Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals has plenty at stake.
But you don’t need me to tell you that.
Nor does Keith Butler have to tell his defense.
“I don’t think I need to give them a message. I think they’ll be ready. They understand the significance of the game and they’ll all be ready. They’ll be chomping at the bit,” Butler told Missi Matthews in this week’s Coordinator Corner.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives, currently sitting as the 7th seed while the Bengals are at a comfortable 10-2 record, almost assured of winning the AFC North. A win over Pittsburgh Sunday would seal that while dishing out a major blow to the Steelers’ playoff hopes.
As Ben Roethlisberger talked about earlier in the week, the Steelers know they have to continue playing well in December.
“They’re competitors. the guys that have been around this game know this is the time of year you really have to start striding and really be good and at the top of your game. Only those people who are will reach the playoffs,” Butler said.
Yesterday, Marcus Gilbert admitted they’re coming into this contest with a chip on their shoulder. The fact it’s an AFC North opponent is alone enough to provide one, yet alone a high-profile matchup with everything on the line.
A situation Butler can relate to.
“When I was a player, I loved this time of year. Especially when you’re in the hunt because it’s highly competitive. And these guys all their lives have trained hard to do this. It’s a fun thing to do for a living.”
From 1983-1987, Butler’s Seattle Seahawks finished at or above .500, making the playoffs three times.
It all echoes what Mike Tomlin said in his press conference Tuesday.
“We recognize what’s at stake. But what other position would you rather be in at this time of year? In games of significance with things on the line. All our hopes and dreams out in front of us.”
Hopefully the Bengals don’t dash those dreams.