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 will record at least three sacks against the Washington Football Team.
Explanation: I knew it would be too easy to just say that the Steelers will record a sack today and thereby tie the record for the longest sack streak in NFL history. So now we’re buying or selling whether or not they get three.
They get three more often than they get fewer than three, so this is an obvious buy. In 11 games, they have recorded at least three sacks eight times already this season, including six games of four sacks or more, and three games with five or more sacks.
Then on the other side of the ball you have a Washington Football Team team (which is ridiculous to say) that has given up among the most sacks in the NFL. They have allowed 35 sacks through 11 games, more than three per game on average.
Put those two together—a team averaging more than three sacks per game and a team giving up more than three sacks per game—and you have a recipe for, well, at least three sacks, right? I mean, they get a lot of sacks pretty regularly.
But two of the three games in which they failed to record at least three sacks have come within the past four games, and they only got three last week against a backup quarterback, so they haven’t necessarily been at their hottest lately.
And they just lost their second-leading pass rusher for the rest of the season in Bud Dupree, who suffered a torn ACL. Even when he wasn’t getting sacks, he was helping to create them for others, and they don’t have anybody who is at the same level to replace him.
Washington does give up a lot of sacks, but Alex Smith has only taken seven in the three games since he has been in the starting lineup, taking fewer than three sacks twice. And one of those games, he attempted 55 passes.