A group of veterans pose for a picture as part of the NFL’s tribute to service at Heinz Field before the start of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
At 2-6 the Steelers find themselves just trying to find a way to win a game or two. They are playing a pretty poor Buffalo team that may provide the Steelers the game they’ve been looking for.
At this point however, no team is an easy win for the black and gold. The thought of playoffs and even a .500 record need to go away. It’s all about getting this win and finding out who truly can play in the system and who shouldn’t be here in 2014. That sentiment goes for the coaches too.
In this Sept. 29, 2013 file photo, Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills rookie quarterback on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, declared himself ready to return after missing four weeks with a sprained right knee. All that’s standing in Manuel’s way is a green light from coach Doug Marrone. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert, File)
Here are the Keys to A Steelers Victory:
They have to forget the past eight games. Losing is contagious and when you lose as often as these guys have, you forget how to win. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. If the Steelers run into trouble or find themselves behind, they can’t let what’s happened in the first eight games dictate this game. If they do, they could fall flat on their face, again.
There seemed to be an incredible amount of miscommunication in last week’s game with guys missing blocks, running the wrong routes or running the play to the wrong side of the field. When you do that against any team, they’ll make you pay. The team needs to be prepared and come out firing on all cylinders.
Stopping dynamic rookie EJ Manuel is a must. He’s been hurt for five weeks but returns on Sunday. He should be a bit rusty and the Steelers must blitz him and confuse him. They can’t let him get outside the pocket or build confidence in any way.
The offensive line, as usual, is going to need to keep Ben clean. They stink, there is no way around that but they need to step it up for once and keep their QB upright. He is too valuable to let him get hit the way they do. If they can keep the sacks to one or two, they’ll be in for a huge day from Big Ben.
Here are a Few Things to Watch:
LeVeon Bell-He’s up, he’s down, he’s up, he’s down. What will he do this week?
The defense as a whole-They were torched for 610 yards and 55 points last week. They should be embarrassed and come out with a fire under them. Will they get the job done and play aggressive, Steeler football?
Antonio Brown-I fully expect a huge game from Brown. He was benched by Mike Tomlin at the end of last week for running the wrong route that resulted in an interception. He’s got to be the number one guy on this team and he can’t do that kind of stuff. How will he respond?
Jerricho Cotchery-He may be the most reliable receiver on the team. He had a huge day last week, will Big Ben go back to him again this week?
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.