Bears vs. Steelers: Things to know ahead of Week 9 matchup

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The Chicago Bears (3-5) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) on Monday night, where Chicago’s looking to go into their bye week on a one-game winning streak.

This game has the potential to be a close one where it’ll come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes. And given the Bears’ struggles over their three-game losing streak, they could be in for some trouble.

Here’s everything to know about the Bears-Steelers’ Week 9 matchup:

Game information

  • When: Monday, Nov. 8 at 7:15 p.m. CT

  • Where: Heinz Field; Pittsburgh, PA

  • Referee: Tony Corrente

  • TV: ESPN

  • In-market live stream: fuboTV (try it for free)

Last meeting: 23-17 OT Bears (9/24/2017)

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears and Steelers haven’t played since 2017, which was another memorable contest that was decided in overtime.

While rookie running back Tarik Cohen looked like he broke free for a 73-yard touchdown, he was ruled out at the Pittsburgh 37. But running back Jordan Howard finished the job with a 19-yard touchdown run to give Chicago a 23-17 win in overtime in Week 1.

Last week

AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

Bears: Lost 33-22 vs. 49ers

Steelers: Won 15-10 at Browns

Both teams are on streaks — the Bears have lost three straight while the Steelers have won three straight. These teams appear headed in opposite directions, but these contests have proven to be closer than expected.

Steelers QB: Ben Roethlisberger

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Roethlisberger’s time in Pittsburgh might be coming to a close, but he’s still a quarterback that the Bears are going to need to be wary of. One of Roethlisberger’s strengths is his ability to get the ball out quick, which isn’t good for Chicago’s pass rush and even worse for their secondary.

While Roethlisberger has been dealing with a number of injuries this week — hip, pectoral and shoulder — he’s cleared to play for Monday night. Roethlisberger isn’t doing anything to lose the Steelers games right now, which is enough given Pittsburgh’s defense usually puts them in a good position to win.

Steelers players to watch

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EDGE T.J. Watt: Watt is one of the NFL’s best edge rushers, and the Bears offensive line faces quite a task in keeping Justin Fields upright against a dominant Steelers pass rush. Watt is tied for the second most sacks this season with 8.5. Only Cleveland’s Myles Garrett has more.

RB Najee Harris: Harris has been impressive during his rookie season, especially in the month of October where he had his breakout. Harris was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month with 356 rushing yards, 124 receiving yards, 120 scrimmage yards per game and four touchdowns. Not encouraging or a Chicago defense giving up more than 140 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks.

WR Diontae Johnson: The Steelers lost top wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster for the year with a shoulder injury, and Johnson has stepped up in his absence. In six games this season, Johnson has 40 catches for 474 yards and three touchdowns. There will be opportunities for big plays against the Bears secondary.

S Minkah Fitzpatrick: While Fitzpatrick had a down year to start the season, he remains a threat in Pittsburgh’s secondary. Over the last four games, Fitzpatrick has a 51.3 quarterback rating against. Not encouraging news for a Bears passing offense that is the worst in the NFL.

Team ranks

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Team ranks, via Team Rankings

CHI

PIT

Points per game

15.4 (31st)

18.9 (26th)

Points allowed per game

24.4 (20th)

20.3 (7th)

Turnover differential

-3 (T-21st)

-1 (T-17th)

Passing yards per game

127.4 (32nd)

244.4 (17th)

Rushing yards per game

136.6 (6th)

86.0 (28th)

Passing yards allowed per game

232.5 (11th)

239.7 (13th)

Rushing yards allowed per game

125.0 (24th)

106.0 (12th)

Sacks allowed

30 (32nd)

14 (T-10th)

Sacks against

21 (T-4th)

12 (T-10th)

Injuries to know

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack will miss his second straight game as he takes time to rest his sprained foot, which he’s been nursing since Week 3. Safety Eddie Jackson continues to battle a hamstring injury that sidelined him in last week’s game. Running back David Montgomery is eligible to return from injured reserve starting this week after missing four games with a knee injury.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will play Monday night despite battling hip, pectoral and shoulder injuries. Kicker Chris Boswell, who suffered a concussion in last week’s game against Cleveland, was a full participant on Friday. Assuming he clears concussion protocol in time, he’ll be ready for Monday’s game.

Storyline to watch: Can Bears make it 4-0 against Mike Tomlin and Steelers?

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

While the Bears and Steelers franchises couldn’t be on more opposite spectrums given Pittsburgh’s success and Chicago’s struggles, the Bears have won the last three meetings against Pittsburgh. In fact, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is 0-3 against the Bears. Can Matt Nagy’s squad make it 4-0?

Bold predictions

AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

  1. The Bears don’t score an offensive touchdown…

  2. …But they score a defense or special teams touchdown

  3. Allen Robinson gets going on offense

  4. David Montgomery makes his return to the field

  5. DeAndre Houston-Carson cements himself as a starting safety

Read our full analysis

Game picks

  • Alyssa Barbieri: 20-13 Steelers

  • Brendan Sugrue: 19-13 Steelers

  • Ryan Fedrau: 27-17 Steelers

  • Nate Atkins: 23-20 Steelers

Read our full analysis

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