Sunday night in New Orleans the past two Super Bowl champs go at it, and the Steelers have a shot to move to 6-1 on the year against a Saints team that is soul searching after a bad home loss to the Browns last week. The Steelers are coming off a 23-22 win over the Dolphins last week, and are hoping to continue their run as what many think is the best team in the AFC and the NFL.
1. Keep the Saints one-dimensional – The Saints have very little to offer in the run game, and that’s mostly due to injury with both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas out. They will turn to Chris Ivory, who two weeks ago looked good vs the Bucs, but last week getting down early was almost a non-factor vs Cleveland. The Steelers can’t allow Ivory and the Saints run game to have any sense they can gain a yard, or two, when needed.
2. Careful when dropping back – New Orleans is pretty good when it comes to shutting down opposing passers, as they have a pass defense that’s third in the league at 179.7 yards allowed per game. Ben Roethlisberger needs to pick his spots, be patient, and take check downs when wide outs are covered. Making mistakes in a game like this is only going to give the Saints more confidence they can hang with the Steelers.
3. Quiet the crowd early – After watching their champion Saints get beat up early and often last week, the crowd knows they have to be loud and nuts on this Halloween night to lift their team to a win. It will be a crazy atmosphere in the Big Easy, and it would do the Steelers good to get off to a fast start like the Browns did, and making sure they don’t allow the crowd to have any sort of factor.
Prediction – When it was released, this looked like a very tough game, but let’s face it, the Saints are not the same team they were in 2009. They are having issues with turnovers, they can’t run, and they were flat footed last week when the Browns pulled off some trickery on special teams. The Steelers have to, as Mike Tomlin would say, impose their will on this team and put them away with a physical beating they are not ready for. It’s time for the Saints to show if they are a contender or pretender, and I think the Steleers show that this is another team in the NFC that isn’t anywhere near as good as the top teams in the AFC. Steelers 24 New Orleans 17