The Pittsburgh Steelers have a chance to finish Sunday with a record of 4-4, which many would have called nearly impossible a few weeks ago when they sat at 1-4. With a chance to return to .500 on the line, the Steelers should be fired up to take the field Sunday. The only object standing in the way of a 4-4 record are the AFC South leading Indianapolis Colts. It is not going to be easy but with another strong performance, the Steelers have a real chance to finally climb their way out of the hole they dug themselves in earlier this season.
5 – Defensive coordinator Keith Butler loves his stunts and he may need to call a couple more against the Colts because Jacoby Brissett has been pretty good against the blitz this season. According to Pro Football Reference, Brissett has tossed five touchdowns and zero interceptions against the blitz this season, good for a 112.2 passer rating. More is not always better when it comes to rushing the passer and Butler has shown a lot of creativity with his pass rushers this season. He was able to rattle Ryan Fitzpatrick with just four rushers at times last Monday and he may have to get creative again this Sunday. Luckily for him, getting after the quarterback has not been a problem for the Steelers’ defensive coordinator.
18 – Sunday’s matchup will see two of the top offensive lines go head to head. The Steelers have allowed the NFL’s fewest amount of sacks this season while the Colts have allowed the fourth fewest sacks this year. The Colts and Steelers have allowed just 18 sacks combined this season, which would still be better than 16 teams. The only difference for both these offensive lines is the defense they will be going up against. The Steelers’ defense has recorded 24 sacks this season while the Colts rank middle of the pack with 19 sacks.
80 – Both the Colts and Steelers defense have been incredibly stingy this season against wide receivers as both teams have allowed just 80 receptions to wide receivers, fifth fewest in the NFL. Both these defenses also rank in the top ten for fewest yardage given up to receivers as they have held opposing wide receivers under 1100 yards receiving on the season. After nearly cracking 200 receiving yards last Monday, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson are going to have their work cut out for them against a tough Colts’ defense.
127.9 – After giving up 14 points to the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter last week, the Steelers must ensure they do not get off to another slow start as the 5-2 Colts would be a much tougher obstacle to overcome than the 0-7 Dolphins. The first quarter is where Brissett has been his most efficient this season as well, as he carries a 127.9 passer rating in the first quarter. Brissett has completed over 70-percent of his passes for four touchdowns and zero interceptions during the first quarter this season. The Steelers must make sure they do not allow Brissett to get into a rhythm early.
357 – The Colts have currently won two of three on the road this season and Marlon Mack is a big reason why. In three road games this season, the Colts running back has rushed for 357 yards, an average of 119 yards per game. The Steelers showed last week that their pass rush could still hold its own without Stephon Tuitt but now it may be time to prove that their run defense can also hold up. This will be a tough test for the Steelers’ defense, Mack is no slouch as his 590 rushing yards currently ranks eighth in the NFL.