Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (88), and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, left, sit on the bench late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. The Bears won 40-23. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
This is exactly how the NFL drew it up right? Sending two winless teams to London for a chance to show off the game of American football to the European spectators. Yep, the NFL is surely excited for this showcase, or, maybe not.
Despite the fact that this appears to be one of the worst games across the league this week, both teams will have to head across the pond and only one will come home with a win, the other will remain O for the season.
The Steelers are in a funk and can’t think about anything along the lines of getting back into any kind of playoff race, winning 10 games or even putting together a win streak.
They need to simply concentrate on one game at a time (yes, the standard NFL cliché) and they need to start now or this season will begin to turn into one of the worst in franchise history.
Here are the Steelers Keys to Victory:
1. The Steelers will have to stop, or at least contain, Adrian Peterson. He’s still the best running back in the league and since the Vikings have an extremely deficient passing attack, he’s the only threat they really have. Stopping Peterson will not be easy and a lot of pressure will be on the inside linebackers, namely Kion Wilson to man the gaps and ensure he’s hit after only a yard or two.
2. The offensive line is going to have to find some way to prevent Jared Allen from getting to Big Ben. Allen is a phenomenal pass rusher and given the opportunity; he’ll be all over Big Ben all day long. If they can’t chip him or have the running backs or tight ends slide over and help block him, Ben may end up staying in London longer than the rest of the team because he won’t make it out in one piece.
3. The defense is going to have to find a way to finally grab a turnover. They have been struggling the past few years and so far this season they haven’t gained any. It’s hard to win against anyone without gaining a turnover or two here and there.
4. The team can’t panic if they get down in the game. At 0-3 it may be easy to lose control if they get down by a couple of scores early. The veterans will need to lead by example and try to keep the teams’ composure. The last thing they need is for panic to set in on top of all the other issues they are already trying to overcome.
A Few Things To Watch This Week:
1. LeVeon Bell-It looks like he’ll be available this week. Will he be able to jump start this offense and get things moving the way the team needs? A running attack, of any kind, would be helpful at this juncture.
2. The Tackle Play-Last week Mike Tomlin had Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams and Kelvim Beachum rotate in and out of the 2 tackle positions. Will this musical chairs style of play assist in making the offensive line better or will it just cause further issues and limit the ability for the unit to gel?
3. Troy Polamalu-What can I say, the guy is just fun to watch. He’s playing like the Troy of old. What will he do this week?
4. The crowd-There should be about 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London. How many will be in black and gold and how loud will they cheer for the Steelers to win?