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: Outside of Ben Roethlisberger, the Buffalo Bills are the better team between themselves and the Steelers.
Explanation: The Bills have been knocked all season because they had not beaten anybody with a winning record, short of a pre-Marcus Mariota-benching Tennessee Titans. They scored that victory last night over the now 8-6, sending them to 10-4 and locking up a postseason berth. They will have a shot at the division title when they play the New England Patriots next week, while Pittsburgh is now in must-win mode just to get the sixth seed.
Josh Allen wasn’t great, but he was good enough when it mattered. The same can’t be said for the Steelers’ quarterbacks post-Roethlisberger this season, at least not consistently. That will always be the biggest difference between teams, especially when pass protection is at issue, and the Bills made it one last night.
The Steelers’ secondary is as good as it’s been in about a decade, but Buffalo’s is better, and Tre’Davious White was the second-best player on the field overall, outside of T.J. Watt, in my opinion. Buffalo’s run game is effective with Devin Singletary, whom they were able to force fumble twice. Pittsburgh hasn’t had any consistency in the backfield all season. And the Bills are more aggressive on both sides of the ball.
The Steelers just played a bad game. Outside of last night, Devlin Hodges has shown that he is more than capable of keeping this team alive, making the necessary plays at the necessary times. He was uncharacteristically rattled last night, but that is a relative blip on the radar.
If the Bills turned the ball over five times and had a bad punt, the results would have been different and we would be burying Buffalo as frauds who will be one-and-done in the postseason, if they even get there. Beating the Steelers in Heinz Field doesn’t prove that they are the better team, especially considering Pittsburgh is still getting important players back. If they were to meet in the playoffs, Pittsburgh should win, even in Buffalo.