Remember the last time the Steelers won a game? Yeah, it’s been awhile. The last time this team won they beat the Denver Broncos on a Monday night to move to 6-2. Since then the season has been a complete disaster, losing five in a row and basically ending their season with losses to lightweights like the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns.
Sunday at home they have a chance to put a positive spin on this awful run, as they take on former coordinator Dom Capers and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers come in with a very solid group, and they are playing pretty good football, going 9-4 on the season. They have a solid defense led by Capers, and on offense, QB Aaron Rodgers is about as good as they get.
So can the Steelers finally end this awful losing streak and turn things around for the final three weeks of the regular season? Or will the poor play and streak of losing games continue? Here are a couple of keys as to what the Steelers need to do to walk out of their home stadium with a win on Sunday:
1. Commit to the run – Cold and snow is in the forecast for Sunday in the Steel City, and unlike the poor planning for the weather in Cleveland 10 days ago, the team should simply run, run and run some more. Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker should combine to see the ball at least 40 times and Ben Roethlisberger should not be in the shotgun on many third and one’s like he was on the first series vs the Browns. Let this O-line which was beat up early and often vs Cleveland have a good day run blocking.
2. Keep the heat on Rodgers – Rodgers has been sacked a league-high 47 times, but just four over the last three games. The Packers O-line has done a better job, but the Steelers need to throw some blitzes and him, and make sure he doesn’t have a ton of time to sit back in the pocket and throw. The Steelers D even made Brady Quinn look like a decent QB in the last game vs Cleveland. And Rodgers is way better than Quinn, and that’s scary.
3. Don’t Give the Packers Easy Chances – The Packers have forced 33 turnovers, including nine interceptions over the last three games, to rank second in the league behind New Orleans. In order to beat them, they are going to have to have sustained drives and not give the Packers easy chances with short fields. Even in defeat last week the Steelers didn’t turn the ball over, and they can’t do it here either.
4. Come out with some Emotion – For whatever reason with the season on the line this team came out totally flat vs Cleveland last Thursday. How about in front of your home crowd give them an early Christmas gift with some Steeler football by coming out and scoring quickly, and playing the type of championship football that we all saw last season? While it’s not likely, this team actually still has a shot at the postseason, so play like it.
Despite the awful five weeks of football, the Steelers still have one shot to turn it around. With a lot of time off to think about it, they get things turned around, at least for one week at home vs a Packers team that comes in after a big win last week vs the Bears – Pittsburgh 24 Green Bay 16