Pittsburgh Steelers: Playing down to opponents does not win Super Bowls

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordan Howard
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordan Howard /

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl chances didn’t take much of a blow in their Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears, but it certainly didn’t help them.

The Steelers did exactly what everyone was expecting. Every year, the optimism, especially against weaker opponents, is high with a sense of caution. Fans know that their team should win, but in the back of their head, they know there’s a strong possibility Pittsburgh will lose.

It almost feels like the Steelers want to play the New England Patriots week-after-week – As if the mentality of this team is win big or don’t win at all.

Obviously, that’s not true. Pittsburgh doesn’t want to lose to weaker opponents, especially on the road, but time and time again it’s what happens.

Some say it’s the environment that head coach, Mike Tomlin, has created. That this team is designed to win at home but once they leave Heinz Field, they forget what intensity is.

Maybe that’s the case. The Steelers are 5-13 against worse teams on the road over the last 18 games. No one is saying that means it’s certain, but c’mon, 5-13.

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The problem is that Pittsburgh can pull off wins against better teams on the road, but in the playoffs, you want to be at home. If you’re the Steelers, a team who’s nearly unstoppable in Pittsburgh, you definitely want to play as many games at home in the playoffs as possible. But without winning in the regular season, that’s not going to happen.

In the postseason, it isn’t the last wildcard team who’s threatening the Steelers, but the New England Patriots. Every year, no matter how much they struggle against weaker opponents in the regular season, come January, the only team who scares the Steelers are the Patriots.

Think of how much more confident the Steelers and their fans would be in New England had to come through Pittsburgh. If Heinz Field was the journey to Super Bowl LII, the Steelers would have a bigger upper hand than any other team in the NFL.

That can’t happen if Pittsburgh isn’t taking advantage of easy games. Chicago would’ve kept them a game above New England and Baltimore heading into Week 4. Instead, they face the Ravens on the road with an early lead in the AFC North on the line.

Pittsburgh does this to themselves. They’d be 3-0 and in times past, have a much better advantage heading into the postseason. But instead, they continue to come out slow and find endless opportunities to shoot themselves in the foot against teams much less talented than them.

They aren’t guaranteed anything this season. They want to win the Super Bowl, yes, and with the moves they’ve made this offseason, it’s clear that they’re all in for this season. Without fixing their regular season issues, though, their journey come the postseason is going to be much harder.

This team has everything going for it except execution. At 2-1, there’s still time to make the adjustments and control their own destiny. But without figuring out their downplaying problems now, they’ll be road warriors in January.

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The Steelers have everything they need to make a run to Super Bowl LII; they just need to take home-field advantage. Losing to Mike Glennon’s Chicago Bears isn’t going to get them that.