It can be argued that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals is the closest thing that they have had to a bye week over the course of the regular season. They had a planned bye week, of course, and also a 10-day gap scheduled following a Thursday game, but both of those breaks were tarnished by the rearrangement of schedules.
Most recently, the team was supposed to face the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving, but it got postponed three times, to the point that it was not played until the following Wednesday, a full six days later.
As a result of that, they spent the week leading up to the game in uncertainty, not only without knowing when the game would be played, but even not knowing whether or not they would be practicing on any given day as scheduled, based on whether or not the game was going to be postponed again.
The ripple effect was that the Steelers have played on short weeks for the past two weeks, and the results haven’t been good. Now, finally, they have a regular schedule leading up to a game—and even an extra day on top of it. And linebacker Avery Williamson has been very welcoming of it.
“It’s definitely good that we finally got a normal week”, he said. “It’s definitely been pretty hectic with just the rescheduling of the games. It’s been a little bit crazy, so it’s kind of just like a sigh of relief to have an extra day just to rest”.
“It’s definitely been good, but I feel like everybody has definitely needed the rest”, he added. “We’re just making sure that we’re resetting in practice, make sure that we’re trying to correct any mistakes that we have so we can get ready to go out there and get this win against Cincinnati”.
The Steelers have the opportunity to record a season sweep of the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday and go 5-0 in the AFC North, also locking up the division title in the process, in advance of their regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns.
Will the full work week, with a bonus day thrown in, result in their being a more polished team? Will they have had the opportunity to address and correct some of the issues that they have been having in recent weeks that have led to them dropping two games in a row?