The Pittsburgh Steelers will always be known for their defense. No matter what is happening with the offense, the defense will always evoke fear in the hearts of quarterbacks across the league, there’s no denying that. The Steelers defense is dominant again this year with one variation. What has always been a defense that is dominant against the run is now stingier against the pass but overall has regained their stature as a team that you can’t just plan to run the ball against. The Steelers defense ranks 3rd against the pass and 7th against the run. They are ranked 2nd in yards allowed and 4th in points allowed. What’s the old saying? Offense may win games but defense wins championships. While the Steelers defense is just earning ground in the turnover category, their dominance is not denied across the league. The key to beating Rogers and the Packers this season would be for a defense to control him and keep him off the field.
Another strength for the Steelers this year is the offense. The Steelers have moved into the middle ground when it comes to being a rushing team. The offense has evolved to the point where if the run isn’t there, they aren’t going to force it. Just between the first few games of the season and now, there’s not a whole lot of Mendy dancing at the line of scrimmage and instead there’s a whole lot of short passes, yards after the catch, and deep routes run by the incredible young receiving corps. Ben is putting up numbers that he’s never done before, and no other Steeler quarterback has done before. If the Steelers offense could control the game and keep long drives going similar to the ones in the Patriots game and the end of the Bengals game, than Rogers stays off the field and the Steelers win no question.
If I’m going to say Lambeau Field is a strength for the Packers than it almost goes without saying that Heinz Field (as well as most other stadiums across the nation) is a strength for the Steelers. I would say that the fan base edge actually goes to the Steelers in this category. Personally, I’ve only ever seen the Steelers as the away team and I can tell you first hand it’s not only that Steeler fans travel well, Steeler fans live all over the place. While you can always spot a cheese-head at a game, on account of they are wearing a giant foam cheese hat, Steeler Nation is always more present as the largest fan base in the NFL. We all know who America’s Team really is, don’t we? If this imaginary game is held on a neutral site, Steeler fans are filling those stands without a question and someone is going to find a way to get Renegade to play over the loud speaker.
As an unapologetically biased Steelers fan can I admit that they have any weaknesses? Of course I can, that’s silly. The moments were all of Steeler Nation screams obscenities at the television or rants and raves on the discussion boards or calls up the talk shows. The biggest uncharacteristically glaring weakness I feel is the turnover ratio. The Steelers are at a -10 ratio, while the Packers are sitting at +11. We’re not going to talk about any of the turnovers from Super Bowl XLV because that would turn into a profanity laced tirade and I decided a while ago that I wasn’t going to continue to take shots at Mendenhall. The Steelers got 2 interceptions in their last game against the Bungles, which to me is a good sign that things are looking up in that area. For two teams that could be as evenly matched as the Steelers and Packers were this season and last season, we all know too well that turnovers could be the keys to victory.
I believe with a healthy team on both sides of the ball the Steelers come out on top this time. They have the key pieces that could exploit the Packers weaknesses like no team has been able to thus far. LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison would harass Rogers and Ben’s offense would control the tempo. For a little exaggeration from an unapologetically biased fan, we would totally dominate in every aspect of the game and beat the Packers into submission! You all knew that was coming sooner or later in this post. In all seriousness this is a matchup I think a lot of people want to see and we just might see this matchup again in Indianapolis in February anyway. Go Steelers!
Follow me on Twitter @Kimmy_KimKimM