The Pittsburgh Steelers have a tough slate of games coming up, and their offensive performances could dictate when we first see Kenny Pickett.
The NFL season is lengthy, providing teams with a few weeks to fix costly mistakes. A 1-2 start places the Steelers at the bottom of their division. How will Pittsburgh fair against their upcoming games? A struggling offense continues to cause concern for fans. A new quarterback under center hasn’t improved Matt Canada’s offense – adding additional pressures on the defense. Mike Tomlin’s leadership is essential for the Steelers this season. Mistakes could cause the team to miss the playoffs – resulting in Tomlin’s first losing season.
It’s early in the season, and the Steelers have enough time to find solutions to problems that are holding the squad back. An injury to T.J Watt hurts the team defensively but should not cost the team their season. If Pittsburgh can rally a few wins during these upcoming weeks, their chances of clinching the playoff remain healthy.
Here are a few upcoming matchups that will test the Steelers’ strength.
Steelers must ruin Zach Wilson’s return to the gridiron
Defending the home field is an honor for the Pittsburgh defense. An impressive 18-6 record against the Jets will give Terryl Austin’s squad confidence towards Sunday’s kick-off. Playing without their All-Pro pass rusher isn’t easy, but the Steelers are managing to get the job done. Their assignment during week four is simple – put pressure on New York’s sophomore quarterback.
Zach Wilson’s return to the huddle will excite fans in New York. His performances since taking over the offense won over the respect of his peers. In 2021, Wilson finished his rookie season with 213 completions – resulting in 2,334 passing yards. No.2’s confidence has helped Robert Saleh win over the locker room, making the Jets a threat for any team on the schedule.
Inserting Wilson into the starting line-up will improve New York’s offense. Their execution without No.2 under center has kept the Jets ranked among the top offenses in the league. New York averages 370 yards per game – ranking 9th best in the NFL. Contributions from Garrett Wilson feed life into Mike Lafleur’s developing offense. Defeating the Jets is an achievable goal for the Steelers if their defense can protect the endzone.
Steelers must score points to keep up with Buffalo’s offense
Teryl Austin’s defense will face another test the following week. Stefon Diggs and the Bills are scheduled to host the Steel Curtain at Highmark Stadium. Explosive performances from the Bills’ offense have become the norm for Sean McDermott’s squad. Leadership from his young gunslinger gives the Bills an opportunity to win any game.
Scoring points is one of Josh Allen’s specialties. His nine touchdown passes rank second among quarterbacks – making Buffalo’s offense a threat. A strong-armed quarterback is the least of Mike Tomlin’s worries. Von Miller and his teammates will be eager to disrupt Pittsburgh’s offense – presenting issues for Matt Canada.
A loss to the Dolphins in Week 3 identified weaknesses in Buffalo’s defense. Tyreek Hill exposed Leslie Frazier’s secondary – costing the Bills a win. Before traveling to Miami, Buffalo limited opponents to 17 points. Von Miller and the defensive line yearn to disrupt the pocket – shifting the advantage in Buffalo’s favor.
Steelers must defend home field against Tom Brady
A week 6 match-up against the Buccaneers will prepare Pittsburgh for pivotal games late in the season. Tampa Bay is experiencing a few setbacks, but they manage to remain relevant. Injuries to Chris Godwin and Julio Jones caused other receivers to step up. High expectations set by Tom Brady challenge the team to get better, and they will continue to show they’re willing.
Tomlin’s master plan should manifest before the Steelers take on Tampa Bay. If the offense remains stagnant, the chance of making the playoffs grow slim. Pittsburgh can rely on their defense to keep games tight. While Austin’s squad contains the fire, the Steelers must answer the question of the season – does Kenny Pickett deserve a start?
Venturing the path of a quarterback change could be crucial, and Tampa week is not the right time to consider it. If Trubisky continues to struggle, a transition at quarterback could be necessary – but the offense would need to find a rhythm. Allotting time for chemistry usually comes in the off-season, but a substitution this important requires precision. Mike Tomlin demands excellence from his staff and players, so we can expect any transition to come would reflect the standard.
Playoff expectations will always exist for Pittsburgh fans. Their franchise exudes excellence – creating a standard for its community to live by. An interesting start to the season will require Tomlin’s squad to embrace each week. Their upcoming matchups are challenging, but the Steelers are up for the task.