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Lions vs. Steelers Bold Prediction of the Week: Penei Sewell struggles in RT debut

Can Sewell make a smooth transition back to right tackle?

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Penei Sewell, like any rookie, has had his fair share of struggles this season. Sewell started the preseason playing right tackle and looked to have lost a step from his college days. When starting left tackle Taylor Decker landed on IR, though, Sewell flipped to the left side where he garnered national attention in college. With Decker having a “better than 50%” chance to play Sunday, Sewell is likely to get flipped back to the right side against one of the league’s best defenses.

Bold prediction of the week: Penei Sewell gives up 2+ sacks against Steelers

Look, I’m sure in due time Sewell will take shape as one of the better tackles in the league. However, his rookie year has been a rollercoaster between his flip-flopping from right to left and Jared Goff’s infamous 10-step drops.

Another flip-flop, this time back to his less-familiar position of right tackle, is not what you want to see when going up against one of the league’s best defenses. The Steelers defense is led by two-time first-team All-Pro T.J. Watt, who usually lines up—you guessed it—over the right tackle. Watt has 11.5 sacks through just eight games, putting him on pace to break the league sack record given a 17-game schedule.

A stout pass rush on its own should give the Lions offense trouble. The Steelers are quite thorough from top to bottom, however, with Devin Bush leading an athletic linebacking corps that should give T.J. Hockenson a tough day. Meanwhile, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, and Joe Haden anchor a secondary that the Lions’ hobbled receiving corps is no match for, barring a miracle performance by new wide receiver Josh Reynolds.

The Lions offense is going to be undermatched and stretched thin Sunday against the Steelers defense. Expect it to show most in an ugly pocket.

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