The Steelers left Thanksgiving night with a 6-5 record, having just beaten the Browns and the Colts on the road in a span of four days. While beating the Browns isn’t much and beating the Colts without Andrew Luck in particular is also not as difficult, winning two road games in four days is a massive feat for a team who had recently dropped four straight games.
Now the question becomes, can the Steelers ride this current mini streak? While I’m a bit dismissive of the Colts and I have absolutely no respect for the Browns, a win over the Giants at home this coming Sunday afternoon would certainly help paint the picture of which direction this Steeler team is headed.
The Giants are a good team; they stand at 8-3 and contain both a solid offense and defense. They obviously have a veteran quarterback who’s used to winning, a solid pass rush with Jason Pierre Paul and a stud wide receiver in Odell Beckham. If the Steelers can come out of Sunday with a victory, I’ll buy into this team headed in the right direction again. If they fail to do so, then these last two victories are rendered meaningless to me.
We need to see this team play well against and beat a good team. They did that earlier in the season with wins over both Native American representatives, Washington and Kansas City, but beyond that, they’ve lost to the Cowboys, Patriots, Dolphins and division foe Ravens, the next group of respectable teams they’ve faced. It’s been eight weeks since the Steelers dismantled the Chiefs so a win vs. a quality opponent is long overdue.
Can they do it? Sure, they can. They have the talent on offense with the Killer B’s to do so. Will they do it? Well, even after these last two wins, I’m not ready to jump there and say they will. The defense still scares me. I don’t trust the pass rush just yet. Yea, it’s been improved the last two weeks but let’s see it on Sunday. I still don’t trust the secondary and I’m very concerned about who will stop Odell Beckham and honestly, the rush defense isn’t very solid either. The Giants may not be the best running team in the league but they too can gash the Steelers for big plays via the ground if the intensity of play isn’t amplified even more.
Lastly, as you are all well aware, I don’t trust this coaching staff. Now that this team has won a couple in a row, Tomlin is capable of getting back to his arrogant ways, making the wrong calls and certainly botching clock management.
So as this team has a few extra days to prep, I’ll be very interested to see how this staff took advantage of it. Having the bye week a few weeks ago did nothing for the black and gold, will Tomlin and company learn from their erroneous ways? One can only hope. Their playoff lives may not depend on it, but they do take a big hit in that quest should the team come out on the losing end this weekend.
So, can the Steelers ride this mini streak? Sure, they can but we’ll have to wait til Sunday evening to find out if they truly will as I’m just not going to go out on a limb for these guys just yet.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.