After a dud of a game last week, Sept. 9, in which the Steelers tied the hapless Cleveland Browns, the Black and Gold come back home to play the 1-0 Kansas City Chiefs, who went into Los Angeles and handled the favored Chargers.
The Steelers, looking for their first victory of the season, while also trying to avoid their first loss of the season, will need to get more out of their offense if they want to have a chance in this one.
Here are the keys to a Steeler victory:
After last week, how can anything other than protecting the football be number one on this list? The six turnovers last week, five by Ben Roethlisberger, were the reason the Steelers blew the game. They cannot do that again if they want to even remain in this contest. If Roethlisberger continues to play like that, this team will be in trouble. It won’t happen again, however. Ben will come out and shred the Chiefs defense. Don’t worry about his “elbow injury,” Ben will be fine.
The defense played well last week but the one thing they could have done more of is create turnovers. I think they’ll need to get at least two turnovers this week against a potent Chiefs offense, led by Patrick Mahomes. Despite looking good last week, the lack of turnovers from the defense certainly hurt the team in the end. It’s been a problem in recent years and one that must be turned around starting now. This team has the capability to make splash plays on defense and they better show it against Mahomes and company.
The defense will have their hands full with Tyreek Hill and they must find a way to contain the burner, who went for 169 yards in last week’s game. He’s a threat on offense and special teams and can change the game on any play. Keeping him to 5 catches and 50 yards should be a goal for the Black and Gold. Does the defense have anyone capable of stopping Hill? I fear Keith Butler may lack the ability to even scheme for Hill and if he can’t find a way to at least contain the Chiefs receiver, it could be a long day. The best defense for Hill will be to pressure Mahomes and force fast throws.
Ben Roethlisberger needs to throw less than 30 times on Sunday. If he can throw in the mid 20’s and allow the running game to lead the way, the Steelers will come out on top. If he throws it over 30 times, it usually means a loss for the Steelers. Ben is still talented, one of the best in the league, despite what some national media folks say, but the running game needs to control the tempo.
Here are a few things to watch:
James Conner—After an impressive first start, how will he follow it up? I’m not worried about the fumble he had. Yes it was costly, but 192 total yards was pretty impressive as well, I’d say.
TJ Watt—After a 3.5 sack performance, can Watt keep the pressure on and get another sack or two? Mahomes is mobile and the defense is going to need to keep him in the pocket.
Bud Dupree—Dupree had one of his better games as a pro last week. Can he follow that up again this week with a stellar performance?
The Inuries— Roethlisberger, David DeCastro and Joe Haden are all nursing injuries after last week. How effective will they be, if they play?
The Steelers may not have officially lost last week but it sure did feel like one to anyone who watched the game. The Chiefs are a tougher test for them and a team who is very capable of beating them in Pittsburgh.
That said, the Steelers are too motivated this week to allow a loss to happen. The Steelers will win this game, 31-20.