What can be said about last weeks’ game that hasn’t already? It was a great comeback after a devastating injury to Ryan Shazier. The game was physical, ugly in many ways, scary, yet encouraging at the same time. For the first time this year, I wasn’t displeased with a narrow victory by the black and gold. I realized this team has resiliency and that’s a characteristic that can drive a team through the playoffs.
Yet, we are not there yet. Next up on the docket is the hated Baltimore Ravens. While I fully expect this game to be hard hitting and extremely physical, I don’t expect it to be as violent or as ugly as the Bengal game was this past Monday Night.
Here Are The Keys To Victory
- The Steelers need to somehow put the Shazier injury behind them. Often times, teams can get up during the moment but suffer a massive hangover the following week. The black and gold will be tested this week to see just how resilient they are and if they are capable of playing for Shazier; not worrying about him during game time (as hard as that may be to do).
- Whoever replaces Shazier needs to be able to call the right defenses out. That won’t be easy. Shazier was easily the Steelers best defensive playmaker. His absence creates a void that must be filled but not only his replacement but the other 10 guys on the field. No one guy can replace Shazier. My suggestion is to finally allow James Harrison to suit up, start him at OLB and move either TJ Watt or Bud Dupree to the inside. I think that gives this team the best chance to win.
- I think the game will be tight and ball control will be pivotal. Le’Veon Bell is a huge key to controlling the clock and moving the sticks. He must get the ball 25 times, or more, this week.
- As I usually say in this game, special teams will be key. In a close affair, whoever wins the special teams battle usually comes out on top. All sides of special teams must play mistake free football. The littlest flip in field position due to a special teams gaffe, could cost the Steelers the game.
Here Are A Few Things To Watch
- Just sit back and enjoy Antonio Brown. Not only is he making a Hall of Fame career happen before our eyes but he’s now making the case to be considered the greatest wide receiver of all time.
- Big Ben talked about the lack of respect he has for the Bengals and the respect he does have for the Ravens. Just watch the game unfold and see what he means. These teams play hard but you can see the respect they share. I expect a tight, hard fought contest.
- I think Jesse James will be an important check down target for Roethlisberger this week. Look for him to have 5 or more catches and a possible score.
- I certainly anticipate a game that comes down to the wire, possibly to the last minute or two. In games like that, you always have to keep your eye on Chris Boswell. He’s been pretty solid in the clutch and may have to be again this week.
This game will be a close one and one that will be won late. I think the Steelers will continue to roll along and get past the Ravens, beating them 24-20. It won’t be easy but the Steelers will head into the showdown with the Patriots with an 11-2 record.