It appears the Pittsburgh Steelers defense will be getting a major personnel boost in time for its road game against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday he expects three starters -- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden and T.J. Watt -- as well as reserve defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk to return this week, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Fitzpatrick was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week, and missed the Steelers' 41-37 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. Watt missed the game with hip and knee injuries, while Haden was out with a foot sprain. The Steelers defense played as would be expected without three of its top defenders, as the Chargers racked up 533 total yards on a big night for QB Justin Herbert.
Watt has 12.5 sacks on the season as one of the league's elite pass rushers, while Fitzpatrick anchors the Steelers secondary from the safety position as a two-time All-Pro. The defensive reinforcements are a key development for a Steelers team battling in a very tight AFC North division; Pittsburgh would replace the Bengals for second place in the AFC North with a win. With a loss combined with a Browns win, the Steelers would fall to the bottom of the division.
Loudermilk is returning from a groin injury.
- Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (oblique) was limited in practice for a second day in a row. Running back Jermar Jefferson (knee/ankle) and defensive end Michael Brockers (knee) were also limited. The team also placed defensive end Da'Shawn Hand on injured reserve.
- Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (ribs), wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring) and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) did not practice on Tuesday. Safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring) was limited.
- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (knee) and offensive tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) were full participants at Tuesday's practice. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (concussion) did not participate.
- The Minnesota Vikings placed defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Guard Dakota Dozier has been activated from the practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list.
- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday and discussed the state of his toe. Rodgers elaborated that the toe in question -- which he aggravated during Sunday's loss to the Vikings -- is the pinky and that it's worse than turf toe. "I've given you enough information at this point," Rodgers said. "I have a toe injury that's not going away, and I'm going to be dealing with it for at least the next few weeks." Green Bay placed guard Elgton Jenkins on injured reserve Tuesday. It was initially reported Monday that Jenkins suffered an ACL tear that would end his season. The Packers on Tuesday also signed guard Ben Braden from the practice squad to the active roster.
- New Orleans Saints rookie offensive lineman Landon Young is expected to undergo season-ending foot surgery, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per a source. The Saints placed Young and tight end Adam Trautman (knee) on injured reserve. New Orleans saw running backs Alvin Kamara (knee) and Mark Ingram (knee) and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (knee) all sit out Tuesday's practice.
- Dallas Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb, who is in concussion protocol, might do some light field work Tuesday, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated receiver Scotty Miller from injured reserve. He hasn't played since Sept. 29.
- Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reports quarterback Andy Dalton will start over Justin Fields vs. the Lions on Thanksgiving. Fields is dealing with a ribs injury suffered in Week 11.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers placed receiver Ray-Ray McCloud on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
- The Miami Dolphins placed cornerback Jamal Perry and linebacker Brennan Scarlett on injured reserve.
- The Tennessee Titans placed cornerback Chris Jackson (foot) and wide receiver Marcus Johnson (hamstring) on injured reserve.
- The New York Jets placed quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Mike White on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list, per the league's transaction wire. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that rookie quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) will return to the starting lineup Sunday vs. the Texans.
- The Seattle Seahawks announced that rookie cornerback Tre Brown underwent surgery to repair his patellar tendon and medial and lateral retinacular tears. It is expected that Brown will be on crutches for six weeks and will then have a six-to-seven-month rehabilitation period.
- The Atlanta Falcons signed longtime former New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead to the active roster and punter Dom Maggio to the practice squad.
- The Arizona Cardinals announced Tuesday they signed quarterback Trace McSorley off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad and cut quarterback Chris Streveler, a former Canadian Football League standout who came on in relief of an injured Colt McCoy in the team's Week 10 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
- The Miami Dolphins signed safety Will Parks off the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad.
- The Kansas City Chiefs signed long snapper James Winchester to a contract extension.
- The Houston Texans are cutting running back Phillip Lindsay, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team later announced Lindsay had been waived.
- The New Orleans Saints are signing wide receiver Malcolm Perry, Rapoport reported. Perry (foot) was recently waived off injured reserve by the Patriots, but Rapoport notes that he will start on the Saints' practice squad with plans for a quick promotion to the active roster. The team later announced the move, along with the signing of cornerback Ken Crawley and receiver Kevin White to the active roster and the release of cornerback KeiVarae Russell.
- The San Francisco 49ers signed veteran wide receiver Devin Funchess to the practice squad, per Pelissero.
- The Tennessee Titans waived veteran running back Adrian Peterson and signed wide receiver Golden Tate to the practice squad.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived long snapper Carson Tinker.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers promoted tight end Kevin Rader from the practice squad to the active roster. Pittsburgh also signed guard Rashaad Coward and tight end Jace Sternberger to the practice squad and released quarterback James Morgan from the practice squad.
- The Detroit Lions signed guard Tommy Kraemer on the active roster.
- The Baltimore Ravens signed quarterback Kenji Bahar to the practice squad.