Last week, I asked Devin Bush how the Steelers defense would perform against Jared Goff and the Rams.
"Four sacks, two picks," Bush replied after a brief gaze upward, clearly channeling some ancient energy to peer into the future.
I say "clearly" here because, uhh ... the Steelers defense went out in Week 10 action and posted exactly four sacks and two picks. The team as a whole added another pick for three total, but it came on special teams, courtesy of Trey Edmunds. Bush's prompt is to predict only what the Steelers defense will do, so that marked a fourth straight week of him nailing the prediction.
Yeah, pretty wild.
So with the Steelers turning around on a shortened week to face Baker Mayfield and the AFC North-rival Browns in Cleveland, I had to book another appointment with Professor Bushtradamus.
But first, I had to know how he's doing this. What's the process? At this point, it can't just be a coincidence, right?
"It's super educated, based off the game plan, based off film study and the personalities of the people I play with and the people I'm playing against," Bush was telling me. "You kinda just mix in and kinda just play the game in your head."
So it's not random at all. Bush really takes this seriously and provides a logical breakdown of what can happen on the field. So with that said, here we go for this Week 11 Thursday Night Football matchup:
"So, obviously it's a short week, so this had to come fast," Bush began. "But off the top of my head: Six sacks, a fumble recovery — or a forced fumble/fumble recovery — and a pick."
There it is. Go to your nearest casino and bet on the Steelers to get after Mayfield early and often.
There's merit to this one as well. The Steelers rank third in the NFL with 33 sacks, posting five against a stellar Colts offensive line two weeks ago before adding four more last week against the Rams — and yeah, Bush predicted both of those.
Meanwhile, the Browns offensive line ranks 20th in the league, allowing 25 sacks and 35 hits on the season. For reference, the Steelers O-line is tied for first with the Cowboys, conceding just 11 sacks on the season.
The forced fumble and the pick also sound good in theory. The Steelers defense is second in the league, generating 26 turnovers (14 interceptions vs. 12 fumbles), and Mayfield has thrown the second-most picks (12) in the league this year.
And despite the prediction of pain for Mayfield, Bush said he actually likes and appreciates his upcoming foe's skill set.
"I like Baker," Bush told me. "I've liked Baker since he was at Oklahoma. I think he's a super competitor. He's a good quarterback, he's got a lot of good intangibles, he's got a good skill set. So to put him to the test and [have hime] put us to the test as well, I think it's going to be a good matchup."
Steelers vs. Browns usually qualifies as a good matchup — whether the score is close or not. The rivalry is intense, and with the Browns' heightened expectations this year, Bush expects nothing but fire once they kick off Thursday night.
"I heard it's probably one of the best wins ever," Bush said. "I was talking to Big Al [Alejandro Villanueva] and he was like, 'It's just the best feeling ever, beating the Browns, especially at their home stadium. I'm looking forward to it."
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