Pittsburgh Steelers Bigger Worry – Saints D or Drew Brees?
Nov 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) motions against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bengals defeated the Saints 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New Orleans Saints at home Sunday afternoon, and make no mistake, the Saints will be a very dangerous team. This game is far from a trap game. A trap game usually means that the opposing team not only has a losing record, but also is a bottom basement, mistake filled, ball never bounces their way, playing for nothing team. The Saints have had their ups and downs this season – mainly downs. However, at 4-7 they are tied with the Flacons for the top spot in the NFC South Division. They are very much alive in the playoff race. But hey, that might be good for this Steelers squad that struggles against the bottom feeders.
The Steelers will most certainly have their hands full on both sides of the ball. Of course, Drew Brees is a major concern. The Saints offense is ranked 3rd in passing yards with Brees ranking 3rd among all QB’s in yards. This Steelers secondary will have their hands full, but the defense will need to employ a similar system that has garnered success for seven other teams – a huge physical presence and putting pressure on Brees. The Ravens were able to do it just enough last Monday to stay ahead up until the end of the game. Dick LeBeau will need to unleash the dogs and let his defensive front command the line of scrimmage. Even if the Steelers are successful in keeping back a few rain drops, it will be difficult to hold back the flood waters. The Saints will surely put up points it’s what they do. Not even the return of Ike Taylor (maybe) and others can hold them completely out of the end zone.
With that in mind, the pressure is most certainly on the Steelers offense. As much as we’ve seen the success of what the down field throws do for this offense, Ben Roethlisberger and the receiving core will be challenged. The Saints have the 27th ranked defense in the league. Many of the Saints losses have come at the hands of a huge breakdown by their defense – they give up 26 points a game. However, the Saints defense, specifically Rob Ryan, has come under huge fire from the Saints fan base. This subsequently has fired up the defensive players. They have been very vocal in the locker room this week defending their coach and putting the onus on themselves. They are fired up and very emotional, especially former Pittsburgh Steeler and corner Keenan Lewis. You have to consider that Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be hesitant to throw down field and try and rely early on running back Le’Veon Bell.
So who is the bigger worry for our Black & Gold? Drew Brees against a defense that continually is slow to come out of the gate, or an inspired defense that will be hell bent on asserting itself in getting to Ben Roethlisberger?