The Steelers are better than the Arizona Cardinals. This is the NFL though, and we've seen teams get upset week in and week out in this league. The Eagles, for example, lost to the Dolphins last week. Here's what the Steelers need to do to avoid such an upset:
Let the Duck chuck:
--After throws of 31, 30, 28, and 44 yards, the Steelers rush attack really picked up against the Cleveland Browns.
--I think the Steelers should throw early to run late.
--The Cardinals have the worst pass defense in the NFL. They have miscommunications. Their players, largely, aren’t very good.
--Not to mention, the Cards just got rid of their # 1 slot corner Tramaine Brock. He was their best cover corner according to PFF and started 10 of 12 games this season.
--If there was ever a game where the Steelers could unleash the Duck to see what they’ve got, this is it.
--Now, there’s always the chance that if you open it up, he could turn it over a handful of times and cost you a winnable game.
--It’s a fine line to walk, BUT I think you need to allow him to, at a minimum, do what he did last week. But differently. I want to see the Steelers be less conservative early. They’ve had -13 net yards the last 11 weeks on their opening drive. That horrific.
--Part of it is lack of execution. The other part is being too conservative.
--Let Duck throw on some early first downs. Take some shots early.
--And then that opens up…
Benny Snell football:
--The Steelers have found success in each of the last two games running the football late in order to put the game away. And really, they had the most success after Hodges tossed the ball down the field.
--The Steelers have the 10th most rushing yards in the league over the last 4 weeks.
--They may finally have found that offensive identity.
--Pound the rock, play defense.
Use the damn TE:
--The Cardinals have the worst defense in the NFL when it comes to stopping TE’s. They've given up 79 catches for 978 yards and 13 TD’s to TE’s this year. That’s in-freaking-sane.
--The team that’s second worst against TE’s has given up 8 TD catches on the year.
--Can we see Vance McDonald and Nick Vannett get more involved? It’s amazing to me that with young QB’s we’re not seeing the TE’s in the game plan more for the Steelers. This is the week.
Block Chandler Jones:
--He's got 13 sacks.
--We’ve seen it with T.J. Watt. One dude who can rush the passer can really bust a game plan.
--Even if you’ve got nothing else going for you, a guy like that can change the game with a strip sack. He could put you behind the down and distance.
--Block him, and nothing else about that defense really scares me. Eh, block Suggs too.
Contain Kyler’s legs:
--Kyler Murray can sling the rock. I seen it live at WVU. I SEEN IT!
--He can also run. He’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry and leads the Cardinals with 446 yards rushing.
--The Steelers had SOME trouble with Baker Mayfield being able to escape and throw on the run.
--Murray is different. Baker wanted to get out to the left side of the defense to throw it down field. Murray wants to scramble and run through the middle of the defense.
--Murray’s a good player. His ability to scramble runs him into some sacks, but he can also extend drives with his feet.
Get Murray on the ground, because TO’s may not come:
--Arizona doesn't turn the ball over. Just nine on the year and six interceptions.
--The Steelers have thrived off of taking the ball away this year. They average 2.5 takeaways a game.
--Murray has been sacked 41 times. That’s a bleep ton.
--If the Steelers can't get off the field by taking the ball away, then they'll have to get off the field by getting the Cardinals behind the chains.
Steelers 24 Cardinals 17