The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How do you feel about the Steelers’ chances of beating the New Orleans Saints?
The Steelers can come pretty close to clinching the AFC North if they’re able to win in New Orleans on Sunday, whether or not they actually do. They can secure the division officially with a win and the Baltimore Ravens losing to the Los Angeles Chargers, but I think even for this Jekyll and Hyde team it will be pretty hard to lose to a Cincinnati Bengals team without their quarterback, top two wide receivers, and top two wide receivers.
I mean seriously. Just imagine the Steelers with Joshua Dobbs under center throwing to James Washington, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, and Xavier Grimble. A Week 17 loss to this Bengals team would be unforgivable.
But absent that little aside, going into New Orleans this year—or most years—and hoping to leave with a win over the Saints is no easy task. Even though Drew Brees and the offense hasn’t been lighting it up as much in recent weeks, there’s a reason they’re 12-2.
The Saints are now 6-1 at home so far this year, the only loss coming back in Week One against Fitzmagick and a 400-plus yard performance in a 48-40 shootout. They went 7-1 with only a loss to the New England Patriots last year at home. Though they did got 4-4 the year before that in a 7-9 campaign. But this is obviously a different team.
The Saints have a much better defense than an offense as potent as theirs typically has, particularly upfront with Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins. Fortunately the offensive line is one of the Steelers’ strengths. They should have the offense to go up against this defense, but can their defense go up against this offense on their home turf? That’s the big question.