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Your 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers...

2021 Patriots Season:
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Next Up: at Bills
Pick Results: NE: 83.5% at BUF: 16.5%

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Dec 6th

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lillloyd

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Greetings Pats Fans,

Each year the Steelers play the Pats, I post my pre-game thoughts here. It's meant to be straight football talk (while I'm perfectly fine with hearing trash talk, it's personally just not my thing.)

This year's writeup was a pretty solemn affair, and - *SPOILER ALERT* - I'm expecting a huge blowout. Details below...

Steelers Offense - Skill Positions

For a few heady days in March, sport commentators positively gushed about the Steelers' offensive potential: records would be broken, and Pittsburgh was a Super Bowl contender...perhaps even a favorite. Their lineup would include 2016's version of 'the triplets' (Big Ben, AB, Le'veon Bell), an emerging star in Martavis Bryant, the newly-signed Ladarius Green to race down the seams, with Marcus Wheaton and Sammie Coates as your WR3 and WR4 (!!)

Alas, life happens...which in football means injuries (and of course, marijuana).

Let's start with the obvious: there is a yawning chasm between the abilities of Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones. Jones won the QB2 job largely by default, as vet Bruce Gradkowski could never stay healthy. To his credit, Jones did help engineer an improbable home victory against the Cardinals last year, and I guess he has in fact improved over time. But he remains a subpar backup with fundamental accuracy issues that will almost certainly be exposed over multiple starts.

At wideout, Bryant is of course suspended, Green is not yet practicing, Marcus Wheaton has been perpetually injured (and frankly awful--in a contract year no less--to the extent he's even seen the field), and Sammie Coates is playing--if only barely--through finger fractures. Green and Wheaton are certainly out for Sunday, and Coates is only getting reps on the scout team, meaning he will likely only play sporadically (like last week).

Antonio Brown of course remains, but historically speaking AB has suffered greatly when Ben has been out. Teams bracket Brown consistently - a tactic I'm sure the Patriots will employ -- and Jones simply lacks Roethlisberger's pinpoint accuracy when it comes to breaking down double coverage.

Ben's abilities have masked a significant lack of game experience at the wideout position. Aside from AB, Jones will have the following 1st-year starters to throw to: WR Eli Rogers (promising young slot receiver), Jesse James (sure-handed but plodding TE), and WR Cobi Hamilton (journeyman call-up from the practice squad last week). Darius Heyward-Bey remains rostered, and will give you an occasional pop as a still-viable speed merchant...but sadly he remains 'Darius Heyward-Bey'. Bottom line, this is a very inexperienced group behind AB, so there are times every game when the wideouts are simply not where they should be on their routes. This clearly has hampered Ben from time to time, and certainly won't help Jones.

At RB: Le'Veon Bell.....'Nuff said. He should get a TON of touches in this game, as both a RB and at WR.


Steelers Offense - OL


On paper, Pitt boasts 3 Pro Bowl-caliber linemen in Pouncey, RG David Decastro (an All Pro last year), and unheralded RT Marcus Gilbert. But both Gilbert and his backup (IR'd Ryan Harris) are out, and out-of-position guard Chris Hubbard is now in as the 3rd string RT. Beyond that, DeCastro has disappointed, struggling mightily at times with power players (Suh, Fletcher Cox). The truth is that while Pouncey and DeCastro are elite as athletic move-type run blockers, they can both can struggle in pass pro against strong interior D-linemen. Ramon Foster is a savvy, smart, but limited LG; Allejandro Villenueva is a much better story at this point than a player, and can be exploited with athletic edge rushers.

As a whole, this is still an above-average offensive line, but like most OLs it is better at road-grading than pass-pro. The Pats should have pass rush advantages against both OTs on Sunday.


Steelers Defense

The core of the Pitt defense resides in stud 3-4 ends Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, and ILB Ryan Shazier. The hope was that Bud Dupree would also 'make the leap' has an immensely athletic but raw LOLB, giving the Steelers a young, talented, and explosive nucleus. Alas, all save Tuitt have struggled with injuries (although there is hope that Shazier may see the field Sunday.)

Assuming Heyward can't go, New England should be able to cave in the left side of the Steelers' defensive front (typically pretty stout at home against the run). Miami simply wore down the Steelers front last week; without Heyward, rookie Javon Hargrave and reserve Ricardo Matthews will again be forced into heavy snaps.

Last year, Pitt manufactured a pass rush with a steady diet of blitzes, to the tune of 48 sacks - one of the better numbers in the league. This came at a price -- if blitzes did not get home, the back end could not hold up, so there was a real boom/bust quality to the defense.

This year has been quite different - DC Keith Butler has severely restricted his blitzing, typically rushing only 4-- with the result being an extremely low sack total (8). Tuitt and Heyward remain the team's best pass rushers--they can be a handful with their strength and athleticism--but there is no one left at Pittsburgh's once-proud OLB position to collapse the edge. James Harrison gets a bull-rushing push from time to time, but that's about it. Disappointing Jarvis Jones has evolved into a quality run-stopper but little more; Anthony Chickillo is just a pup with some burst; and Arthur Moats is 'just a guy'. The loss of Dupree (more specifically, the loss of what they *hoped* Dupree would become in his 2nd year) has clearly hurt.

Pitt's D spends a ton of time in its nickel and dime packages, with both Tuitt and Heyward staying in at DL. Vet CB William Gay and SS enforcer Mike Mitchell are probably the best of the secondary lot; beyond that there are a bunch of young, unproven high draft picks. There has been talk this week of 1st rounder Artie Burns and (former) 1st rounder Justin Gilbert spending a lot of time at the line this Sunday, jamming receivers or TEs. This is contrary to Pitt's typical approach (keep everything in front of you, tackle the catch) but was deployed with some success in 2011 against the Pats. That said, Burns, Gilbert, and starter Ross ****rell (who is actually decent in pass coverage) will remind no one of Rod Woodson in terms of physicality; one can easily imagine Gronk and Bennett swatting away this CB group like flies if Pitt chooses to play press coverage.

One consistent bright spot for the defense has been their strength in the Red Zone, where they have been near the top of the league. But I have serious doubts as far as whether this will translate into success against a team like New England, with TFB and his elite RZ weapons.

Overall, this is a defense with some health issues and many unproven players. Even at full strength, they would likely have major problems with New England's attack; in their current state they will have issues simply getting off the field.

Steelers Special Teams

We actually have a GREAT punter...that counts, right? (Can we just make this a punt-off? First guy to 1000 yards wins?)


Game Thoughts and Prediction

Hoo boy. Where to begin?

The Pats should have their way with Pittsburgh's defense; it's simply a terrible matchup for Pitt. Brady may not get touched the entire game if we continue to rush 4. (Pitt may try a couple of well-timed blitzes, but they also know Brady is murder against the blitz.) There are obvious mismatches with Gronk and Bennett - Shazier, if healthy, may have a chance in coverage, but outside of that it's the standard dilemma against NE (CBs too small, LBs too slow). Our coverage liabilities extendsto New England's slot receivers and pass-catching backs - it seems that no one runs the short passing game as well as the Patriots, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Pats relentlessly pepper us with body blows underneath to wear us down. I think NE will really have their pick of the litter in this area of the field; Pitt outside of Shazier has no one to match up with James White, let alone Edelman or Gronk.

In the run game, Pitt is typically stout at home, but the injury status of Heyward and Shazier factor significantly here. One terrifying thought is Blount getting to the second level repeatedly over Heyward's vacated spot; Pitt has poor, non-physical tacklers in its secondary outside of Mitchell.

When Pitt has the ball, expect a large dose of Bell and the running game to take pressure off of Jones. But this is strength on strength, and without a credible QB in the passing game NE should be able to stifle the run. Of course, the beauty of Le'Veon is that he's also a pro-quality wideout, so expect him to be split out quite a bit (particularly if the run game stalls.)

Jones -- God bless 'em -- is actually a very confident player (arguably, far too confident for his own good) who will throw aggressively. He has just enough of an arm to challenge most parts of the field, and Pitt's coaching staff (for better or worse) has some faith in him, so he may throw more than we expect. But the tape on him repeatedly shows erratic decision-making and basic issues with accuracy--I'd charitably put the over/under for picks at 3.

I expect BB to remove AB from the game completely - Jones simply has never shown the ability able to feed him in tight spaces when bracketed - so expect a lot of Bell and Eli Rogers underneath, with a sprinkling of Jesse James. Assuming Coates is out or severely limited like last week, Darius Heyward-Bey is the lone remaining deep threat (DHB has actually had a mini-career resurgence in Pittsburgh...but he is still Darius Heyward-Bey, sigh). Bottom line: with AB taken out and a nondescript group of remaining receivers, this will likely be a case of Bell vs. the world when Pitt has the ball.

I expect the Pats to attack Hubbard at RT to see if he can hold up; it's a minor miracle he hasn't been a complete turnstile out there so far. More generally, this seems like an awful Xs and Os matchup, with the inexperienced Jones forced to read BB's nuanced defensive schemes. Expect Jones to throw into coverage early, and often :(

So...is there any way the Pats can lose? Sure, anything is *possible*. Pittsburgh has one of the biggest Jeckyll/Hyde things going in terms of home and away games, and they typically play their best in marquee matchups. (Although to be fair, a lot of that has to do with Roethlisberger IMO). Bell is a stunning talent, and if he can have a superstar-level game with Landry somehow avoiding killer INTs, it's possible Pitt can play some keepaway and shorten the game. Maybe Coates plays, and is able to get behind the Pats' defense a couple of times (and I do think the Pats' pass D is the weaker aspect of their defense). Maybe Jones *has* matured into an NFL-caliber QB, behind the scenes. Pitt has come up with hugely improbable wins in previous years under Jones and Charlie Batch -- maybe, just maybe, at home, the ball will simply bounce our way and we can take out a superior team, against all odds.

*****************

That all said...uh, no. There may be a period of a few minutes or even a quarter where Pitt stays surprisingly close, but I think ultimately the Steelers' D will be overwhelmed by NE's varied attack, with the Steelers' offense will be too limited to keep up.

Pats 41, Steelers 13

Best wishes for a good and healthy game,

lillloyd
 

RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
PatsFans.com Supporter
Greetings Pats Fans,

Each year the Steelers play the Pats, I post my pre-game thoughts here. It's meant to be straight football talk (while I'm perfectly fine with hearing trash talk, it's personally just not my thing.)

This year's writeup was a pretty solemn affair, and - *SPOILER ALERT* - I'm expecting a huge blowout. Details below...

Steelers Offense - Skill Positions

For a few heady days in March, sport commentators positively gushed about the Steelers' offensive potential: records would be broken, and Pittsburgh was a Super Bowl contender...perhaps even a favorite. Their lineup would include 2016's version of 'the triplets' (Big Ben, AB, Le'veon Bell), an emerging star in Martavis Bryant, the newly-signed Ladarius Green to race down the seams, with Marcus Wheaton and Sammie Coates as your WR3 and WR4 (!!)

Alas, life happens...which in football means injuries (and of course, marijuana).

Let's start with the obvious: there is a yawning chasm between the abilities of Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones. Jones won the QB2 job largely by default, as vet Bruce Gradkowski could never stay healthy. To his credit, Jones did help engineer an improbable home victory against the Cardinals last year, and I guess he has in fact improved over time. But he remains a subpar backup with fundamental accuracy issues that will almost certainly be exposed over multiple starts.

At wideout, Bryant is of course suspended, Green is not yet practicing, Marcus Wheaton has been perpetually injured (and frankly awful--in a contract year no less--to the extent he's even seen the field), and Sammie Coates is playing--if only barely--through finger fractures. Green and Wheaton are certainly out for Sunday, and Coates is only getting reps on the scout team, meaning he will likely only play sporadically (like last week).

Antonio Brown of course remains, but historically speaking AB has suffered greatly when Ben has been out. Teams bracket Brown consistently - a tactic I'm sure the Patriots will employ -- and Jones simply lacks Roethlisberger's pinpoint accuracy when it comes to breaking down double coverage.

Ben's abilities have masked a significant lack of game experience at the wideout position. Aside from AB, Jones will have the following 1st-year starters to throw to: WR Eli Rogers (promising young slot receiver), Jesse James (sure-handed but plodding TE), and WR Cobi Hamilton (journeyman call-up from the practice squad last week). Darius Heyward-Bey remains rostered, and will give you an occasional pop as a still-viable speed merchant...but sadly he remains 'Darius Heyward-Bey'. Bottom line, this is a very inexperienced group behind AB, so there are times every game when the wideouts are simply not where they should be on their routes. This clearly has hampered Ben from time to time, and certainly won't help Jones.

At RB: Le'Veon Bell.....'Nuff said. He should get a TON of touches in this game, as both a RB and at WR.


Steelers Offense - OL


On paper, Pitt boasts 3 Pro Bowl-caliber linemen in Pouncey, RG David Decastro (an All Pro last year), and unheralded RT Marcus Gilbert. But both Gilbert and his backup (IR'd Ryan Harris) are out, and out-of-position guard Chris Hubbard is now in as the 3rd string RT. Beyond that, DeCastro has disappointed, struggling mightily at times with power players (Suh, Fletcher Cox). The truth is that while Pouncey and DeCastro are elite as athletic move-type run blockers, they can both can struggle in pass pro against strong interior D-linemen. Ramon Foster is a savvy, smart, but limited LG; Allejandro Villenueva is a much better story at this point than a player, and can be exploited with athletic edge rushers.

As a whole, this is still an above-average offensive line, but like most OLs it is better at road-grading than pass-pro. The Pats should have pass rush advantages against both OTs on Sunday.


Steelers Defense

The core of the Pitt defense resides in stud 3-4 ends Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, and ILB Ryan Shazier. The hope was that Bud Dupree would also 'make the leap' has an immensely athletic but raw LOLB, giving the Steelers a young, talented, and explosive nucleus. Alas, all save Tuitt have struggled with injuries (although there is hope that Shazier may see the field Sunday.)

Assuming Heyward can't go, New England should be able to cave in the left side of the Steelers' defensive front (typically pretty stout at home against the run). Miami simply wore down the Steelers front last week; without Heyward, rookie Javon Hargrave and reserve Ricardo Matthews will again be forced into heavy snaps.

Last year, Pitt manufactured a pass rush with a steady diet of blitzes, to the tune of 48 sacks - one of the better numbers in the league. This came at a price -- if blitzes did not get home, the back end could not hold up, so there was a real boom/bust quality to the defense.

This year has been quite different - DC Keith Butler has severely restricted his blitzing, typically rushing only 4-- with the result being an extremely low sack total (8). Tuitt and Heyward remain the team's best pass rushers--they can be a handful with their strength and athleticism--but there is no one left at Pittsburgh's once-proud OLB position to collapse the edge. James Harrison gets a bull-rushing push from time to time, but that's about it. Disappointing Jarvis Jones has evolved into a quality run-stopper but little more; Anthony Chickillo is just a pup with some burst; and Arthur Moats is 'just a guy'. The loss of Dupree (more specifically, the loss of what they *hoped* Dupree would become in his 2nd year) has clearly hurt.

Pitt's D spends a ton of time in its nickel and dime packages, with both Tuitt and Heyward staying in at DL. Vet CB William Gay and SS enforcer Mike Mitchell are probably the best of the secondary lot; beyond that there are a bunch of young, unproven high draft picks. There has been talk this week of 1st rounder Artie Burns and (former) 1st rounder Justin Gilbert spending a lot of time at the line this Sunday, jamming receivers or TEs. This is contrary to Pitt's typical approach (keep everything in front of you, tackle the catch) but was deployed with some success in 2011 against the Pats. That said, Burns, Gilbert, and starter Ross ****rell (who is actually decent in pass coverage) will remind no one of Rod Woodson in terms of physicality; one can easily imagine Gronk and Bennett swatting away this CB group like flies if Pitt chooses to play press coverage.

One consistent bright spot for the defense has been their strength in the Red Zone, where they have been near the top of the league. But I have serious doubts as far as whether this will translate into success against a team like New England, with TFB and his elite RZ weapons.

Overall, this is a defense with some health issues and many unproven players. Even at full strength, they would likely have major problems with New England's attack; in their current state they will have issues simply getting off the field.

Steelers Special Teams

We actually have a GREAT punter...that counts, right? (Can we just make this a punt-off? First guy to 1000 yards wins?)


Game Thoughts and Prediction

Hoo boy. Where to begin?

The Pats should have their way with Pittsburgh's defense; it's simply a terrible matchup for Pitt. Brady may not get touched the entire game if we continue to rush 4. (Pitt may try a couple of well-timed blitzes, but they also know Brady is murder against the blitz.) There are obvious mismatches with Gronk and Bennett - Shazier, if healthy, may have a chance in coverage, but outside of that it's the standard dilemma against NE (CBs too small, LBs too slow). Our coverage liabilities extendsto New England's slot receivers and pass-catching backs - it seems that no one runs the short passing game as well as the Patriots, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Pats relentlessly pepper us with body blows underneath to wear us down. I think NE will really have their pick of the litter in this area of the field; Pitt outside of Shazier has no one to match up with James White, let alone Edelman or Gronk.

In the run game, Pitt is typically stout at home, but the injury status of Heyward and Shazier factor significantly here. One terrifying thought is Blount getting to the second level repeatedly over Heyward's vacated spot; Pitt has poor, non-physical tacklers in its secondary outside of Mitchell.

When Pitt has the ball, expect a large dose of Bell and the running game to take pressure off of Jones. But this is strength on strength, and without a credible QB in the passing game NE should be able to stifle the run. Of course, the beauty of Le'Veon is that he's also a pro-quality wideout, so expect him to be split out quite a bit (particularly if the run game stalls.)

Jones -- God bless 'em -- is actually a very confident player (arguably, far too confident for his own good) who will throw aggressively. He has just enough of an arm to challenge most parts of the field, and Pitt's coaching staff (for better or worse) has some faith in him, so he may throw more than we expect. But the tape on him repeatedly shows erratic decision-making and basic issues with accuracy--I'd charitably put the over/under for picks at 3.

I expect BB to remove AB from the game completely - Jones simply has never shown the ability able to feed him in tight spaces when bracketed - so expect a lot of Bell and Eli Rogers underneath, with a sprinkling of Jesse James. Assuming Coates is out or severely limited like last week, Darius Heyward-Bey is the lone remaining deep threat (DHB has actually had a mini-career resurgence in Pittsburgh...but he is still Darius Heyward-Bey, sigh). Bottom line: with AB taken out and a nondescript group of remaining receivers, this will likely be a case of Bell vs. the world when Pitt has the ball.

I expect the Pats to attack Hubbard at RT to see if he can hold up; it's a minor miracle he hasn't been a complete turnstile out there so far. More generally, this seems like an awful Xs and Os matchup, with the inexperienced Jones forced to read BB's nuanced defensive schemes. Expect Jones to throw into coverage early, and often :(

So...is there any way the Pats can lose? Sure, anything is *possible*. Pittsburgh has one of the biggest Jeckyll/Hyde things going in terms of home and away games, and they typically play their best in marquee matchups. (Although to be fair, a lot of that has to do with Roethlisberger IMO). Bell is a stunning talent, and if he can have a superstar-level game with Landry somehow avoiding killer INTs, it's possible Pitt can play some keepaway and shorten the game. Maybe Coates plays, and is able to get behind the Pats' defense a couple of times (and I do think the Pats' pass D is the weaker aspect of their defense). Maybe Jones *has* matured into an NFL-caliber QB, behind the scenes. Pitt has come up with hugely improbable wins in previous years under Jones and Charlie Batch -- maybe, just maybe, at home, the ball will simply bounce our way and we can take out a superior team, against all odds.

*****************

That all said...uh, no. There may be a period of a few minutes or even a quarter where Pitt stays surprisingly close, but I think ultimately the Steelers' D will be overwhelmed by NE's varied attack, with the Steelers' offense will be too limited to keep up.

Pats 41, Steelers 13

Best wishes for a good and healthy game,

lillloyd

Thanks a bunch for your thoughtful and insightful post. Wish there were more Steeler fans like yourself that visit here.

Don't have the time right now to write up as comprehensive of a piece as yours but while I think the Pats will win, I'm not seeing as big of a margin as you are. Bell is a force. I actually think Landry can move the ball a little. Brown will get his numbers.

38-17 Pats.
 

FourierSeries

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
My thoughts on the upcoming game: I truly hope a God exists out there somewhere and has mercy on your team (but of course, imaginary omnipresent and omnipotent figures do not exist, so it could get ugly on Sunday.)
 

pazrul72

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Lilloyd you have to be the steelers version of patsfanken. Fantastic write up and deeply appreciated the view from the other side. I do think you are being overly pessimistic about how ineffective the steelers offense is going to be. Bell is exactly the kind of RB the patriot defense struggles with, McCoy had a great day a couple weeks ago. I do agree with you AB is the thing Bill will take away along with the big play which will shorten the game and limit possessions for both teams. I think it will be lower scoring then your prediction, though in the end the pats should win.
 

PATSYLICIOUS

Pro Bowl Player
Excellent write up and Solid review. Like i said in the other thread sucks to see the great players in the league missing extended time and bens injury is bad for most true football fans. It also took away from what may have been our biggest regular season game (not sure which denver team will show up down the stretch or what kind of play they get from the qb position).

With ben, this team is a definite threat in the afc despite the history.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Thank you for your great contribution.

I looked forward to the match up of two healthy contenders to have the best possible chance to see where the 2016 Pats (and especially the D) stand at the moment .. which was hard to do so far due to strange beginning of Bradyless season. Bengals gave us some answers and I was looking to get more from Steelers and Bills away from Foxboro before the bye week and trade deadline. I guess we will have to wait for some answers a while longer. But that doesn't mean the game in Pittsburgh is won .. like you said, the ball can always bounce the other way and new guys can step up in surprising way (Pats have a few of those already this season).

And thank you for your wishes for a healthy game. So much bad football is played across the league due to so many key injuries.
_

I hope someone here will return you the favour with an in depth writeup of Pats team. They were lucky with injuries so far (although Collins might not play and a surprising rookie DT Valentine who missed the last two games likewise) but most of all they have pretty amazing depth insurance even in the case of injuries/absences of key players .. all that has already been proven when TB, Gronk, Hightower, Collins, Solder, Ninkovich all missed games and another two top players RB Lewis and OT Vollmer haven't returned from last year's injuries.

The story of building this deep roster that can survive even the most difficult absences was one of the best things to follow this season. So let's see how the Steelers cope with their losses.
 
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StockingAnarchyNumber12

In the Starting Line-Up
Great post! I tried joining the Steelers forum and posted a post on my thoughts on the upcoming game and wishing Ben a good recovery and no moderator put my thread as visible. Pity.
 

Kontradiction

Dr. P-ussy
PatsFans.com Supporter
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Great post! I tried joining the Steelers forum and posted a post on my thoughts on the upcoming game and wishing Ben a good recovery and no moderator put my thread as visible. Pity.
Try getting banned from the Chargers forum because you make your location "Your Mother's Ass". I hadn't even made my first post yet. :(
 

lillloyd

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Lilloyd you have to be the steelers version of patsfanken. Fantastic write up and deeply appreciated the view from the other side. I do think you are being overly pessimistic about how ineffective the steelers offense is going to be. Bell is exactly the kind of RB the patriot defense struggles with, McCoy had a great day a couple weeks ago. I do agree with you AB is the thing Bill will take away along with the big play which will shorten the game and limit possessions for both teams. I think it will be lower scoring then your prediction, though in the end the pats should win.
Has anyone besides BUF had a good day running on you? It seems the run D is pretty stout...

For Pitt to have a chance, they're going to have to have some amount of ball control/keep-away working for them. I certainly hope they're strong running the ball, but plan B will be a bunch of dumpoffs to Bell mixed in with short passes to Eli Rogers (who I guess could be a little bit of an X factor) and James. They did this a couple of weeks ago with Bell to great effect - basically they just replaced his carries with <10 yd routes.
 

lillloyd

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
I agree with this... think it will be a much closer game.

Tremendous post, @lillloyd. More comprehensive than any analysis I have seen of Pitt. Thanks! :)
Sadly, once I fed the "Landry Jones" variable into my Super Steelers Prediction Machine, it spat out BLOWOUT ;)

In all seriousness, I do think he's pretty much a mortal lock to throw 2-3 INTs. He is an unfortunate combination of an extreme willingness to throw into coverage, alongside an extreme inability actually execute said throws....Which of course factors heavily into what I think the score will be.

FWIW, I'm guessing somewhere in Vegas there *is* an over/under for Landry Jones interceptions, right?
 

lillloyd

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Excellent write up and Solid review. Like i said in the other thread sucks to see the great players in the league missing extended time and bens injury is bad for most true football fans. It also took away from what may have been our biggest regular season game (not sure which denver team will show up down the stretch or what kind of play they get from the qb position).

With ben, this team is a definite threat in the afc despite the history.
As pessimistic as I am about this particular game, I'm actually hopeful for the rest of the season. Theoretically, at least, we should be getting quite a few guys back (including some guys like Green and Dupree who have yet to take a snap). When healthy, we may not have enough to be the prohibitive favorite, but we should have enough to at least be a handful for another squad.

Speaking of guys missing extended time - did Dion Lewis get PUP'd, or fully IR'd? When healthy that guy was amazing to watch last year. Gotta root for guys like that who take advantage and really show something after paying their dues.
 

The_Riddler

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Thank you for your elaborate analysis. Look we know how despised and flat out Hated we are out in Steel country and we understand why. We walked into hallowed enemy territory and stole 2 Titles away from the Black and Gold at Hallowed Heinz Field and saddened many of the Steeler faithful. We understand the Patriot hatred and the reason for it. With that said, I for one was saddenened when I learned of Big Ben's injury. I wanted the two best teams in the AFC to face each other relatively healthy for this game which I circled on the schedule as soon as I saw it, but it didn't work out that way. Regardless, I expect and I'm sure the Patriots expect the Steeler best even if undermanned.

We are going to get the Steelers best, even with Landry Jones under center. And I am actually expecting a tougher game than what some people are expecting.

I have the utmost respect for Big Ben. He is one tough SOB. I love how he plays and I also respect what he has said about Brady. Who he more or less has called the GOAT. I love Big Ben' s game and the way he plays, week in, week out. He is a pure football player, you guys should be proud to have him as your QB. He is blue collar and tough and I'm going to miss watching him this Sunday.

Patriots/Steelers at Heinz, where else would you want to be, Let's get this on.
 

Gumby

In the Starting Line-Up
As pessimistic as I am about this particular game, I'm actually hopeful for the rest of the season. Theoretically, at least, we should be getting quite a few guys back (including some guys like Green and Dupree who have yet to take a snap). When healthy, we may not have enough to be the prohibitive favorite, but we should have enough to at least be a handful for another squad.

Speaking of guys missing extended time - did Dion Lewis get PUP'd, or fully IR'd? When healthy that guy was amazing to watch last year. Gotta root for guys like that who take advantage and really show something after paying their dues.

Thx for the great professional write up and homie insights (in OP).

Re: this post, where do you think squeelers land at end of year in div with Ben out so long?
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Has anyone besides BUF had a good day running on you? It seems the run D is pretty stout...

Speaking of guys missing extended time - did Dion Lewis get PUP'd, or fully IR'd? When healthy that guy was amazing to watch last year. Gotta root for guys like that who take advantage and really show something after paying their dues.


1. The run D really works well especially since Elandon Roberts stepped up and Ninkovich returned. Both happened in a game @CLE where run D completely annihilated what was top run game in the league at the time. They had a rookie QB and apart from #1 running game w Crowell & D Johnson - one prime WR target in Pryor. While the strength of the rosters of PIT and CLE is incomparable there are some similarities in situation at hand. Of course Bell is another matter (smart and patient on top) plus big receiving threat so I am really looking forward to see how they approach him and how successful they can be.

2. You have the answer in my previous post. And yes, Lewis certainly was a sight and he is eagerly awaited.
 

lillloyd

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Thx for the great professional write up and homie insights (in OP).

Re: this post, where do you think squeelers land at end of year in div with Ben out so long?
Pitt has historically done better than expected with him out of the lineup. I'm hoping to 'hold serve' - basically, play .500 ball for the period he's out.'

The AFCN seems like it's having a down year. The Bengals have a ton of physical talent but I think have been hurt with some of the defections (not least of which was H.Jackson). I wasn't really sold on the Ravens even before their recent slide.

Bottom line, I think Pitt could still win the division with as few as 10 wins. They have a much easier schedule this year than last as well. I've got to believe that they'll be favorites in most of their games down the stretch if they can just get a bunch of their guys back.

Maybe I'm just 'whistling past the graveyard', but I think Pitt at or near full strength can beat most teams in the AFC outside of NE.
 

Gumby

In the Starting Line-Up
Pitt has historically done better than expected with him out of the lineup. I'm hoping to 'hold serve' - basically, play .500 ball for the period he's out.'

The AFCN seems like it's having a down year. The Bengals have a ton of physical talent but I think have been hurt with some of the defections (not least of which was H.Jackson). I wasn't really sold on the Ravens even before their recent slide.

Bottom line, I think Pitt could still win the division with as few as 10 wins. They have a much easier schedule this year than last as well. I've got to believe that they'll be favorites in most of their games down the stretch if they can just get a bunch of their guys back.

Maybe I'm just 'whistling past the graveyard', but I think Pitt at or near full strength can beat most teams in the AFC outside of NE.

Agreed with bold, but at present AFC just ain't that deep. Especially if den has those two-three D side injuries that they can't make up. KC and Raiders, HOu could round into something by year end (maybe).
 
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