The Steelers Are In A Freefall; Can They Recover In Time For The Playoffs?

Well… it’s not going to well right now in Pittsburgh. Last week, we couldn’t have been further off in our prediction on the Steelers game. With nothing to play for but pride, the Bengals came out highly motivated, angry, and out for blood against the Steelers. They absolutely punished Pittsburgh from start to finish. The game wasn’t quite a rout, but it certainly wasn’t as close as the 27-17 score indicated.

Big Ben struggled again in the passing game. Not only was the offense predictable, but it was also ineffective, and the alarm bells should be ringing on Ben’s ability to push the ball downfield.

The Steelers spent quite a few drives trying very hard to establish the run, but they simply couldn’t get anything going. In the short passing game, the Bengals were camped out on the short routes, crushing Steelers receivers within just a few yards of the line of scrimmage.

This weekend, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 2 point underdogs at home against the Colts according to the DraftKings online sportsbook. Will they be able to cover the spread?

DraftKings PA Online Sportsbook

Nothing went right for the Steelers, but at least there weren’t five or six drops this time around. Right now, the Steelers are practically playing No-Limit Hold-em with one card exposed on each hand. Teams know what’s coming and last week just proved even the bad teams in the NFL can beat the great ones when they know what’s coming.

Going forward, the Steelers need to utilize more screens and double moves. Opponents are jumping the short routes and camped out close to the line, clogging the running lanes. The solution is screens, pop passes, and double moves on the outside. This should widen the defense and keep the safeties leaning outside.

Regardless of what the Steelers’ troubles are, they need to get some positive momentum heading into the playoffs.

Steelers vs Colts Preview

The Colts are a hot team, winning five of their last six. They’re a balanced team with passing consistency issues and holes on defense. It sounds a little bit like the Steelers. To be fair, the Colts have worked out many of their issues this season, while the Steelers seem to be just splashing around in the shallow end. When the Colts have had deficiencies in an area, it changes real quick.

For the Steelers, their adjustments have been few and far between. Early in the season, the Steelers shifted to a quick passing attack to offset their injuries at the offensive line. Now, they’re failing to adjust to teams sitting on their strategy, and Ben has regressed, especially throwing the ball downfield.

The Colts are 12th in points allowed, 17th in passing yards allowed, and 5th in rushing yards allowed on the season. The Colts love to run the ball, get the defense to creep up, and take shots on the outside with favorable coverage. TY Hilton has returned to form, Michael Pittman is a super-talented rookie who isn’t even being utilized very well, and Jonathan Taylor is finally being utilized to his fullest potential. This team is surging and still has a decent shot to win the AFC South.

Prediction

The Steelers are fresh off a third consecutive loss, with seemingly no adjustments made in each. The Colts are winners of five of their last six and have developed a solid identity. By all accounts, if we are going off trends, the Colts have the advantage heading into this game. However, the NFL tends to be more of a week-to-week, matchup-focused league.

I expect the Colts to come out running the ball and running it effectively. Their running backs are dynamic and the line is great. The Steelers are severely thin in the linebacking corps, and it’s no surprise opposing teams have had a great deal of success against them in the run game lately. I like for the Steelers to get a little more creative with the pop passes and screens close to the line on offense.

I think it will open up the middle of the field and should allow the Steelers to take some deeper shots downfield to their big receivers. I like the Colts to control this game and for the Steelers to have a little more success early in this game than they have the past couple of weeks (punting on their first four drives in consecutive games).

In the end, I just think the Colts will be more consistent in this game. I like the Colts to get the win on the road.

Final Score: Colts 27 Steelers 23