What was once one of the premier matchups in the NFL with Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger will certainly be a not ideal quarterback game for either side, as both teams are struggling at the signal-caller position for their own reasons.
In a perfect world, the game would feature two former first round NFL draft picks in Mac Jones vs. Kenny Pickett. But injuries and poor play have left the quarterback situations on each team with a lot to be desired, as there are questions at the position heading into Thursday's game.
Here's what we know about the quarterback battle for the Week 14 matchup:
Who will be the New England Patriots quarterback?
In true Bill Belichick fashion, the longtime head coach has not yet announced a starter going into Week 14, but there seems to be an idea of who it'll be.
Bailey Zappe is expected to start for New England on Thursday. The fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft was the starter for the Patriots last week in the 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, where he went 13-for-25 for 141 yards. Zappe was mum on Wednesday when asked if he was starting against Pittsburgh.
"Coach has made it pretty clear, but I'll let him announce it to everybody. That's private right now. Whenever he announces it, that's with him," Zappe said. "I try to prepare every week like I'm the guy, so nothing different for me."
Zappe took over last week after Mac Jones' struggles continued, as he failed to finish the games against the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants due to inconsistent play. Jones has thrown for 2,120 yards in 11 games, but for only 10 touchdown and 12 interceptions − third-highest in the NFL. The Patriots have also failed to score more than 10 points in three straight games.
New England also elevated quarterback Malik Cunningham to the roster.
Who will be the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback?
Mitch Trubisky will be the guy for Mike Tomlin after starter Kenny Pickett is expected to be out for several weeks.
Pickett suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, and had surgery on his ankle on Monday, sidelining his for an undisclosed amount of time. Pickett has had a decent season, with 2,070 passing yards on six touchdown and four interceptions, but the Steelers offense has struggled with only 16 touchdowns this season.
Trubisky came in relief for the injured Pickett on Sunday and went 11-for-17 for 117 yards and one touchdown in the loss. Now the seven-year veteran will attempt to keep Pittsburgh in the playoff picture, as they currently are in the No. 5 spot, but have the same record as three other AFC teams.
"I'm going to be aggressive. I'm going to take care of the football, and we've got to play better as an offense," Trubisky said Monday. "We want to be an aggressive offense. So whatever that means, taking care of football, we got to find ways to score points. That's the bottom line."
With Pickett injured, the Steelers also elevated Mason Rudolph to the active roster to serve as Trubisky's backup.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Patriots vs. Steelers on TNF: Who will be the starting quarterbacks?