The Steelers are red-hot on the heels of an eight-game winning streak but could the lack of control of the football kill the Super Bowl aspirations?
While the team as a whole has improved tremendously and everyone has seemingly contributed, the man at the helm, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, has actually statistically struggled with this new offensive approach.
Pittsburgh has been red-hot, currently holding onto an eight-game win streak ever since adopting a more conservative and run-first approach to their offense. Additionally, their defensive improvements have also played a major factor in improving the team and keeping them in the Super Bowl mix.
Over the last six games, Roethlisberger has thrown an even eight touchdowns to eight interceptions after starting the season with 23 passing touchdowns to just seven interceptions over the span of the first ten games.
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While the Steelers had their best season performance against the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in this year with a 43-13 blowout, the team’s are both extremely different, and for the better. But now, after Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns and no interceptions in their first matchup, the Chiefs have been playing a lot better and the Steelers’ passing game has quietly dwindled behind Le’Veon Bell‘s explosive performances.
The Chiefs led the league in interceptions throughout the season with 18, and boast some special playmakers in the secondary including young cornerback Marcus Peters and the beloved safety, Eric Berry.
Another huge addition for Kansas City is that Justin Houston is back, and while he’s a linebacker and likely won’t be intercepting balls himself, he’s someone capable of pressuring Roethlisberger into making the errant throws that he’s made too many times recently.
It’s likely that once again Bell will be relied on, as that’s been the recent strategy and it has worked extraordinarily well. But, the passing game must be reliable, and Roethlisberger will need to limit the turnovers that have plagued him recently.
In a game that has the look of being highly contested in hostile territory, turnovers could seriously impact the Steelers, and that’s not acceptable.
If the Steelers can limit turnovers and continue the strategy that has been working as of late, they have a very good opportunity to come out with a victory. Obviously, the defense will play a factor, but with the Chief’s defense one of the best in the league and the Steelers offense sometimes inconsistent but with the potential to be explosive, that could be the real difference.