Steelers Vs. Buccaneers: 5 Keys To Victory In Week 6

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their sixth game of the 2022 regular season at home on Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they’ll enter that contest listed as a huge underdog to boot. Below are five key things that I believe the Steelers will need to do at home on Sunday to come away with their second win of the 2022 season.

Be Ball Hunters – The Steelers are really undermanned heading into Sunday’s game and especially on the defensive side. Not only that, but the team also can’t rely on their offense to drive the length of the field several times in this game. In short, the Steelers need to be beneficiaries of several turnovers on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium and the best way to get those is likely by forcing a fumble or two or tipping a pass from Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady in hopes that it bounces right into the hands of one of their defensive players. Brady has only had two passes batted all season so it will be a talk task to register a few of those on Sunday. Even so, the Steelers defensive linemen need to get their arms up when Brady is delivering the football and hopefully in his line of direction. This Steelers front has the length and players to do that. Additionally, attempting to rip the football away from runners either on rushes or after the catch needs to be top priority in this game. The Buccaneers already have five fumble giveaways on the season and only the New Orleans Saints have more entering Week 6.

Need Homeruns – The Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals are the only remaining teams that have yet to register a gain of 40 yards or longer in a game this season. They are also now one of just four teams without a run of 20 yards or longer on the season. The Buccaneers, by the way, are one of those three other teams. If the Steelers don’t pop at least one 40-yard play on Sunday and at least one run of 20 yards or longer, there is no way they will beat the Buccaneers. Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens is due for his first monster NFL play on Sunday and rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett needs to make sure he gets it. Two would be even better with one ending up in the end zone.

Red Threes – There is no way the Steelers can get into any sort of a high scoring game with the Buccaneers on Sunday because they just don’t have the offense to do it. That means that they must keep the game low-scoring even though the Buccaneers are sure to move the ball down into the red zone at least a few times on Sunday. The Buccaneers’ offense has had a few red zone issues this season and they enter Sunday with a middling percentage of 57.14%. Ideally, the Steelers defense, which has had their own red zone woes at times this season (52.63%), will limit the Buccaneers’ offense to just one or zero red zone scores on Sunday, in addition to not giving up any touchdowns outside of the red zone. If their defense can force multiple field goals on Sunday and keep the Buccaneers under 20 points in total, just maybe the offense can top that.

Be On The Run – In his first NFL start last week, Pickett attempted 52 total passes as not only was the team way behind most of the game, but the running game wasn’t working as well. Pickett probably doesn’t need to make a habit out of throwing 40 or more times a game and especially on Sunday against a Buccaneers defense that has 19 sacks and 39 quarterback hits on the season in addition to six interceptions. To prevent Pickett from having to throw three times out of every four plays on Sunday, the Steelers offense must finally get their running game going. In their last two games, the Buccaneers defense has allowed 189 and 151 rushing yards, respectively. While 95 of those total yards came from opposing quarterbacks, it’s not like Pickett isn’t mobile in his own right, right? The Steelers have rushed for more 150 games just once since Week 3 of the 2020 season. They’ll probably need to bust the 150 number on Sunday to beat the Buccaneers.

Empty The Bag – Outside of Week 1, we really haven’t seen any gadget plays out of the Steelers offense. To beat the Buccaneers on Sunday, offensive coordinator Matt Canada and special teams coordinator Danny Smith better strongly consider adding a few to the plan. Surprise onside kick, fake punt, double pass, flea-flicker, you get the drift. Something that the Buccaneers won’t be able to prepare for because it is not yet on tape. Go for it.

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