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Bud Dupree chased down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for a sack in the Steelers' opener. (Winslow Townson/AP)

Bud Dupree chased down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for a sack in the Steelers’ opener. (Winslow Townson/AP)

The Steelers fell to 4-5 after a tough last second loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week. Now they find themselves in a must win game against the woeful Browns.  A loss in this situation effectively ends the Steelers season, which was once filled with high expectations. To drop from 4-1 to 4-5 in the last four weeks is flat out unacceptable and the Steelers know this but are they past the point of no return or do they have the fire and desire to rectify this disaster?  We’ll find out come Sunday.

Here are the Keys to A Steelers Victory

  • The Browns are terrible, plain and simple but the Steelers defense is terrible in its own right.  They need to step up big and not allow the big splash plays as they have over the last several weeks, especially in the run game. With Cam Heyward now lost for the season, that task only becomes more challenging.
  • Eli Rogers is going to need to make some big plays. Antonio Brown will surely be double teamed which should leave space for Rogers to run free.
  • This is the type of game the Steelers tend to lose lately and it usually stems from massive mistakes. They need to rid themselves of those errors and play with discipline, for once.
  • LeVeon Bell needs to be a central part of the offense, specifically via the handoff. It’s supposed to be a windy day on Sunday meaning throwing the ball may be difficult.

Here are a Few Things to Watch:

  • The first thing to look at is how this team comes out of the tunnel and plays the first five minutes. Are they fired up? Are they flat? If they look bad, it’s final proof that Tomlin has lost this team.
  • Antonio Brown-He’s the best in the business but he’s getting more selfish by the week and becoming a complete stat monger, just worrying about his own numbers.  Will he make team plays or will he just run the routes when he wants to and hustle only if he’s getting the ball?  He’s been guilty of taking plays off this year when he’s not getting the ball enough in his mind.
  • Ben Roethlisberger-He’s the only guy that I can truly look at and say he’s put everything into every play of every week this season. He’s trying to lead these guys but will he finally hit a tipping point?
  • Bud Dupree-He should be  back this week, what kind of impact will he have on this defense?

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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