The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Miami Dolphins are the opponent to give the Steelers their edge back to build up to a tougher run.
Explanation: Many are taking the Dolphins lightly, and it’s hard not to when a team is winless this deep into the season. This certainly appears to be the most favorable game on their entire schedule all year, and a good time to ease back into things coming off their bye, with tougher opponents on the horizon.
If there is any specific situation the Steelers step up for, it’s primetime Monday night home games in alternate jerseys. Before it was the Killer Bs, now it’s the Color Rush jerseys. All the intangible elements of this game, coupled with the opportunity to face a winless opponent, make it hard to bet against a Pittsburgh victory, and one that should, at least at some point in the game, look pretty easy.
While some things can’t be helped, like the losses of Ben Roethlisberger and Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers enter this game with a fairly healthy roster, looking to get a number of players back from injury, such as Steven Nelson and James Washington, as well as Roosevelt Nix. Oh, and Mason Rudolph.
Pittsburg has to figure out who they are on both sides of the ball while buttoning things up on special teams, and the Dolphins should allow them to do that. They are one of the worst defenses in the league in situational football.
Even if they typically end up winning, the Steelers still tend to come out of the bye week with sluggish performances, even against bad teams, as they did two years ago against the Indianapolis Colts. Two years later, the same Colts helmed by Jacoby Brissett are one of the tougher remaining games on paper.
Even beating up against the Dolphins won’t properly prepare them to face the Colts, who have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL and an underrated defense. And chances are they will still have their hands full just trying to sneak past the Dolphins, if their fourth-quarter performances, both on offense and defense, so far this season are any indications of how things will go.