It’s game day once again. For Pittsburgh Steelers fans this season, that hasn’t necessarily been happy news. Their team is 2-5 on the season and about to take on an undefeated opponent who just had a week off. It’s safe to assume that they are not the betting favorites to win this game.
But if they are to have any chance of doing so, it will have to come from minimizing their mistakes on both sides of the ball. That includes the defense making the plays that they have a shot at making after dropping four potential interceptions last week.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense has not been one this season prone to making mistakes, so that only makes it all the more important that the Steelers seize whatever opportunities may be provided for them. They will have to call upon their star players to make the difference.
Offensively, the central focus is going to continue to be on rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who in spite of several crushing mistakes last week put the offense in position multiple times at the end of the game to go ahead.
It’s a matter of learning from your mistakes. If he can be the guy who makes that incredible tight-window throw to Pat Freiermuth on fourth down while learning not to be the guy who throws that game-ending interception, then we’re in business.
The next step is continuing to grow the chemistry between his wide receivers. He can Diontae Johnson were not in sync on that play on which the interception was thrown, suffice it to say. He has been building a rapport with fellow rookie George Pickens, something both young players have sensed, but that too must continue to develop.
As does the running game. Where is it? Najee Harris needs to be the 230-pound first-round draft pick sometime soon no matter what the circumstances around him suggest. His foot is presumably healthy by now. He needs not only to continue to break tackles but to find the plays that are there to be made.
Defensively, it’s about keeping quarterback Jalen Hurts under control, particularly with the threat of RPOs. They saw a healthy dose of it last week in Miami playing against Tua Tagovailoa. Can they apply what they learned then to today? Cameron Heyward said that they had to adjust in-game, and they blanked the Dolphins in the second half.
But it’s not just Hurts. There’s also Miles Sanders, who like Raheem Mostert last week is a threat to churn out yardage against this front, which won’t have Larry Ogunjobi, a big loss. Guys like Chris Wormley and Isaiahh Loudermilk are going to have to step up and keep the front seven stout against the run.
And they’d better hope that they don’t miss their field goal chances thanks to Chris Boswell’s bothersome groin.