The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had the most daunting record in the NFL this season, but at least until they came up against the Buffalo Bills, they were able to beat the quality opponents that they faced, including wins over the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Tennessee Titans, possibly all of whom are playoff-bound.
The Indianapolis Colts are the next ‘quality team’ on the list at 10-4, and right in the middle of the competition with the rest of that group, fighting with the Titans to try to claim the AFC South title. They are riding a three-game winning streak. And they’re not quarterbacked by Jacoby Brissett anymore.
While Andrew Luck didn’t come back, they do have a savvy and very familiar veteran under center in Philip Rivers, who was one of the two quarterbacks drafted ahead of Ben Roethlisberger during the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
The Steelers have faced off against him a number of times over the years, including in recent years, with varying degrees of success, but that was always while he is with the Chargers. He might be in a new uniform and a new city, but Cameron Heyward, who has faced him a number of times, doesn’t think much has changed about the player.
“I think it’s the same. This dude, he competes his tail off. There’s not a defense he hasn’t seen. He’s a competitor”, he told reporters yesterday. “He can play the game where he wants to be quick about his passing, or he can dice you up and go down the field. He has that communication with his receivers that allows him to do special things. I think having a guy like T.Y. Hilton and a running game like he does, and an offensive line like he does, allows you to do a lot more. We’re gonna have our hands full, but I think we’ll be ready”.
Of course, they weren’t ready for Ryan Finley this past week against the Cincinnati Bengals, so who’s to say? Then again, at least you have a well-established scouting report on Rivers—and you know they’re not going to be running a lot of read options with him under center.
The unfortunate reality is that the Colts look like a team that is finding their stride down the stretch of the 2020 postseason, while the Steelers have pretty clearly been trending in the opposite direction. The Bengals game was supposed to be the ‘get right’ game, but pulling out a win in this one would work just as well.