The Steelers will try to win their third consecutive game this week when the 5-2 Colts come to town. Just as the last several games have been, it’s a must-win scenario for the black and gold if they want to stay in the playoff conversation in the AFC North.
The team has officially passed the Cleveland Browns in the standings and are now chasing down the Baltimore Ravens, who have a very tough matchup against New England on Sunday night ahead of them.
In order for the Steelers to win the game, they must run the football and play the rabid defense they’ve been playing for the last several weeks. They’ll need to get after Jacoby Brissett who isn’t making many mistakes this season. Yet Brissett is still relatively inexperienced. If Keith Butler calls for a barrage of blitzes, Brissett will be forced to get rid of the ball early and therefore won’t be able to get the ball downfield to his top threat, TY Hilton.
Marlon Mack is the guy that scares me the most on offense for the Colts. He’s been solid this year and a guy the defense will need to center on. Stuffing the run and forcing Brissett to make throws to beat them is the best formula for success on the defensive side of the ball. I’m looking for big games out of both Vince Williams and Devin Bush and expect them to be high impact guys on Sunday afternoon.
On the offensive side of the ball, they must continue to allow Mason Rudolph to throw downfield. Last week, he was able to involve JuJu Smith-Schuster which changed the game. Thanks to the help of Diontae Johnson, Smith-Schuster was freed up for one on one coverage and put up number one receiver numbers. If Rudolph can spread the ball out again, JuJu will have another big day.
Yet the offensive line will be the true key on offense as the Steelers must start their game plan with running the football. It is my expectation that Jaylen Samuels will be getting the bulk of the carries this week. Samuels is a capable back but coming off an injury that sidelined him the last few weeks, he may be a bit rusty. The O-line must open up holes for him and any other backs carrying the ball, on a consistent basis.
Through the battle, I think it will come down to a last-minute kick by Chris Boswell. Boswell has had a sensational season thus far and my expectation is he will continue it with a game-winning kick late in the fourth quarter, enabling the Steelers to move to 4-4 and stay in the AFC North chase.
Steelers 27 - Colts 24