by Hal Bent | Posted on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
...The Pittsburgh Steelers come to Foxboro, MA in last place in the AFC North. That said, the team is 2-5 and in desperate need of a victory. This Steelers squad is a different beast than the teams that faced off against the Patriots in some epic battles in the past. The Steelers are a passing offense as the traditional Pittsburgh power running game is missing this season. On defense, the Steelers have struggled to stop the opposing rushing offenses and as a result suffered in the passing game being susceptible to play-action.
Last week against Oakland was the Pittsburgh season in a nutshell: The Steelers rushed for only 35 yards on 19 attempts (1.8 yards per rush) and gave up 197 yards on the ground to the Raiders (including a 93 yard touchdown rush by quarterback Terrelle Pryor). On offense, the Steelers passed the ball 45 times with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 275 yards, but two interceptions and was sacked five times.
For the Patriots, the offense has multiple options in attacking the Steelers offense. Getting running backs Stevan Ridley and bruiser LeGarrette Blount involved is going to be part of the plan. What stands out with the Steelers defense is that the signature run-stuffing front seven is non-existent. Big bodies Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward are still learning and are often moved out of position by superior technique by blockers. While strong penetrating the line to get at the quarterback, that rush often leaves holes for running backs to scamper through.
At linebacker, Lamarr Woodley has been great at getting at the opposing quarterback and Lawrence Timmons has been effective covering up backs and tight ends in pass coverage. Behind them, they have lacked the attitude and smarts of veteran James Harrison. In addition, stopping the run is not a strength of Woodley or Timmons, and teams have been effective when their linemen get to that second level.
What the Patriots have done on offense against the Steelers in the past was to spread out the 3-4 defense and attack with four or five receivers...FOR MUCH MORE CLICK HERE: http://www.h4-entertainment.com/2013/11/new-england-patriots-face-big-test-from-steelers-after-comeback-win-over-dolphins/