When the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Minnesota Vikings next week, it is going to be their toughest challenge of the season. To dramatically improve their chances of winning, here is what I think they need to do:
Go to Heath Miller Early and Often
Heath has been dominant to this point this year. At the same time the Vikes have been one of the worst teams defending the tight end.
This is a clear matchup that the Steelers need to tale advantage of. If they have any success defending Heath, Matt Spaeth can be used efficiently since the defense will be keying on Miller.
Stop Jared Allen
Allen has been one of the most dominant defenders in the NFL this year. While Max Starks has had a better season than some expected, he is still much slower than Allen off the ball.
In order to keep Big Ben from getting killed, I would put either Ramon Foster or Tony Hills at tackle eligible next to Starks. This would put two tackles on Allen, and that should prevent him from getting to Ben.
Take What the Defense Gives Them
While the Vikings have a good defense, they have weaknesses. Their best corner, Winfield, is likely going to miss the game. Cedric Griffin is not a great number two, and the rest are not all that great.
The safeties are both middle of the pack. If Ben is given time to throw, he will have ideal matchups with all of his receivers ( I personally hope Sweed is one of them).
The Williams Wall is very difficult to run against, but if the passing game is working, they won't be on the field together as much, and that should open up the run. If Mendy can get through the front line, there is a good deal of yardage to be had, as the linebackers are also middle of the pack.
Make Favre Play Like Favre
Brett has not yet made the killer mistakes this season, but he definitely has them in him.
Our front seven badly need to get some pressure on him, and coach LeBeau needs to use some strange coverages (move Troy around) to confuse Favre.
If we can get a few turnovers from him, it makes the game much more winnable.
Adrian Peterson is one of the best runners in the NFL today, and he must be contained. Our defenders need to wrap up and make sure they don’t give him second chances to pick up yards.