgh’s defense will also have to contend with Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones, who two weeks ago scored four touchdowns in Green Bay’s win over the Lions. Jones was limited during practice earlier this week as he works through an ankle injury. Speaking of injuries, Steelers outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith returned to practice this week after missing Pittsburgh’s loss to Cincinnati with groin injuries. 


Latest Odds:

Green Bay Packers

The Steelers have a history of responding to adversity during Mike Tomlin’s 15 years as the Steelers’ coach. Tomlin has never had a losing season in Pittsburgh, largely because of his ability to motivate his players while making necessary adjustments. Tomlin’s steady hand is also one of the reasons why he continues to have faith in Roethlisberger, who has also never had a losing season since the Steelers drafted him way back in 2004. 

“He knows Big Ben better than anyone there,” Wolfson said of the Steelers’ coach. “He’s got the relationships with these players, and he’s got the experience factor. He’s been in these stadiums, he’s been in these environments, he’s been in these situations. You can never count this team out when you have Mike Tomlin at the helm.”  

If the Steelers can pressure Rodgers and keep his big plays to a minimum while being able to control the ball on offense, Pittsburgh is capable of pulling off the upset. But that’s asking a lot from a team that has serious questions on the offensive line and in the secondary. The Steelers keep it relatively close, but I’ll go with Rodgers winning the rubber match between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. 

Pick: Packers 24, Steelers 20

Check out for even more predictions on this game and the rest of Week 4.


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