–The Steelers won their 3rd straight game on Sunday against a very solid New York Giants team in convincing fashion. They appeared to be clicking on all cylinders and if they keep that up, they’ll have a good chance of running the table over the last four weeks and getting a home playoff game as AFC North champions.
Outside of the Killer B’s; Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown, the Steelers need a few other guys to shoulder some of the load and there are three guys in particular who will need to do so in order to key the success of the black and gold down the stretch.
The first guy is a man I’ve given some grief to over the first ¾ of the season but he showed up in a big way against the Giants. Ladarius Green. He needs to be the 2nd receiver on this team with the depletion of receiving depth over the season. Green just entered the lineup a few weeks ago after overcoming his own injury woes and he needs to show why the team went out and paid top dollar for him. He did so on Sunday and if he can be that big target that Big Ben is looking for in the red zone and provide another deep threat as well, that would be a huge addition for the offense. Green has shown some good hands, has run solid routes and has a burst of speed for his size that makes him hard to cover. He’ll become a bigger part of the game plan moving forward and his involvement could pay big dividends for an offense that desires scoring 30 points on a weekly basis.
The next two players are on the defensive side of the ball. First is old reliable, the veteran and playmaker, James Harrison. Harrison became a starter a few weeks back and ever since his return, the team has begun to apply a heck of a lot more pressure on the quarterback. Harrison has had five sacks in his last five games, which leads the team. He’s been in this situation before and the energy on the defensive side of the ball is palpable when he’s on the field. He brings a leadership to a unit that desperately needs it.
Lastly, Stephon Tuitt. He’s a player who’s still developing and he’s going to need to speed that development up a bit now that Cam Heyward is done for the season. So far, Tuitt has answered the bell. He needs to be the key run stopper, provide a rush from the end and generally lead the defensive line. He’s got the ability, he’s shown that, he just needs to keep it up and build upon it. If he does, the defense will continue the recent success they’ve had.
Obviously, these three players are compliments to the big three on offense but if they can do their part and provide the black and gold with some leadership and a few big plays; this team has a strong opportunity to win the division.
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.