Steven Senne/AP Tom Brady (r.) and Ben Roethlisberger (l.) will meet in the NFL season opener Thursday night.

Steven Senne/AP
Tom Brady (r.) and Ben Roethlisberger (l.)

The Steelers got slammed last week in Miami to the tune of 30-15 and obviously lost more than just the game when Ben Roethlisberger got injured. There are varying reports on how long he’ll be out but it is my expectation that he will miss no more than two games and I wouldn’t be shocked if he played after the bye week.  In the meantime, the Steelers have the toughest challenge of the season on the schedule, even if Ben were playing, against the New England Patriots this Sunday. The team is currently in the hands of backup Landry Jones, who many fans can’t stand. He’ll get his opportunity to prove he belongs and he better take advantage of it.

Here are the Keys to A Steelers Victory:

  • First and foremost, Landry Jones needs to play to his strengths. He can’t try to be Ben, he just needs to make the plays he’s capable of making and limit if not eliminate any big mistakes.
  • Todd Haley absolutely has to make LeVeon Bell the focal point of the offense. Sure, the Patriots will expect that but Bell can control the game and they need him to this week.  With DeAngelo Williams out, Bell won’t be spelled very often but he can handle the workload.
  • Antonio Brown can’t begin to complain if Jones isn’t getting him the ball enough for his liking. This has to be a full team effort and Brown needs to accept that he may only end up with 2 or 3 catches.
  • The secondary needs to keep the Patriots receiving corps in front of them. If they allow the receivers to get behind them, Tom Brady will torch the black and gold all game long.

 

Here are a Few Things to Watch:

 

  • Landry Jones-What is he truly made of? Are the fans right or are the coaches?
  • Fitzgerald Touissant-With DeAngelo Williams out, Touissant is the main backup running back and he’ll certainly be called upon here and there to make a few plays. He’s got some talent and speed to go with it, will he make a game changing play?
  • Antonio Brown-He’s not going to get the production he gets when Ben is in there. Last year, he started getting upset with Landry Jones, will that occur again?
  • Ryan Shazier-After missing the last few weeks, he’s back and the fastest player on defense couldn’t have returned at a more needed time.

Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com– Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at mike@steelnationassociation.com.

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