9/12/19-Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers

September 12, 2019 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

 

The Steelers come home battered, wounded and hopefully a bit embarrassed after the 33-3 pummeling they endured this past Sunday night at New England.  In the aftermath of the massive season opening defeat, the Steelers will lick their wounds and face the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks. 

This game is a crucial turnaround game for the black and gold.  They cannot afford to drop to 0-2 and after a putrid output on both sides of the ball, they need to prove to themselves, and the fans, that they are closer to the team that everyone thought they were than the team that showed up (or didn’t show up) on Sunday night.

It starts on the offensive side of the ball.  The team will need to utilize James Conner far more effectively.  Conner needs to carry the football 20-25 times for 85-100 yards.  The offense must utilize this ball control and limit the time the defense is on the field. 

If the Steelers can run the football and if Randy Ficthner will open up the playbook for Ben Roethlisberger to throw the ball downfield (or maybe just let Ben call his own plays) then the Steelers will have a far better opportunity of success than they did in New England. 

I’d also like to see JuJu Smith-Schuster become more of an impact player early in the game and have the team less reliant on Donte Moncrief this week.

Additionally, I believe the Steeler should and will involve Vance McDonald in the offensive game plan to the tune of 6 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. McDonald could be a key player for this team if Fichtner would allow it.

That all said, if the defense doesn’t do their job, it won’t matter what numbers the offense puts up.  Stopping Russell Wilson is objective number one.  The defense has to blitz him and more importantly contain him. He’s dangerous outside of the pocket and the black and gold should be nervous about him making plays with his legs if he decides to tuck and run.  If he throws, the secondary needs to be far better than they were last week. Getting burned far too frequently, specifically over the top as the safeties failed their assignments.  Wilson may not be Tom Brady but he has an arm and he will make the Steelers pay if they fail to get to him.

At the end of the day, I believe the team will come out with enough energy and just enough on both sides of the ball to leave Sundays home opener with the ‘W’.

Steelers 24 Seahawks 23

12/28/18-Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

December 28, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers enter the final game of the season in a must win situation and in need of help from their rival Cleveland Browns over their other rival, the Baltimore Ravens.  However, if the black and gold don’t get past the Bengals on Sunday, nothing else matters.  I fully expect a Steeler victory and I don’t expect it to be close.  Beyond that, they have to hope and pray and keep their fingers crossed that the Browns come up with the upset.

 

Here Are The Keys To Victory:

 

Stop Joe Mixon:

The Bengals are with out Andy Dalton and AJ Green, the only offense they have at this point is a running game that starts with Joe Mixon. If the Steelers can stuff Mixon at the line, they’ll force the ball to be distributed by Jeff Driskel, the Bengals backup quarterback who isn’t someone to truly fear.

 

Create More Turnovers:

The black and gold have created turnovers the past couple of weeks and they need to continue to do so this week in order to flip the field and gain some momentum.  Turnovers have been extremely difficult to come by this season for the black and gold so getting a pick or two or a fumble will go a long way in setting up the day for the Steelers and helping them edge their way to victory.

 

Limit The Penalties:

The Steelers rank near the bottom of the league in penalty yards given up and there is no better way to keep a bad team in the game than giving up free yards.  Yes, the refs played a huge part in the penalty yards given up last week, no arguments here, but the Steelers need to help themselves and stay out of those situations (when they can). No reason to provide free yards or easy points to a inferior opponent.

 

Matt McCrane Must Make His Kicks:

Matt McCrane was signed off the streets this week to replace Chris Boswell who was placed on IR.  McCrane must do what Boswell hasn’t done consistently this season, hit kicks. Problem is, McCrane kicked for the Raiders earlier this season is 5 of 9 for the year himself. Kicking in Heinz Field is no picnic so let’s hope he can get the job done when called upon.

 

Conclusion:

The Steelers really shouldn’t have any challenge this week. The Bengals are a horrible football team and the black and gold are playing for their lives. If they don’t win, nothing else matters. I expect a large margin of victory in this one with a 34-14 victory. 

From there they need to scoreboard watch and hope the Browns get it done. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Ravens will falter in a must win game at home and I think they’ll get by the much improved Browns by a score of 23-20.

 

12/21/18-Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints

December 21, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers may have saved their season this past Sunday when they took care of business against the Patriots, coming out on top of their longtime nemesis, 17-10.  The challenge doesn’t get any easier this week as they head out of town to New Orleans to face the 12-2 Saints.

To me, the Saints are the best and most complete team in football and the Steelers will have their hands full.  If the Ravens lose to the Chargers on Saturday evening and the Steelers pull off the victory on Sunday, the black and gold will punch their division title playoff ticket.  Should both teams win or lose, the saga will go on for one more week. Should the Ravens win and the Steelers lose, the team will find itself in some serious trouble headed into game 16.

 

Here Are The Keys To Victory:

 

Contain Drew Brees and Michael Thomas:

Drew Brees is a leading candidate to win NFL MVP and his top receiver Michael Thomas knows exactly why.  Thomas has 109 receptions and 1,267 yards to go along with eight touchdowns this season so far. He knows how to get open and get open often. Joe Haden will be tasked with covering him and that’s no easy ask.  Haden may be able to slow him down but he will certainly need safety help.

Brees is as accurate as the come, with a 75% completion percentage and 31 touchdowns thrown vs. only five interceptions all season.  The front seven will need to apply heavy pressure in order to force quick throws and keep the ball away for Thomas.  You know Brees will complete the pass but the defense needs to ensure those passes are for short yardage only.

 

The Offensive Line Must Keep Cameron Jordan Away From Ben:

Cameron Jordan came out this week and stated Ben Roetlhisberger isn’t a hall of fame player and isn’t a top five player of his era. 

First of all, how ignorant is that?  Secondly, he’s going to regret saying it when Ben torches his defense this week. 

However, Jordan is a heck of a defensive end and he possesses 12 sacks already this season. He’s a force to be reckoned with and the O Line will need to ensure they keep him out of the backfield. If they get beat, Jordan will wreak havoc on the offense all day long.

 

Antonio Brown Must Step Up:

Antonio Brown is in the midst of another fantastic season but it is sometimes overshadowed by the year that JuJu Smith-Schuster is having.  JuJu hurt his groin in practice this week and his availability is in question. If he’s able to play, how effective will he be? 

Brown is more than capable of taking a game over and he’ll need to do so on Sunday to help move the offense down the field in the event JuJu is not out there or not 100%

 

Chris Boswell Must Make His Kicks:

A bit redundant at this point but Chris Boswell cannot miss any more kicks down the stretch here. He missed another big kick vs. the Pats last week that almost cost them the game. Yet, he did hit a critical 48 yarder in the fourth quarter. We’ll find out if that kick propelled him back to the top of his game or if he’ll go back to missing his kicks. In a game that I fully expect to be a shootout, every point is needed and Boswell cannot blow it by missing yet another short field goal or extra point. If he does, the black and gold won’t be as lucky to win this time around.

 

It’s going to be another battle this week and one that will probably come down to the fourth quarter once again. I think the Steelers will be unable to stop the Saints and unfortunately won’t come out on top as they’ll lose 34-24.

12/13/18-New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers

December 13, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers are in dire need of a win after having lost their last 3 games, in rather unimpressive fashion. Their reward? A game against a New England Patriots team who’s coming off a loss and just needs one win to clinch the AFC East. 

The Steelers find the Baltimore Ravens hot on their heels only a ½ game back with a far easier schedule, meaning the black and gold really need to win against New England, a task that hasn’t exactly been an easy one to accomplish over the years. 

The Patriots do have four losses this season and all have been on the road, something the Steelers will need to take advantage of.

 

Here Are The Keys To Victory:

 

Pressure Tom Brady:

Tom Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he has a history of destroying the Steelers.  In his last eight games vs. the Steelers, Brady is 7-1 with 23 touchdowns vs. only one interception. The only way to even attempt to prevent these gaudy numbers is to pressure him.  He’s not as strong when the pocket collapses on him and he isn’t given time to throw the ball down field.  That means the front seven are going to need to do their jobs extremely effectively, specifically Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuiit, TJ Watt and Bud Dupree.  If these guys can collapse the pocket, they may just have a chance.

 

Find A Way To Stop Rob Gronkowski:

Rob Gronkowski has crushed the black and gold over the years. It seems he almost always goes for close to 100 yards and a touchdown or two.  Couple that with the fact that the Steelers are one of the worst teams in the league at stopping tight ends this season and there seems to be a recipe for disaster. 

Last year Keith Butler had Sean Davis trying to stop Gornkowski and it worked for about two and a half quarters before “The Gronk” blew up.  I think Davis is a bit better this year and he’ll draw the first opportunity to stop Gronk but if things go awry, Butler better make adjustments quickly.

 

The Steelers Must Rush The Ball:

No matter who is playing running back for Pittsburgh, the Steelers must find a way to rush the football to provide a balanced offense but more importantly to control the clock. By keeping the clock moving, ideally, the Steelers can keep Tom Brady off the field.  The Steelers offense can score with anyone but the problem is their defense can give up a plethora of points to anyone. The black and gold must shoot for a lower scoring game, one they win late.

 

The Defense Has To Finally Create Turnovers:

The only way I see this team even having a chance to win this game is by creating turnovers. Considering they have only created 12 all season, it’s a tall task to ask but it’s necessary. If they can flip the field, gain the advantage of setting up their offense and stop Brady and the Patriots all at once, they may give themselves a chance.

 

Conclusion:

The Patriots are not what they have been over the last five years or so but they are still a team the Steelers cannot beat.  They haven’t proven they can do it and until they do, I won’t believe it. Despite the fact the Patriots have four losses on the road this season, I don’t see them getting a fifth one this week.  The Patriots are going to win this one 34-21 and the Steelers may find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

11/23/18-Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

November 23, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers will ride their six game win streak into Denver on Sunday evening to face a 4-6 Broncos team who needs a win to save their season. Four of the Broncos six losses have come against some of the top teams in the NFL by a combined margin of 16 points. They have two narrow defeats to the Chiefs, a close loss to the Rams and another close loss to the Texans.

While the Broncos may seem like an easy win, on paper, they really are not.  They are tough, they are fighting for their playoff lives and they are playing at home, which is never an easy place to travel to.

 

Here Are The Keys To Victory:

 

The Steelers Must Stop Denver’s Pass Rush

Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are two very dangerous pass rushers who have 10 and 9 sacks apiece.  The black and gold must find a way to keep them out of their backfield.  In fact, the Broncos have 31 sacks on the season, so it’s not just these two skilled linebackers they have to worry about. Protecting Ben Roethlisberger is of the utmost importance in this game.  I’d recommend using Roosevelt Nix a little more often this game, just to put a body in-between Roethlisberger and the Bronco attack.

 

Adjusting To The Altitude

It’s no secret that the stadium is literally a mile above sea level. The altitude is something that takes getting used to, let alone playing football in.  The Broncos bodies are trained for this. The Steelers bodies are not.  Being able to maintain their oxygen levels and stamina while playing their top level ball is not as easy as it sounds, when playing in those conditions.  They need to find a way to slow the pace of the game down, to allow their bodies the proper adjustment.

 

Continue Their Road Success

The Steelers have only lost one game on the road in the last two seasons. They have put all the road woes behind them. They have debunked the myth that Roethlisberger is bad on the road and Mike Tomlin can’t coach outside of Heinz. They’ll need to build on the success of the come from behind victory in Jacksonville, after being down 16 points and winning late.  They need to take the crowd out of it, control the clock and never feel like they are out of the game, even if their down, as they proved last week. If they continue to play their brand of football, they will win yet another contest away from Heinz Field.

 

Create Turnovers

The Steelers are still not creating the turnovers yet this season, having only produced 12 total.  Nobody on the team has more than one interception and they only have six total.  They need to get after Case Keenum and force some errant throws.  That falls on TJ Watt and Bud Dupree. I anticipate a heavy rush and I believe this team will finally get a couple of interceptions out of the secondary, which will assist in field position and ultimately, a ‘W’.

 

The Steelers escaped Jacksonville with a big win last week and they will continue their road success again this week with a close victory, 23-17 in Denver.  The Broncos are a better football team than they look to be, record wise, so expect a tight, close game all the way through.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

November 16, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers visit the Jaguars this Sunday in a revenge matchup against the team who knocked them out of the playoffs last season and destroyed them in the regular season a few months before that.  This go round, it’s the Steelers who will get the win.

The Jaguars are 3-6 through nine games and another loss would all but end their season; something I’m certain the Steelers would love to do.

 

Here are the Keys to victory:

 

Run The Football

Jacksonville has the number 2 rated defense overall, yet they are ranked 17th against the run.  Taking advantage of that by implementing a healthy dose of James Conner will be a huge way to lead the black and gold to victory.  Conner has been on fire during this five game winning streak and if he can keep that momentum going this week, the Steelers can use the run to open up the pass.  Once that happens, Ben Roethlisberger can begin to work his magic and make the Jaguars pay.

 

Gain Turnovers

One of the reasons the Steelers lost to the Jags twice last year was they turned the ball over far too much and didn’t really get any in return.  This go round, it’s the Steelers who need to create turnovers.  Blake Bortles is a turnover machine.  If TJ Watt, Bud Dupree and Cam Heyward can rush him and force him into the bad decisions he’s prone to make, the Steelers will put this game away early.

 

Protect Big Ben

The Jaguars do feature a pretty healthy pass rush, led by Calais Campbell. The offensive line will need to protect Ben, as they have all season, specifically during this win streak.  If Ben is given his time, he’ll make the Jags secondary pay.  If the Jags get into the backfield, they can make it a much longer day than anyone rooting for the black and gold would like to see.

 

Avoid The Negative Plays

It’s so obvious yet there have been times where it just didn’t happen, especially vs. Jacksonville.  The Steelers need to avoid dumb penalties, don’t allow splash plays (remember Bortles lit them up in the playoffs?) and make sure they stop Leonard Fournette. Fournette is back from injury now and he’s proven to beat the Steelers in the past. The front seven need to do their job to stop him and force Bortles to make a play.

I expect the Steelers to handle their business on Sunday Night and come out with a 33-13 victory. I don’t think the Jags are very good this year and the Steelers have been rolling lately. That momentum will continue and we will be talking about a six game winning streak after the final second ticks off that clock.

 

11/1/18-Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

November 1, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Steelers head into Baltimore this week, riding a three game winning streak. During that span, they have found themselves rise from the bottom of the division to the top.  This week will be a good test for the black and gold as they head into Baltimore facing the Ravens for the 2nd time.

The first time these two foes met, the Ravens took the contest 26-14.  That also happens to be the last time the Steelers lost a game. 

If Pittsburgh can get the win this Sunday, they will drop the Ravens to 4-5 and make it a very tough uphill climb for Baltimore to get back into it.  Should the Ravens come out victorious, the landscape of the AFC North looks very different, with the Steelers losing all tie breakers to the men in purple.

In order for the Steelers to win, they’ll need to pull off these following things:

Take Advantage Of The Ravens Injuries

The Ravens have multiple injuries they are dealing with at the moment, especially on the offensive line.  The Steelers need to take advantage of that and bull rush Joe Flacco. With a depleted offensive line, the defense should be able to get into the backfield early and often. Flacco is not mobile and the black and gold could wreak havoc all game long. 

 

Special Teams Must Play Well

As is the case most of the time, this game will probably be close. In close games, special teams make the difference.  This game will be no exception. Chris Boswell will obviously need to make his kicks but it doesn’t’ stop there.  Punt and kick coverage, as well as punt and kick returns by Ryan Switzer will be pertinent in determining field position and from that, the direct impact on the game.  If the Steelers are the team who takes advantage of special teams play and they don’t make the big mistake, they’ll come out of this game victorious.

 

Ride James Conner

How can they not? Conner has been a beast over the last few weeks and the team needs to continue to feed him the ball. He’s averaging 4.7 yards per carry and already has nine touchdowns.  The Steelers should, and will, hand the ball to Conner upwards of 25 times. From there, he’ll follow the big guys up front and get the job done. The real question is, can he continue his streak of 100 yards and two touchdowns?  I say yes!

 

All Eyes on The Secondary

In my opinion Joe Flacco is not elite and never was.  That said, there are times against the Steelers where he looks like the best QB in the NFL.  That’s largely due to the weak secondary the black and gold have put out there for years.  Outside of Joe Haden, the secondary is still very weak and will need to ensure nobody breaks over the top for the big plays.  Flacco has a strong arm and if someone gets behind the secondary, he will make the Steelers pay.  The front seven need to rush him and the secondary needs to stay with their men. If that all gels, it will be a good day for Pittsburgh

 

This will be a hard fought contest that will once again come down to the last drive.  The Steelers are far better off than they were a month ago and know they can’t afford to drop a second game to the Ravens this season. I expect the black and gold to take care of their business on the road and win 27-23.

 

10/25/18-Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

October 25, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming out of their bye week and ready to go.  They entered the bye week looking up in the standings but thanks to losses by both the Ravens and Bengals, they came out of the bye with a hold on first place.

They will be looking to extend their first place lead when the Browns come to town for the second matchup of the season between these two foes.

It’s well documented how the fist game went in that 21-21 season opening tie.  The Steelers were embarrassed at the way they blew a 14 point fourth quarter lead and they will be looking to avenge that tie with a big win this week.

Here’s What They’ll Need To Do To Win The Game:

The Offensive Line Must Continue To Play Well

It may seem like such an obvious statement but nothing is more true than the fact that this team is led by the O line.  If they play together, at the top of their game, there may not be a better O line in the league and there certainly isn’t a more talented unit on the Steelers. 

The have played extremely well over the last two games, games the Steelers won by the way.  They’ve opened up running lanes for James Conner and have allowed Ben Roethlisberger time to distribute the ball effectively.

The Defense Must Contain Jarvis Landry

The Steelers secondary is WEAK.  Outside of Joe Haden, it’s straight up bad.  They are very capable of giving up huge plays and Jarvis Landry is quite capable of making big plays. Haden must be the guy who follows Landry all over the field and the front seven need to get to Baker Mayfield as they did against the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan, which allowed them to stop Julio Jones.  If they can put pressure on Mayfield, they will contain Landry and keep themselves ahead in the game.

 

They Need To Ride James Conner

Conner put up 192 all purpose yards in week one to go along with two touchdowns.  He also had a costly fumble that lead to the tie.  That said, he’s been a very good running back for this team over the first six games, putting the ball in the end zone seven times already.  I believe if the team can feed him the ball 20-25 times, he’ll get a couple of scores and help control he clock at the same time.  If he can get his yards (he currently averages 4.4 yards per carry), he’ll open up the passing game.  Once that passing game opens up, the one and only Antonio Brown comes into play.  Once Brown is involved, the splash plays follow.  But it all starts with feeding the ball to Conner.

 

They Need To Buck The Trend

The Steelers are 1-4 in their last five games coming off a bye week. That’s flat out bad. I’m not sure what they are doing on their time off but they are clearly not preparing for their upcoming games.  We don’t have to go that far back to see what happened in the playoffs last year against Jacksonville, coming off a bye.  The team better have prepped for the last two weeks, while enjoying their time off so they can buck this trend.

 

I expect the Steelers to come out swinging. You’ll see a lot of James Conner, a good amount of Ben to A.B., a heavy rush on Baker Mayfield and a team fired up and ready to prove this season is theirs ready to go.  

The Steelers will extend their win streak to three games with a 35-23 victory.

10/4/18-Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

October 5, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

The 1-3 Flacons come to Heinz Field on Sunday to face the surprisingly bad 1-2-1 Steelers.  It’s a game that both teams need to have, the loser will be facing a massive uphill climb the rest of the season just in order to sniff the playoffs.

It will be a game that features two high powered offenses against two very susceptible defenses.  Who will come out on top?

Here are the keys to the game.

 

The Steelers Need To Start Fast

The black and gold have been bad at home this year and in the playoffs last year.  They haven’t scored a 1st quarter point at home since last December, they’ve been down a combined 35-0 at home in the first quarter so far this year and they have failed to convert a single opening drive first down in any game in 2018. 

That cannot continue this week. If this team wants to be successful, they need to begin that success early and then sustain it throughout. This continued need to play catchup is killing them and it will again if it happens vs. the Falcons.  With an offense as high powered as this one, it’s mind boggling to see what’s occurring early in games.  It’s also completely unacceptable. Randy Fichtner better get a game plan in order from the opening whistle if he doesn’t want to hear screams from above after this game.  The Steelers don’t need to score on their opening drive, but they need to move the football and they need to be up by the end of the first quarter.

 

James Conner Needs To Be A Focal Point

There’s news this week that Le’Veon Bell is returning during the bye week.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Honestly, I hope he does, if not sooner. This team needs him right now. As far as I’m concerned, he won the faceoff with Steelers management. They need him more than he needs them. Don’t think so? Think about this;  Bell is potentially this teams best defender; in that he keeps the black and gold defense off the field.  Would you rather see Bell running the ball or this defense on the field?

Until his return though, James Conner needs to be that guy.  That goes along with starting early. The team cannot afford to get down early and abandon the run. They need to pound the ball early, get Conner some breakaway plays and he needs to carry it 20 times, or more.  He needs to do what Bell does, keep this defense off the field, it’s the only chance for success they have. 

When Ben Roethlisberger has to throw it as many times as he has, this team does not have success, traditionally. I know the Falcons have a susceptible defense but the Steelers must control the clock through Conner in order to come out with a victory. If they choose to play the fast, up tempo game, as if they were the Golden State Warriors, they’ll end up on the losing end of a shootout. 

 

The Secondary MUST Step Up

Who in a black and gold uniform is going to stop Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley? Both Jones and Ridley average over 17 yards per catch. Ridley already has six touchdowns to go along with it.  In other words, they take the top right off the defense. 

You know what’s not good?  The Steelers defense loves to let opposing offenses take the top off.  See Burns, Artie or Sensabaugh, Coty.  Joe Haden is the only cornerback that I trust and I’m not sure even he can cover Jones. 

They have to find a way to keep these receivers in front of them at all costs, they may even be better off holding the receivers vs. giving up the big plays. Yeah, that’s where I am with this group right now. They are terrible and until they prove otherwise, consistently, I’ll continue to think so. 

The Front Seven Need To Provide Help

The secondary is awful, no question about it but the front seven aren’t really doing their jobs this season either.  After the Cleveland week, where has TJ Watt been?  How about Cam Heyward or Stephon Tuitt?  Bud Dupree has played above my expectations but beyond that, nobody is doing much of anything.

When you have the secondary the Steelers have, the front seven need to make up for it. They aren’t doing it so far.  They must pressure the Matt Ryan, who has only thrown two picks this season; and if Devonta Freeman plays on Sunday, they best find a way to contain him too.

Either way, I think this defense is giving up over 30 points this week.

                                                                           …………………………………………..

If the Steelers are unable to put up over 35 points this week, they will not win this game. I have no trust in this defense right now and the scary thing is, I’m losing faith in the offense that has so much talent. 

That all said, I think you’ll see the offense get Conner involved more this week. Antonio Brown is going to show up in full force this week and put together his best game of the season, to date and the defense will come up with a big play or two when it counts.

The Steelers will save their season with a 38-33 victory to the delight of the home town faithful.

 

9/29/18-Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

September 29, 2018 by  
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By: Mike Pelaia

As the black and gold sit 1-1-1, they find themselves playing for first place on Sunday Night Football against the 2-1 Ravens, their bitter rivals.  The Ravens come in to Heinz Field with confidence and ability, while the Steelers are amped to build on the momentum they gained with a Monday night win in Tampa Bay this past week. All bets are off when these two teams get together and it usually comes down to the final drive. I don’t expect anything different this go round.

Here Are The Keys To Victory:

  1. This insanely obvious at this point, but the black and gold need to eliminate the penalties. Averaging over 12 per game through the first three weeks is not acceptable. They need to be smart and not allow the game to get out of control. Free yards cannot be handed out in a battle that is expected to go down to the wire.
  2. Special teams will be the difference in this game and it will be time for Chris Boswell to make his kicks. The team cannot afford anymore missed field goals or extra points.
  3. The defense is still a frightening sight and one I don’t trust. The Steelers must use their offense as their best form of defense. A ball control, grind it out with James Conner style may be the key to winning in the end.
  4. Artie Burns and Coty Sensabaugh need to step up and provide Joe Haden some help. Joe Flacco has a big arm and he’ll make Burns and Sensabaugh pay if they let their man behind them.

Here Are A Few Things To Watch:

  1. The pass rush-It hasn’t been stellar since week 1 and I think it needs to be improved this week
  2. Bud Dupree – he’s playing well on an every other game basis right now. He’s due for an off game, can he play well two in a row?
  3. Ben Roethlisberger – he’s always lights out in prime time and against the Ravens, he’s even better. I expect a masterful game from him.
  4. JuJu – He’s been rolling through the first there weeks. How will the Ravens cover him and will he free up some opportunities for Antonio Brown?

The Ravens vs. Steelers rivalry is always a hard hitting, close game that typically comes down to the wire. I expect the Steelers to come out motivated and will win under the lights at Heinz Field.  24-23

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