Stairway to Seven
Stairway to Seven
By: David Dzienis
Amidst all the craziness of 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers remain undefeated after ten games. How have they accomplished this? Can they keep it up? Let’s take a deeper look and see what we can see.
The defense is the first thing that people will notice with this team. They lead the league in takeaways and sacks. While those big plays don’t make up the entirety of a game, they are dispiriting to the opposing team. With playmakers at all levels, this defense is one of the strongest in the league.
On offense the Steelers are being carried by the aging arm of Big Ben and his trio of young playmakers. Chase Claypool has become one of the best end zone targets in the league. Juju has fans remembering the great Hines Ward with his toughness and consistency, not to mention the infectious smile. Diontae Johnson has quickly established himself as a speedy and favorite target for Ben.
Now let’s take a gander at the rest of this schedule. Arguably the biggest test of the season is coming up on Thanksgiving night. The Pittsburgh-Baltimore games are nearly always tight, hard-fought battles. While this one is on the Steelers home turf, 2020 and the coronavirus have practically erased home field advantage. However, the Steelers are coming off two straight blowouts and the Ravens are reeling after disheartening losses to the Titans and Patriots.
The Redskins come to town next and while the entire NFC East is in shambles, they have played the Steelers remarkably close. With a sneaky good defense, the return of Alex Smith (which is absolutely incredible) and the emergence of young stars Gibson and McLaurin, this could actually be a closer game than expected. I still don’t expect them to beat the Steelers but look for it to be closer than people expect.
The Bills are next on the menu, which is sure to be a cold and bitter game in Buffalo. I liken the Bills to the Ravens, except with better weapons and a weaker defense. As long as the Steelers can contain Josh Allen, they should be fine. In the past, the Steelers have struggled mightily with mobile QB’s, but they appear to have exorcised that demon this year.
I don’t believe I need to touch on the Bengals or Browns games. If you play out of Ohio, Big Ben owns you. With a combined score this year of 74-17, as well as an all time record of 47-9-1, I’m not overly concerned from either of these games, One note on this is that, pending the Steelers wrapping up the number one seed, they may have the backups in for the week 17 game against the Browns.
In between those two fun divisional games, the Colts come to town with that ridiculously stout defense. This would be the game I’d be the most worried about ruining the Steelers bid for an undefeated season. With two of the league’s top defenses on the field, I expect the better offense to prevail. At this moment, that would be the Steelers, but with the Colts having just taken down the Titans and the Pack, they could be the team to derail this Steelers train.
So, can the Pittsburgh Steelers go undefeated? I believe a path is there for them to take. The main knock on the Steelers however is the easy schedule. They got to face the laughable NFC East. In the division, the Browns only seem capable of beating bad teams, the Ravens are faltering, and the Bengals are, well, the Bengals. We also got to face the Broncos, Texans, and Jaguars, three of this year’s worst teams. The bouts against the Colts and the Bills will show us more of what this team is capable of, and more importantly, if they can handle the likes of the mighty Chiefs in the playoffs.
As a final note, my personal hope for this year’s Super Bowl would be to see the Steelers and the Bucs. An opportunity to beat the G.O.A.T (as well as AB) is just too juicy to pass up, considering Brady and his Patriots knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs in the conference championship on three separate occasions.
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