Steelers could get T.J. Watt back on Sunday, and their defense needs him

The Pittsburgh Steelers could get their best player back for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Outside linebacker T.J. Watt was back at practice this week and did not rule the possibility of playing on Sunday. 

The fact it is still open for discussion at this point in the week has to be a positive sign. It was previously believed he would not return until after the team’s bye week (which is next week).
Watt, the reigning NFL defensive player of the year, has been sidelined since Week 1 of the 2022 season with a pectoral injury which was also followed by a procedure to clean up his knee. The Steelers defense has struggled at times in his absence and has been unable to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback.
It is not a stretch to think that with a healthy Watt the 2-5 Steelers might have an extra win or two this season given how close several of their losses have been.
Watt has been one of the NFL’s best players since entering the league in 2017, and it is pretty clear that he is the engine that makes the team run. Since his debut the Steelers are only 1-9 in games that Watt has missed, while the defensive performance noticeably drops. That only win came two weeks ago against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
By comparison the Steelers are 52-24-2 when Watt does play, allow seven fewer points per game, and record an extra 1.5 sacks per game.
He completely changes the look of the defense, and even if he is limited on Sunday it would at least give them a little bit more of a chance against the 6-0 Eagles.

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