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 Steelers are at risk of succumbing to a physical and emotional letdown following big games against physical teams on the road.
Explanation: The Steelers came out of the first quarter of the season positioned well, but untested. They have certainly been tested now, defeating three five-win teams, and taking down two of them on the road. But they didn’t come out of that gauntlet unscathed, and will now have to rally their reserves for the next task at hand.
This one, I suppose, is for those who believe that Mike Tomlin’s teams do historically ‘play down to the competition’ and who believe in the notion of ‘trap games’, because this game certainly fits perfectly into that convergence of narratives.
For starters, the Steelers do have some injuries, with potentially a couple of defensive linemen out and Cameron Heyward banged up. That’s not an ideal situation facing Ezekiel Elliott no matter who is blocking in front of him.
Perhaps the area of biggest concern is simply if they can ‘get up’ for this game after playing such important contests. Basically, they had three consecutive weeks of ‘the biggest game of the season’, whereas this is quite possibly the least important, as an interdivisional road contest. And at a time that they are probably desperate for a breather.
I wanted to look up the last time the Steelers won four consecutive games on the road as part of the argument that winning a fourth in a row goes against the odds. But they did it as recently as 2018, so really not very impressive, and that did include some reasonable opponents.
And let’s face it, the Dallas Cowboys are a boat with no rudder right now, adrift in the ocean. They don’t even know who they’re going to play at quarterback for this game, but whoever it will be, will not be good. Maybe they struggle in the game a little more than they should but they will certainly not lose.