Forget playoffs, Steelers fans should just root for these three things vs. Bengals

NFL playoffs are almost out of reach for the Steelers, but there's still plenty to root for this week.

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Mason Rudolph to ball out vs. Bengals

The decision to bench Mitch Trubisky late in the game against the Colts came out of necessity, as the Steelers' backup quarterback could take care of the football or move the chains effectively. The decision to start Mason Rudolph this week was far more of an indictment of Trubisky than an endorsement for Rudolph.

Regardless, fans should be hoping that Rudolph plays very well in this game. This isn't to try to trick the Steelers into thinking that Rudolph is something that he's not. Rather, to show Mike Tomlin and the front office that Kenny Pickett isn't going to be the answer the team needs.

If Rudolph (the team's third-string quarterback) looks notably better than Pickett or Trubisky despite being thrown to the wolves, maybe the coaching staff will understand that they need to raise the bar when it comes to the QB position. This could be the wake-up call that they need.

I never want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers have to move on from a first-round pick after just two seasons, but Kenny Pickett can't stay healthy and the offensive upside has been so limited when he's been on the field. They can't run it back with Pickett next year and expect different results.

A strong game from Mason Rudolph could show them that the gap between their starter and their third-stringer isn't nearly what it should be and that Pickett won't be the guy who takes them where they need to go.

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