Now is the time for the Steelers to begin their climb

  • Steelers must take advantage of scheduling opportunities
  • Offense finally looks ready to take a bigger leap
  • A winning streak is exactly what the doctor ordered

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

I was one of the many happy campers that came from the news of Steelers OC Matt Canada finally getting the boot, and we were all hopeful that there would be at least a gradual rise in their overall formidability as a result—but I don’t think anyone expected what we ended up getting.

In what can be considered nothing less than a gift from the football gods, Pittsburgh unleashed an offensive performance on Cincinnati so dominant that many yinzers likely grew lightheaded just witnessing it. The Steelers finished the game with 421 total yards to their name, almost exactly 200 more than the Bengals.

It was their first time out-gaining an opponent all season, and they had failed to break 400 yards even once in the Matt Canada era. They ending both droughts of incompetence in the first game after his firing confirms what little doubt there was surrounding him being the biggest problem in Pittsburgh.

Now I understand that it is quite easy to get caught up in such a rejuvenating rivalry win, but it's also important to remember that the Steelers offense once again failed to experience the full breakthrough we’ve been waiting an eternity for, as all of their yardage resulted in just a 16-10 win. While that low score was enough to conquer a weak Cincinnati offense, it would be reckless to assume that it’s an adequate output to shoot for on a consistent basis.

But again, this is the first game to see the Pittsburgh offense under new management, and especially with it following a loss to a clearly beatable Cleveland (which had ruined a then-perfect record in divisional play), I don’t think we’re going to see much rioting in the Steel City over it. Yet even if we were to, the Steelers should be able to rest easy knowing that they’ll have decent opportunities to extinguish such heartache in their coming games.

The Steelers must take advantage of these approaching weaklings

As I mentioned last week, the next couple of teams on Pittsburgh’s schedule are in no way menacing. This Sunday, the Steelers will host the 2-10 Arizona Cardinals; the following Thursday, they'll host the 2-9 New England Patriots.

The Cards should cause little trouble in the lockdown defense department, as they have only kept an opponent below 20 points once this season. When it comes to offense, their QBs have combined for 10 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions while their rushing attack has fumbled more times (14) than it’s hit the end zone (11). Especially when talking about a defense as capitalizing as Pittsburgh’s, those are flaws that are surely severe enough to be further exploited.

As for the Pats, the ability they’ve shown in containing some of their foes (particularly as of late) implies that they are going to be a far more difficult squad to score on. However, this could-be-worse defense will be accompanied by an offense that has been held to single-digit points in its last two games. And, to go along with that lack of scoring, it’s had some turnover issues of its own, most notably in regards to how its passing game has thrown more picks (14) than touchdowns (10).

Next. AFC North standings see Steelers riding off a high into Week 13. AFC North standings see Steelers riding off a high into Week 13. dark

That combination of pathetic records, decent-at-best defenses and hideous ball-handling should lead the Steelers to a handsome 9-4 record, headlined by a three-game win streak and a consistently successful offense. At that point, they will hopefully be prepared for their final month’s worth of opposition and finish the regular season on an electric note.