The Steelers confidence should be at a high after the win in the final game of the 2006 season after they topped the Bengals in overtime at Paul Brown Stadium. Problem is though, with a new coach, some players coming and going, and an offseason that has had the most change in over 15 seasons, who really knows how the Steelers will come out in 2007? The preseason, as it always does, will tell us little about how really good the team will be. What will tell us how the season will go, is the first few weeks of the regular season, in which the team will play two games at home and two on the road. Here is a quick look at the teams four September games as they look to get off to a fast start:
Week 1: At Cleveland 9/9 – The Steelers owned the Browns under Bill Cowher, and it sure would be nice to see Mike Tomlin continue that trend. The Browns have issues at quarterback, and about 3-4 other positions, so talent wise the Steelers have the clear edge. This though is a rival game, and Browns fans will give Cleveland a lift, so the Steelers cannot take this one for granted. Last season they were sleep walking in the game vs the Browns, and had to score 20 in the 4th quarter to pull out a 24-20 win. This one won’t be as easy as it looks.
Weel 2: vs Buffalo 9/16 – The Bills are an interesting team, with a solid offense, but youg and beatable defense. They are on the verge of a three-headed monster on offense with J.P. Losman, Lee Evans and rookie runner Marshawn Lynch. The Steelers crowd at home should help, and if the offense can have a day vs the somewhat weak Bills D, they should be able to get a home win here.
Week 3: vs San Francisco 9/23 – Week 3 has the NFC West 49’ers in town, another up and coming team. Alex Smith and Frank Gore will need to be handled for the 49’ers offense, and the Steelers offense should again be able to do some things vs the San Fran D. Don’t forget the 49’ers beat Seattle on the road last season, so this is going to be another game the Steelers cannot take for granted.
Week 4: at Arizona 9/30 – I look for the Steelers vs Cards to be the most interesting game of the year, for if nothing more than to see how the Cards coaches prepare for the Steelers. With Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm now in Arizona, the Cards can play mind games with Big Ben and the offense. Sure would be nice for Bruce Arians and the offense to play some tricks of their own on the former Steelers coaches with a trick play or two. Many think the Cards are ready to take a step to the next level.
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