The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently riding a winning streak that is a long as the number of losses their upcoming opponent has—six—but that should certainly be no reason to expect anything to be easy as they head west to face the Denver Broncos.
One thing that is pretty important to note is that they are in one of the toughest divisions in football right now, looking up to both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. They have already lost both of their games against the Chiefs, but scored a big win (following two defeats against division leaders) against the Chargers on Sunday.
It was with this in mind that Head Coach Mike Tomlin phrased his comments about Denver earlier this week during his pre-game press conference, comparing them to the team that they just beat, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams were 3-6 heading into Week 11. The Jaguars almost won. The Broncos did.
“They are a 4-6 team, but they’re battle tested as any team in the National Football League”, he said. “They’ve played the Chiefs twice and we know what type of run that group is on. They played the L.A. Rams, we know what type of run that group is on. They’ve played the Houston Texans recently, we know what type of run that group is on so don’t expect them to be intimidated by our presence”.
The Steelers’ six-game winning streak is bested only by the Houston Texans’, who have won each of their last seven games after opening the season with three straight losses, and the New Orleans Saints, who have gone 10-0 since losing in the opener
“I know we come into the game on a win streak and all of that, but they’ve gotten comfortable in those environments”, Tomlin reminded. “Last week they are coming off of a game where they finally broke through and won versus a streaking team, so I know that that is good momentum for them as they look to build, and we are probably what the doctor ordered in terms of what is the next challenge”.
The Chiefs were actually not on a streak the second time the Broncos faced them, as they lost to the New England Patriots two weeks before, but they had won their first six games and were 6-1 at the time. The Texans were on a 5-0 run when Denver ran into them.
“We are sensitive to that”, he said, “but all of that is kind of secondary to us. You know the process we go through. We have to prepare, we have to feel those urgencies in those moments as we put together a plan as we divide the labor up as we decide what people to utilize. We find our rhythm in that area”.
This is a pretty significant game in that they have the Chargers and the Patriots coming up on their schedule over the course of the next three weeks. This is no time to lose momentum, and their upcoming opponent knows a little something about going up against such teams so far this year.