The Pittsburgh Steelers set a standard in their Week 1 win at Cincinnati. To keep it alive, the last thing they should do is lose to New England.
How great of a week 1 win was that for the Pittsburgh Steelers, am I right everybody? To go into the den of a hated rival (and defending conference champ) and come out victorious in such nail-biting fashion is one of the greatest things about sports.
However, if the Steelers fail to do anything with this new standard that they have now set for themselves, both they and their fans could be in for yet another season that was started with nothing but false hope.
For those who do not remember, Pittsburgh actually had a pretty awesome upset in Week 1 of the 2021 season as well. Mike Tomlin’s team stomped right into Buffalo and snatched a 23-16 win from the Bills—a squad that was entering the season as a favorite in the AFC.
While that was, of course, an outstanding moment for all of us Steelers fans, we have to remember what ultimately came from such a stunning result: absolutely nothing.
To continue the stroll down memory lane, I would like to remind everyone that Pittsburgh went on to lose its next three games, en route to a mediocre season that needed the stars to align for it to get demolished in the Wild Card round.
With all of that said, this installment of post-Week 1 hype could blow up in all of our faces just like last year’s did, so the worst thing that anyone could do is get overly comfortable with Pittsburgh’s current situation.
But while fans should remain hesitant when it comes to hopping on the hype trains, the Steelers themselves do need to understand what exactly they could do with the bottled lightning that they potentially have here, and a great way to start would be by downing the New England Patriots this Sunday.
Is it likely for the Patriots to lose to the Steelers?
Unlike Pittsburgh, New England did not have a tremendous start to its 2022 campaign. The Pats were shut down in a manhandling dealt by the Miami Dolphins, losing to the Fins by a disheartening score of 20-7.
As with most other matchups like these, the outcome of this game has left many praising the bright future of the Dolphins while New England (most namely its offense) gets dragged over the coals.
Although considering that Pittsburgh will be facing the latter this weekend, I’m all for the exposing of weaknesses—weaknesses that are hopefully capable of being exploited to a game-changing degree.
Obviously, the Patriots being held to one measly score against Miami (a team that has had their number in recent memory) resulted in the arising of questions about their offense’s limitations, whether they be due to Matt Patricia’s play-calling, Mac Jones’s relatively unimpressive performance, or both.
But, from a Steelers fan’s perspective, the specifics of that predicament shouldn’t matter; the only thing that should matter is Pittsburgh’s ability to replicate Miami’s act of shutting New England down defensively.
Now don’t get me wrong, offensive execution will be a key as well, especially with its ceiling still being a question mark as Pittsburgh plans to take on a defensive mind like Bill Belichick’s.
It was the Steelers defense that made the largest impact in Week 1, so it should be seen as the more crucial half of this matchup—if it thrived last week because of a flawed offense, it should hopefully do so again with an even-more-flawed offense.
In an attempt to tie a bow on this whole rant that I’ve got going here, I’ll just summarize it like so: Pittsburgh got a big win against a “superior” opponent because it took advantage of an offense’s inability to consistently execute, and if such a performance was not a fluke, then Week 2 should be no different.
If the Steelers were to lose this game (especially if doing so fell on defensive impotence), they would essentially be giving off the same vibes that they did this time last year: ones of inconsistency, inferiority, and, above all else, ones of still not being remotely close to what they could be.