Buffalo Rumblings - The Steelers hit a rut in the midpoint of the season but have played better of late. What was the problem during that stretch and what have they done better recently.
Behind The Steel Curtain - Injuries were huge for the team during that stretch. Ben Roethlisberger hurt his knee against the Dolphins, then missed the next and played horribly against the Ravens in his first game back (a trend for No. 7 coming off injury). The Cowboys are a great team and pulled off a tremendous comeback, and then the Steelers started to find their footing. The root cause of their success has been Le'Veon Bell. They have been dedicated to the run, where before they were a bit too pass-happy. Roethlisberger's attempts have been down, and the offense has been balanced. When they can afford to be balanced, they succeed.
BR - If you were to devise a game plan to stop the Steelers, what would it consist of?
BTSC - To stop the Steelers offense you have to stop Le'Veon Bell. The thought is to stop Antonio Brown and Roethlisberger, but Bell is the ultimate mismatch. A tremendous ball carrier, but also a huge threat as a receiver. The problem is no one has been able to stop Bell, as he is averaging over 140 yards per scrimmage a game. Defensively, the Steelers are a tough nut to crack. They have struggled against the run some weeks, and have been vulnerable through the air some games too. The Bills will run the ball, but coming out throwing wouldn't be a bad game plan to open things up.
BR - Who's been Pittsburgh's best defender this season?
BTSC - When healthy it is Ryan Shazier. He is as fast as any defender on the field, and can make the dynamic play in both the run game, and in coverage. The problem is he has missed some time this year with a knee injury. He is healthy again, and looks to be back to form.
BR - What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Steelers defense?
BTSC - The Steelers, since their 3-game winning streak, have been getting after the quarterback. During the streak they have sack the opposing quarterback 13 times. That doubles their season total before the winning streak. They are getting quality contributions from several rookies, and veterans are playing to form. The weakness of the defense is in the secondary. Teams have picked on rookie Artie Burns, and leaves a gaping hole in the coverage schemes in the deep secondary.
BR - Thoughts on the outcome of this game?
BTSC - The Steelers have struggled on the road, but have won their past two games. The weather could be a factor, but this team has a new look to them. Very confident and comfortable in their ability. The Steelers' offense is a mismatch against almost every defense, including Buffalo. It might be a struggle, but I think Pittsburgh's defense makes just enough plays to win...it will be close, but I like the Steelers to grab a win on the road in Orchard Park.