The bye week is over the Black and Gold, and it appears that the team is getting healthy, and they need it at 1-2 as they get set for the 3-1 Eagles with Mike Vick and company Sunday.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the game, along with the prediction for the Steelers first 1pm start of 2012.
1. Finish – The Steelers have blown fourth-quarter leads in both of their defeats, watching a 10-point cushion disappear in a 34-31 loss in Oakland a week ago Sunday. The team, which has in the past prided itself in playing tough for four quarters, seem to be more in tune to playing three quarters, and then holding on in the fourth. That could work against teams like the Browns, but the Eagles are not the Browns, and if the Steelers enter the fourth with a lead, they can’t sit back and fall asleep like they did vs the Raiders which cost them a win.
2. Get off the Field – Another disturbing trend early in 2012 is the teams inability to get off the field on third downs. While it was awful in Oakland, it seems to be a trend that points back to even last season. So far this year the Steelers underperforming D has produced five sacks and allowed opponents to convert 48.5 percent of third downs, both of those stats are near the bottom of the NFL. A reason the team may be wearing out is the fact they have been allowing too many third down conversions. It’s a stat that needs to change Sunday.
3. Keep Keeping Ben On His Feet – It’s been quite a start for Ben Roethlisberger, who so far this season has thrown for 8 TD’s and just one pick. So far in 2012 Ben has been taken down 9 times. Consider this – the Steelers are 16-19 in the regular season when Roethlisberger is sacked four times or more, and 65-17 when he goes down three times or less. The Eagles took Ben down 9 times the last time the two teams played back in 2008, and you can bet the team will focus on keeping him mobile and upright Sunday.
Prediction – The good news is the health of the Steelers, which should get back Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and Rashard Mendnahll. The Steelers have allowed just 9.3 points per game in winning nine of its last 10 at Heinz Field, and while the Eagles are a solid foe, they are not as good as the 3-1 mark they boast, as they are 30th in the league in scoring, and all that points very much in favor of the Steelers. Look for the Black and Gold to lay an early knockout, and to make sure to finish this time around. Steelers 24 Philadelphia 10