In the final preseason game for both teams, the Carolina Panthers host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium.
While it used be a game that coaches used to push their starters before the regular season, it's unlikely either team goes with their first stringers for long, if at all. Instead the last preseason matchup is now the last chance for players hoping to make the final 53-man roster.
For the Steelers, there is a position battle for a fifth wide receiver spot between Derek Moye and Justin Brown, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However it’s unknown if head coach Mike Tomlin will carry five receivers into the regular season due to injuries at tight end and running back.
Moye is entering his second pro year, but hasn’t seen any regular season action, while the rookie Brown was a sixth round pick of the Steelers back in April. Moye leads the team with eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown, and Brown has five for 37 yards.
On the opposite sideline, Carolina third-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen might be fighting for his roster spot as well. Despite having the best preseason of his four-year career, Clausen might be one of several sacrifices made by new Panthers general manager David Gettleman who, according to the Charlotte Observer, is focused more on keeping spots for the defensive line over carrying a third passer.
Gettleman’s early changes have worked in the preseason, especially the three defensive touchdowns in Carolina’s 34-27 victory over Baltimore last week. Corner Drayton Florence returned one pick 71 yards for a score, and D.J. Moore had another interception return for 33 yards and a touchdown. And linebacker Thomas Davis recovered a fumble for a two-yard touchdown.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and a live online stream is available by subscription on the NFL’s official site here.
Pittsburgh’s feed will be on KDKA-TV, and Carolina’s is on Panthers TV, which has a number of stations, and a full list can be found here.
Betting Odds: Carolina is favored by 3.5 points.
Over/Under: 36 points
Prediction: Carolina 30, Pittsburgh 17