The Steelers are set to face off against the Colts on Monday night, and they will have to answer these four questions if they want to win the game.
The Steelers suffered a bitter loss to the Bengals last week, and while the game was only a touchdown difference, the second half told a different story. After a strong start, the offense looked abysmal against an adjusted Bengals defense. The defense did its part but wore down due to constantly being on the field.
They face a very beatable Colts team on Monday night football. It hasn’t been the season many Colts fans wanted, as their additions haven’t yielded a strong result. They do seem to be somewhat rallying under new head Coach Jeff Saturday, but there are still a lot of holes on this team. Here are four pivotal questions the Steelers will have to answer if they want to get back into the win column.
Can the Steelers get after Matt Ryan?
In a league that is dominated by quarterbacks that move in the pocket and scramble, Matt Ryan is the ancient archetype of that field. While he used to be mobile, he has become more of a statue in the pocket due to his age. This should yield some favorable pass rush options, as the Steelers can get after Ryan and he won’t be able to easily escape.
The Colts line isn’t the elite group it used to be. While they have some great players, the group as a whole is playing very average right now. Both of the edge rushers should have a field day and pressure should be consistent. Getting a few hard shots or sacks on Ryan can very quickly limit the Colts passing game.
Can the Steelers beat the Colts secondary?
The Colts defense as a whole has played pretty well this season, but their secondary is filled with talented faces. Kenny Moore is considered one of, if not the, best slot corners in today’s game. The outside options feature steady veteran Stephon Gilmore and upstart cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, who is currently the third-best cornerback in the league according to PFF.
Kenny Pickett hasn’t exactly set the world on fire so far this season. Even after a strong first half, he looked shaken up when the Bengals adjusted last week. Throw in his middling accuracy and tendency to stare down his first read and force passes, and you have a recipe for disaster. He needs to play clean and beat this secondary this week.
Can Pickett build off last week?
Pickett had his best half of football in the first half against the Bengals. He was composed in the pocket and delivered great passes to his receivers. While far from perfect, he was utilizing most of the field and looked good (minus some accuracy issues). Even with a mediocre second half, he needs to look to build off this performance.
This doesn’t mean that he needs to come out and sling the ball around like crazy. He needs to continue to take what defenses give him, make fewer mistakes/turnovers, and continue to use the running game to open up the passing game. It won’t be easy this week, but he needs to build off the solid performance that he showcased earlier in the Bengals game.
Can the Steelers stop Jonathan Taylor?
Jonathan Taylor burst onto the scene last season with a dynamic, MVP-worthy season. Many were expecting similar results this year, but injuries and a worse offensive line have slowed him down (funny how
that works). He has started to find his footing though, and while not as elite as last season, Taylor is starting to play well again.
There is no bigger tell as to how this game will go than Taylor. If the Colts can establish a grinding rushing attack and Taylor is effective, there is no path for the Steelers to win. When healthy, this defense has down well to stop running backs though. They will need all hands on deck in order to limit Taylor on Monday.
The Steelers face a very beatable Colts team on Monday, but if they want to have any shot at winning, they will need to answer these four questions. This team has all of the tools in place to win, but it certainly won’t be an easy game.