Pittsburgh Steelers: Updated Game-by-Game Outlook
The win put the Steelers at 2-2 and kept them in the AFC North race. A loss would have been devastating and even tougher to bounce back from with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu leaving the game with injuries.
Pittsburgh may not be able to play with either of its defensive stars, as they are on a short week, playing on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.
A win over the Titans would put the Steelers over .500 for the first time this season and provide some momentum, as they have their first divisional game against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 21.
Here is a game-by-game outlook for the rest of the season.
Steelers at Titans
Even coming off of a short week potentially without two defensive starters, the Steelers should be heavily favored over the Titans.
While Tennessee has historically played tough against Pittsburgh, the Titans are struggling this season and have one of the worst point differentials in the league.
The Steelers will have to prevent against the big play from Chris Johnson, but he has struggled this season, and Pittsburgh’s run defense was much better against the Eagles.
On paper, this is one of the easiest games remaining on the schedule.
Steelers at Bengals
Pittsburgh will get some extra time to prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals, and that will be a very good thing.
The Bengals are ahead of the Steelers at 3-2 right now, but are still trying to find their stride.
Andy Dalton has had an up-and-down season, and the Steelers will have to get to him if they are going to beat the Bengals on the road.
The matchup between Ike Taylor and A.J. Green figures to be a good one. Taylor has allowed some receivers to get behind him this season and has been called for a number of downfield penalties, so the Bengals will try to take advantage of this.
A win puts the Steelers in position to seriously contend for the division, while a loss may put them out of the race early.
Steelers vs. Redskins
Pittsburgh returns home to face Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. This is a must-win game going up against a rookie quarterback.
As talented as Griffin is, the Steelers defense should plan to pressure him all day and force him into making rookie mistakes.
This game will not be easy, as the Redskins are 2-3 and gave the Atlanta Falcons a good game this past weekend. The home-field advantage will help the Steelers.
Steelers at Giants
Not only is this one of the Steelers' toughest games of the year, it should also be one of the best games of the year.
The battle between Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning will be hyped as the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterbacks square off yet again.
New York will be the favorite playing at home, and the Steelers will need a healthy team by this point of the year, particularly on defense.
The Giants have a potent offense, and they will need all hands on deck if they are going to slow down Manning.
If Pittsburgh can come out of New York with a win, it will be through a very impressive performance by the defense and Roethlisberger.
Steelers vs. Chiefs
Pittsburgh should not have many problems slowing down Matt Cassel; instead, it will have to worry about Jamaal Charles.
Charles is capable of putting up 150 yards each week and is a threat to break a long run on each carry. The Steelers will need a strong performance from the defensive line this week.
Even though the Chiefs may still only have one win at this point of the season, they are a team that will not roll over, and the Steelers will have a tough time.
Pittsburgh needs to take advantage of having Todd Haley going up against his former team to exploit the Chiefs’ defensive weaknesses.
Pending on what they do against the Bengals, the Steelers could be 6-3 entering the game against the Baltimore Ravens, with the potential loss being against the Giants.
Steelers vs. Ravens
Though it will only be the 11th week of the season, this could be a make-or-break game.
Baltimore is leading the AFC North and should continue to play well as the season progresses. Barring some unforeseen freefall, the Ravens should be leading the division for this game.
As to be expected, this will be a physical game.
The Ravens defense always rises to the occasion against the Steelers, and Joe Flacco has been stepping up against the Steelers as well.
A win over the Ravens could put the Steelers in the driver’s seat in the AFC North. A loss would mean the Steelers could need a strong finish to make a playoff push.
Steelers at Browns
If the Steelers can’t beat the Cleveland Browns behind rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Steelers will have some major issues at this point.
The only way that the Steelers lose this game is if it becomes the dreaded “trap game” sandwiched between two games against the Ravens.
Steelers at Ravens
As long as the Steelers keep winning games as they are expected to, the winner of this game should be the AFC North winner.
Steelers vs. Chargers
San Diego almost always struggles in Pittsburgh as it is, but for this game, the Chargers will have to battle the Steelers and the elements.
December football in Pittsburgh can be brutal with frigid temperatures and blustery conditions inside of Heinz Field, and that may make the Chargers’ East Coast trip even tougher.
Provided that the Steelers aren’t too beat up after playing the Ravens twice in the past three weeks, they should handle the Chargers.
Steelers at Cowboys
Do you ever know what to expect from the Dallas Cowboys? I know I don’t.
But one thing that we do know is that Tony Romo and the Cowboys are fully capable of doing a disappearing act in December.
That could all change if Dallas is in playoff position.
The stadium where the Steelers lost Super Bowl 45 could provide a huge advantage for the Cowboys; that is, if Steelers fans do not take it over.
However, being the fourth very challenging game in five weeks, this will be one to watch for.
Steelers vs. Bengals
The late-season game between the Steelers and Bengals just may decide one of the final playoff spots in the AFC.
Depending on how the division plays out, this is a game that could decide the division or one that decides one of the final playoff spots.
Ideally, a win clinching the division for the Steelers would be ideal. If this is not the case, chances would be that the Steelers and Bengals are in a neck-and-neck race for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC.
A loss here, and it could mean sitting at home in January.
Steelers vs. Browns
The Browns will be ready to hit the links, as their season will long have been over by now.
Pittsburgh will look to finish strong regardless to how its season went.