The Steelers have begun their quest for Seven with a relatively unimpressive 2-0 start. Yet, 2-0 is exactly where they wanted to be at this point and they’ll be the first to tell you that it doesn’t matter how you get the wins, as long as you win. While I’d agree that winning is the most important aspect, I’d have to say that how you win or at least how you play, is indicative of how good you are at any given point in the season. Right now, though 2-0, I don’t think the Steelers are a great football team. They have work to do and it needs to begin this week, when they travel to the 0-2 Chicago Bears.
The Bears are bad, there is just no other way to put it. They have little to no expectations this season and despite being 12-1 all time against the Steelers at home, they are heavy underdogs to the black and gold this Sunday.
In my opinion, the Bears cannot beat the Steelers this Sunday but the Steelers can beat themselves.
Here are the keys to victory:
1. I said this in my podcast earlier this week but it’s worth repeating, the black and gold cannot look towards the Ravens game next week, overlooking the Bears this week. There is no faster way for this team to cost themselves the game than automatically assuming it’s in the bag.
2. I have said this the previous two weeks and unfortunately I have to say it again, they have to limit the penalties. 13 penalties in week 1 and 10 in week 2 are not acceptable numbers. I hope and expect to see improvement this week in Chicago.
3. If the Steelers commit multiple turnovers, specifically in their own territory, that will allow the Bears to hang around. The last thing a heavy favorite ever wants to do is allow the underdog to remain in the game and gain confidence.
4. I believe Ben Roethlisberger needs to spread the ball out to more receivers. 32% of all his passes are going to Antonio Brown, making it a slight bit easier for opposing defenses to game plan for. Getting more balls to Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers or Le’Veon Bell would be a good way to keep the Bears defense honest.
Here are a Few Things to Watch:
1. Le’Veon Bell has 234 catches through his first 49 career games played. The Steelers record is 236 catches through 50 games, set by Antonio Brown. If Bell picks up three catches, he’ll break the record, which I find extremely impressive considering Bell is a running back!
2. James Harrison has played a total of four plays in the first two weeks. He didn’t appear thrilled about it after the Vikings game. I expect him to get on the field a little bit more this week and you better believe he’ll let the Bears know he’s out there.
3. It’s my expectation that Ben is going to spread the ball out more this week and what I’m very interested to see, assuming this occurs, is how Antonio Brown reacts. He’s never been too fond of not getting a lot of catches each week and should his catch total drop, will he pout or will he be a team player this go round?
4. I just have a hunch that Artie Burns is going to have a big day. I’m looking for a pick out of him and a few pass deflections as well.
The Steelers should win this game fairly easily, unless they shoot themselves in the foot. They are the far superior team and really do need to use this game to get their act together in terms of the mental lapses they’ve made through two weeks. I think they’ll get the job done and will operate on all cylinders this week with a win over the Bears 34-12.