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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/47293/steel_curtain_fave.png 2018-12-10T15:15:03-05:00
Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Knee Jerk Reactions from the Steelers defense-less loss to the Chiefs

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 3:52pm

One BTSC writer shares his real-time, initial thoughts of the Steelers 2018 home debut.

Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe claimed to be a dreamer with a heart of gold that had to run away high so he didn’t come home low. But I think he was at his most poignant when he sang...”Im on my way. I’m on my way. Home, Sweet, Home. As Week One’s tie flummoxed those in Steelers Nation, I was feeling cautiously optimistic leading up to what I presumed to be a fireworks show at Heinz Field. So if you want to know how my emotions fluctuated throughout the day, keep on reading.

Nonetheless, a simple reminder, a knee jerk reaction is an immediate and unthinking, emotional reaction. It’s basically shooting first and apologizing later. I can safely say that’s a true definition of your’s truly and a good lot of Steeler Nation. Here’s my real-time reactions during the Steelers battle with Andy Reid and the KC Chiefs.

1st Quarter
  • Jim Furyk back home leading the Terrible Towel wave. Cool.
  • It’s amazing. Kind of knew that Ben would go deep to Washington on the first play. If fans and media complain thet somebody needs to get involved, they typically do it right away. Kind of predictable.
  • Mahomes has poise on the pocket.
  • Conley, against the zone, was wide open.
  • Team just honored Billy Hillgrove for 25 years in the booth. Great ovation.
  • It’s early, but Ben looks way off again.
  • The crowd has completely given up on Berry. The boos were deafening.
  • They left Watkins and Kelce all alone.
  • Steelers need to score on this drive. If not we are witnessing the beginning of the end.
  • Washington is in there a lot.
  • AB was open. Ben just plum missed him.
  • Conner with the spinaroonie in the open field.
  • Welcome back Tony Toe Tap.
  • Can’t settle for three.
  • Can’t even get three. Ouch. Gonna be a long drive home.
  • Leave it to the Steelers to make Sammy Watkins look like a superstar.
  • Edmunds plain blew that stop. Gotta tackle.
  • Mahomes is for real.
  • They got lucky there on the hold. People are leaving.
  • If they don’t do something soon, I’m going to have to drown my sorrows at the Pierogie House.
Quarter 2
  • Jesse James was wide open. Nice.
  • Nice look from Ben too.
  • Crowd is back in a big way.
  • Dude next to me snubbed me on the high five. I’m dejected.
  • Offense can’t let up. Need to cut it to seven.
  • Switz can add a really good dimension to this team.
  • Was that s Big Dan sighting? He does exist.
  • That was a perfect drive.
  • Bos(not-so)well. What in the name of Kris Johnson is going on?
  • Jeff Hartman and I picked James as a sleeper to have a huge game.
  • James Wow-shington.
  • This place is electric now.
Quarter 3
  • What a great half. But can’t revert back to Q1.
  • Reverting back.
  • Missed assignment. Watt can’t be covering guys deep.
  • This defense couldn’t stop up a toilet.
  • AB and JuJu may very well be the best receiving duo in the NFL.
  • Ben is overthrowing these guys. They’re getting separation.
  • Got lucky on the pass interference.
  • Why is AB having a tantrum?
  • Little surprised. Thought No. 30 was short.
  • This will get reversed.
  • I can’t believe they let Ridley play .
Quarter 4
  • Six TDS are ridiculous. This defense is undisciplined.
  • Lucky bounce to be at the one.
  • Gotta bring it. Need the safety.
  • Just got hot sauce in my eye. Crap! My eyes are like the Steeler secondary. Burned.
  • Really brought it on the safety. Huge.
  • Gotta take advantage now. No TD here and it is over.
  • Another penalty on Vance. C’mon man.
  • Crowd is mad. But tough to go for it with 9:16 left.
  • Here we go. Need seven and luck.
  • JJ and JuJu. Clutch.
  • Vintage Ben. I can’t take this. Wow.
  • Needed a three and out. That first down killed them.

Well. That sucked.

...

So...now as I replay the game more and more in my head, my perceptions will alter. But for now, you just got a glimpse of the first thoughts that popped in my mind while I was watching this game. Feel free to get your commentus maximus on in the comment section.

Patrick Mahomes shreds Steelers’ defense for 42-37 victory

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 3:25pm

There wasn’t much defense in this contest...and the Steelers came up short.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs squared off at Heinz Field in Week 2 of NFL regular season action, and the home team was looking to get the nasty taste of a Browns tie out of their mouths while the visiting team was looking to add on to their offensive output last week vs. the Chargers.

On a picturesque day, the Steelers started with the football to open the game, but were forced to punt on three-and-out. On Jordan Berry’s first action of the game, while trying to pin Tyreek Hill to the sideline, the up-man DeAndre Thomas caught the ball and tight-roped the sideline getting the Chiefs to the Steelers’ 10-yard line. Two plays later the chiefs cashed in with Patrick Mahomes finding Chris Conley in the back of the endzone for the touchdown.

Another Steelers’ three-and-out set up the Chiefs to add to their lead. Mahomes shredded the Steelers’ secondary en route to a bullet pass to Travis Kelce for the Chiefs touchdown. Before you could blink, the Chiefs were up 14-0 with 9:05 left in the first quarter.

It took until their third series, but Pittsburgh was finally able to muster a few first downs and moved into field goal range with big catches by both James Conner and Antonio Brown. However, the Chris Boswell 49-yard field goal sailed wide left keeping the score 14-0. It was Boswell’s second missed field goal of the young regular season.

With great field position after Boswell’s miss, the Chiefs weren’t about to pack up the high-flying offense. It took just a handful of plays for Kansas City to extend their lead. This time it wasn’t Kelce doing the damage, but Kareem Hunt who abused Terrell Edmunds one-on-one to give the Chiefs a 21-0 lead with 2:24 still left in the first quarter.

To start the second quarter, the Steelers’ offense finally decided to start putting together a performance more reminiscent of the Pittsburgh offense most expected. Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a trio of receptions, moving the team near the red-zone, and finally found Jesse James for the team’s first score of the game.

Ben finds @JJames18_ for the score.

KC 21 | PIT 7 pic.twitter.com/qVEktw2yPH

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

After forcing Kansas City to punt for the first time in the game, Ben Roethlisberger started to claw the team back into the game on his own. Roethlisberger orchestrated an 11-play 85-yard drive which ended in a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, Boswell’s struggles continued with a missed point-after, making the score 21-13.

#JuJuOnThatTD

KC 21 | PIT 13 pic.twitter.com/9kKWdRvMmG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

Getting the football with just over 3-minutes left in the half, Pittsburgh was able to move the ball into Kansas City territory after big completions to Jesse James and a defensive pass interference call on the Chiefs. With 24-seconds remaining in the half, and inside the red-zone, Roethlisberger found rookie James Washington for a touchdown to move the Steelers within two points of the Chiefs. Pittsburgh went for two, to tie the game, and Roethlisberger hit James Conner in the flat to tie the game 21-21.

First catch in the NFL... might as well make it a touchdown.

@JamesWashington pic.twitter.com/Xyj2WR759V

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

Patrick Mahomes picked mimicked his performance to start the second half the same way he did the first half. The second year quarterback led the Chiefs down the field with ease and hit Travis Kelce for his fourth touchdown of the game to give Kansas City a 28-21 lead. The reception was Kelce’s second touchdown of the game.

Needing an answer, Roethlisberger and company marched down the field with ease, but instead of another Roethlisberger touchdown pass, it was James Conner hitting pay dirt on a 2nd-and-goal situation for his first touchdown of the game. Boswell made the extra point to tie the game 28-28 with 7:12 left in the third quarter.

Extra effort for his 3rd TD of the season.

PIT 28 | PIT 28 pic.twitter.com/jUGVwNgAdr

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

Mahomes had looked unstoppable all game, and that continued with Kansas City moving through the Pittsburgh offense like a hot knife through butter. The latest Chiefs’ touchdown ended with Mahomes’ 5th touchdown pass, this time to Demarcus Robinson, to give the Chiefs a 35-28 lead with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Pittsburgh failed to even gain a first down on their first drive of the second half, and the Chiefs did what they had been doing all game — score touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes threw his 6th touchdown of the game to Tyreek Hill to extend the Kansas City lead 42-28.

Jordan Berry was called on for duty again, but a 59-yard punt which went out of bounds at the one-yard line put the Steelers’ defense in position to stop the potent Chiefs offense. After a Mahomes incomplete pass, Kareem Hunt was stoned in the end-zone for a safety, making the score 42-30 with 12:02 left in regulation.

Unable to do something with their next possession, Pittsburgh punted the ball back to the Chiefs. When it looked like a touchdown was inevitable, the Chiefs committed their first turnover of the game when Cameron Heyward forced a fumble which was recovered by Anthony Chickillo.

Roethlisberger took the team on his back, and literally did it all to get the team into the end-zone. On fourth-and-goal, Roethlisberger scrambled to his right and dove into the end-zone to make the score 42-37 with just over 2-minutes left in regulation.

Them wheels though.

KC 42 | PIT 37 pic.twitter.com/GP3U2oC4G9

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

It turned out it was too little, too late for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the defense failed to stop the Chiefs when it mattered most.

The loss gives the Steelers a 0-1-1 record on the season, as they now turn their attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 on Monday Night Football.

Steelers vs. Chiefs Week 2: 3rd quarter in-game update

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 2:33pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

2nd Quarter In-Game Update

Patrick Mahomes picked mimicked his performance to start the second half the same way he did the first half. The second year quarterback led the Chiefs down the field with ease and hit Travis Kelce for his fourth touchdown of the game to give Kansas City a 28-21 lead. The reception was Kelce’s second touchdown of the game.

Needing an answer, Roethlisberger and company marched down the field with ease, but instead of another Roethlisberger touchdown pass, it was James Conner hitting pay dirt on a 2nd-and-goal situation for his first touchdown of the game. Boswell made the extra point to tie the game 28-28 with 7:12 left in the third quarter.

Extra effort for his 3rd TD of the season.

PIT 28 | PIT 28 pic.twitter.com/jUGVwNgAdr

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

Mahomes had looked unstoppable all game, and that continued with Kansas City moving through the Pittsburgh offense like a hot knife through butter. The latest Chiefs’ touchdown ended with Mahomes’ 5th touchdown pass, this time to Demarcus Robinson, to give the Chiefs a 35-28 lead with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter.

The Chiefs have the football and are driving to start the 4th quarter.

Steelers vs. Chiefs, Week 2: Second-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 1:47pm

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Chiefs locking horns in Week 2. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the first game of the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Steelers vs. Chiefs Week 2: 2nd quarter in-game update

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 1:38pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

1st Quarter In-Game Update

To start the second quarter, the Steelers’ offense finally decided to start putting together a performance more reminiscent of the Pittsburgh offense most expected. Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a trio of receptions, moving the team near the red-zone, and finally found Jesse James for the team’s first score of the game.

Ben finds @JJames18_ for the score.

KC 21 | PIT 7 pic.twitter.com/qVEktw2yPH

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

After forcing Kansas City to punt for the first time in the game, Ben Roethlisberger started to claw the team back into the game on his own. Roethlisberger orchestrated an 11-play 85-yard drive which ended in a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, Boswell’s struggles continued with a missed point-after, making the score 21-13.

#JuJuOnThatTD

KC 21 | PIT 13 pic.twitter.com/9kKWdRvMmG

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 16, 2018

Getting the football with just over 3-minutes left in the half, Pittsburgh was able to move the ball into Kansas City territory after big completions to Jesse James and a defensive pass interference call on the Chiefs. With 24-seconds remaining in the half, and inside the red-zone, Roethlisberger found rookie James Washington for a touchdown to move the Steelers within two points of the Chiefs. Pittsburgh went for two, to tie the game, and Roethlisberger hit James Conner in the flat to tie the game 21-21.

The score would hold heading into halftime with the Chiefs due to get the football to start the third quarter.

Steelers vs. Chiefs Week 2: 1st quarter in-game update

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 12:47pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back, and we keep you up to date with those who aren’t able to watch the game live.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs squared off at Heinz Field in Week 2 of NFL regular season action, and the home team was looking to get the nasty taste of a Browns tie out of their mouths while the visiting team was looking to add on to their offensive output last week vs. the Chargers.

On a picturesque day, the Steelers started with the football to open the game, but were forced to punt on three-and-out. On Jordan Berry’s first action of the game, while trying to pin Tyreek Hill to the sideline, the up-man DeAndre Thomas caught the ball and tight-roped the sideline getting the Chiefs to the Steelers’ 10-yard line. Two plays later the chiefs cashed in with Patrick Mahomes finding Chris Conley in the back of the endzone for the touchdown.

Another Steelers’ three-and-out set up the Chiefs to add to their lead. Mahomes shredded the Steelers’ secondary en route to a bullet pass to Travis Kelce for the Chiefs touchdown. Before you could blink, the Chiefs were up 14-0 with 9:05 left in the first quarter.

It took until their third series, but Pittsburgh was finally able to muster a few first downs and moved into field goal range with big catches by both James Conner and Antonio Brown. However, the Chris Boswell 49-yard field goal sailed wide left keeping the score 14-0. It was Boswell’s second missed field goal of the young regular season.

With great field position after Boswell’s miss, the Chiefs weren’t about to pack up the high-flying offense. It took just a handful of plays for Kansas City to extend their lead. This time it wasn’t Kelce doing the damage, but Kareem Hunt who abused Terrell Edmunds one-on-one to give the Chiefs a 21-0 lead with 2:24 still left in the first quarter.

The Steelers have the football around mid-field to end the first quarter.

Steelers vs. Chiefs, Week 2: First-half live updates, injury news and open thread

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 11:44am

The Steelers are back on the gridiron! The 2018 regular season is here with the Steelers and Chiefs locking horns in Week 2. Keep tabs on all things Black-and-gold with our updates and open thread.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back on the field for the first game of the 2018 regular season as they prepare to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.

Throughout the game, be sure to check back here for score updates, injury news and any breaking news from those on the sidelines following the team live. You can also follow along in the Twitter feed below.

For those wondering, you can enjoy some lively commentary with the best Steelers fans across the globe in the open thread for all BTSC members in the comment section below. Let’s remember to keep it clean, respect everyone’s thoughts and ideas, and ultimately remember we’re all here for the same reason—to root on the Steelers!

So enjoy the game and be sure to follow BTSC for all the latest news surrounding the team throughout the game and afterwards!

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

Steelers Inactives: Joe Haden highlights the inactive list heading into Week 2 game vs. Chiefs

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 10:33am

Joe Haden might be the most significant name missing the game against the Chiefs on Sunday due to injury, but he is not the only one.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially confirmed their list of inactive players for Week 2 and it should come as no surprise to learn that injuries have played a significant part in deciding who to exclude for the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Inactives for #Steelers: QB Rudolph, WR Hunter, CB Haden, SS MAllen, G DeCastro, T Banner, DE Alualu

— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) September 16, 2018

After suffering a hamstring injury in Cleveland and failing to practice all week, it was always expected that Joe Haden would be inactive. The same can be said of David DeCastro who is dealing with a fractured hand that kept him out of training each day and led to him being listed as doubtful for the game on Friday, just like Haden. Coty Sensabaugh gets his chance on the gameday roster in Haden’s absence, while Matt Feiler will dress in place of DeCastro

Tyson Alualu was another name listed as doubtful in the final injury report of the week and he is also among the inactives on Sunday. L.T. Walton will get the opportunity to suit up with Alualu sidelined. With Vance McDonald finally cleared to play, he should see his first live action since January and his place on the inactive list has been taken by Justin Hunter in Week 2.

For the remainder of the names on the list, it is business as usual against Kansas City. Mason Rudolph, Zach Banner and Marcus Allen are once again inactive for the second week in a row and are likely to remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

Despite being listed on the injury report as questionable on Friday, Ben Roethlisberger, Artie Burns and Cameron Heyward are active in Week 2 all look set to play against the Chiefs.

Behind Enemy Lines: How the Steelers’ offense can exploit the Chiefs’ defense in Week 2

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 10:09am

The Pittsburgh Steelers need to get on track, and I go behind enemy lines to get the lowdown on the team’s Week 2 opponent — the Chiefs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Kansas City Chiefs to come to Heinz Field in Week 2 action, and there are a lot of talking points heading into this game.

Will Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs’ offense be able to keep up their 38-point pace this week? Is Ben Roethlisberger due for a bounce back? What are Kansas City fans predicting in this game?

To get these answers I went behind enemy lines and asked Pete Sweeney, editor of Arrowhead Pride, some questions about the upcoming game. Take a look at what the other side of the fence is thinking about the upcoming game, as well as a prediction!

For the best Steelers - Chiefs analysis, from the Kansas City side of the things, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride.

What should Steelers fans expect when it comes to the Chiefs’ offense? Always this high powered, or will they come back to earth in Week 2?

This is a tough question. Answering very literally, yes, this offense is always high-powered. But the problem with that answer is we have only seen it so far for one real week, ever (Remember, Patrick Mahomes took over for Alex Smith this year). If last week combined with the preseason is any indication, we should expect big things from Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill all season. How Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce (27 combined yards in Week 1) fit into that mix remains to be seen.

Along those same lines, the Chiefs’ defense isn’t what it once was. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this group?

The Chiefs’ front seven, in my opinion, is a strength. The defensive line, led by Chris Jones, is stout, and the Chiefs’ GM, Brett Veach, brought Anthony Hitchens on board this offseason in order to fix the run defense. On the outside, Justin Houston and Dee Ford lead the way as the Chiefs rotate in their top draft pick in Breeland Speaks. Where they struggle is in the secondary. The Chiefs’ top cornerbacks are Kendall Fuller and Steve Nelson, but there appears what could be a big drop-off with their nickel cornerback in No. 22 Orlando Scandrick. Scandrick may be in for a tough day Sunday with the Steelers’ elite receivers.

Patrick Mahomes is exciting to watch, but has he shown any “young QB” mistakes early on?

Mahomes looked very good on Sunday, and he did have some interceptions during training camp and the preseason. Through Week 1, there were a few reads he said he could have made better, but no careless mistakes that you’ll sometimes see from young quarterbacks. I think determining this one way or another is too early to tell, and Week 2 should provide some more clarity.

The Steelers have done very well against Kansas City over the years. How to Chiefs fans view the Steelers? A non-divisional rival?

I don’t know if I’d call it a rivalry, but it’s certainly a hump Chiefs fans are aware of. I don’t think this exists so much with the players. Talking with them, especially their new quarterback and so many new defensive players, they really weren’t here in recent years for the Steelers’ dominance. The fans feel this game matters more, but for these Chiefs, I really think it’s just another Sunday.

If you were a defensive coordinator, how would you slow down this Chiefs offense?

This is a tall task. In previous years, I’d say find a way to stop Travis Kelce and then go from there. But I think, in 2018, Tyreek Hill could eclipse even Kelce for the team’s most dangerous weapon. And that fact is what makes the Chiefs so hard to deal with as a team. If opposing defenses eliminate the threat of one weapon, the Chiefs have another. Hill, Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins, probably in that order. The answer probably involves getting to Patrick Mahomes as fast as you can by attacking the Chiefs’ weakest part of their offensive line at left guard.

Prediction

I took some heat last week for picking the Chargers over the Chiefs in the season opener. I was wrong, and I heard about it. But I think we learned a lot about the Chiefs in the game. For one, their offense can be very, very good this year. Not at the middle, or the end—right now. And two, the Chiefs secondary is probably as questionable as we thought it to be (the Chargers dropped two wide-open touchdowns in the first half or they might have been right there). Once again, I think the Chiefs are in for a shootout. It’s just a matter of whether or not they can manage to muster a stop or two, or simply score last. I give the Steelers the slight edge at home.

Steelers 35, Chiefs 31

Crunching The Numbers: Home Openers at Heinz Field and Ben Roethlisberger bouncing back

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 9:19am

The Steelers first game of the year in Pittsburgh and Ben’s record after a 3 INT game are both numbers to get excited about.

Welcome to our house.

Heinz Field is truly amazing for a Steelers fan. If you have never attended a game there, you need to move that item to the very top of your bucket list. Between the Lombardi trophies on display in the great hall or the feeling when the jumbotron goes black just before the stadium erupts to Renegade, it is an experience that almost can’t be described.

With a home record of 99-36-1, the Steelers hold the third highest win percentage (73.2%) of any home team in their current stadium. Only Gillette Stadium (Patriots; 83.7%) and U.S. Bank Stadium (Vikings; 76.4%) hold a higher home team win percentage.

As impressive as that is, the Steelers are even more successful in their home opening games. Since Heinz Field opened in 2001, the Steelers are 15-2 in their first contest at home each year. They are 8-1 when opening the first week of the season, and 6–1 when their first home contest comes in Week 2. The lone time the Steelers did not play at home in the first two weeks of the season was during the inaugural 2001 season when the September 11 attacks postponed the second week of the season and the Steelers did not play their next game at home until October.

For the past three seasons, the Steelers have not played at home until Week 2. In each of those games, their opponents came in to the game with a record of 1-0. The Steelers have won all three of those games by an average of 16.7 points.

Additionally, the Steelers are 12-1 in home opening games at Heinz Field that are played at 1 PM.

There are a variety of statistical trends for the Steelers in their home opener that would be wonderful to replicate:

Run! Run! Run!

All 17 victories have occurred when the team has rushed 20 or more times, and 13 of those victories came with 30 or more rushing attempts. The Steelers are 11–0 when rushing for more than 100 yards in a game, and are still 4-2 when failing to reach the century mark.

Cause-and-effect is a great question for each one of these games. Were the Steelers running the ball because they were winning or were they winning because they were running the ball? Either way, the attempts need to come.

First and Foremost

It’s all about the first half at Heinz Field in the opening game. The Steelers or 15–0 when leading or tied at half time. The only two times they have lost the home opener they trailed at the half.

Give and Take

The two losses both occurred when the Steelers were -2 in turnover ratio. They have taken care of the ball for the most part, with only two games with three turnovers or more (1-1).

D is the Key

The Steelers have never given up more than 30 points in the home opener. Outside of a loss to the Raiders in 2002 (30 points)and wins over the Browns in 2014 (27 points) and the Raiders in 2004 (21 points), The Steelers have not given up more than 18 points. The average points against in a home opener at Heinz Field for the Steelers is 13.6 points.

Bouncing back in a big way.

It’s an understatement to say that Ben Rothlisberger had a rough game last week. Three interceptions and two fumbles is the epitome of a disastrous outing. Steeler fans have realized that Ben bounces back rather quickly, and the numbers give much evidence to that statement.

In the last 10 years (2007-2018), Ben has had seven games in which he has thrown three or more interceptions. After each of those games, the Steelers are 7–0 the following week. Additionally, Ben has only thrown three interceptions TOTAL in those seven follow-up games.

It should be noted that after the game on December 19, 2011 where Ben threw three interceptions in San Francisco, he did not play the following week due to a high ankle sprain. Charlie Batch lead the team to a 27-0 victory over the Rams in Pittsburgh. Ben did start the following week, which was a victory in Cleveland 13-9.

Another game of note was when Ben started the Monday night game in Washington on November 3, 2008 which was a week after he threw four interceptions against the Giants. Ben only played in the first half of that game in Washington due to a shoulder injury, but left the game with a 10-6 halftime lead. Byron Leftwich commanded the team the rest of the way for the 23–6 win

Numbers For Victory
  • Run the ball 30 or more times for over 100 yards (this sounds very familiar).

  • Hold the halftime advantage, keeping the run game in play.

  • Bounce back by keeping turnovers to a minimum (I’m talking to you, Ben).

  • Keep the Chiefs to 17 points or less.

Between the great numbers in home openers and the tendency for Ben to play big after rough outings the week before, it’s shaping up to be a good scenario for the Steelers. But all the past numbers mean nothing when it comes time for kick off on Sunday.

NFL Picks: Predicting the winner of Steelers vs. Chiefs Week 2

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 8:20am

Will the Steelers rebounds in Week 2 at home vs. the Chiefs?

You thought the Pittsburgh Steelers had question marks heading into their Week 1 opener against the Browns? After tying Cleveland last Sunday, there might be more questions now than ever as the Kansas City Chiefs come to Heinz Field in Week 2.

Nonetheless, the threat of falling 0-1-1 should be plenty of motivation for the Steelers, and playing at home for the first time this season should be a spark plug for a struggling Ben Roethlisberger and company.

It isn’t as if the Chiefs won’t have something to say about the outcome. Patrick Mahomes, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill make up the lightning rod which is the Kansas City offense. Let’s just say if both team’s offenses are “on”, there could be more fireworks than a Zambelli fireworks.

Keeping the Vegas line in mind (Steelers -4), I see this being a close contest. If you were thinking about a low-scoring defensive affair, while I have learned to never rule such a thing out in the NFL, I would bet against it.

This game is going to come down to fundamentals. The team who protects the football, takes advantage of opportunities and turns red-zone possessions into 7-points, and not a field goal, will most likely leave with the ‘W’.

I like the Steelers’ offense, even without Bell in the backfield, vs. the Chiefs’ defense, and I even like the Pittsburgh defense, as a collective, against Mahomes and company. Throw in they are playing at home, and I do like the Steelers to win this game.

I would be stunned if it were a blowout, but I think the Steelers move their record to 1-0-1, while they turn their attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football in Week 3.

PREDICITON:

Pittsburgh — 31
Kansas City — 27

2018 NFL Distribution Map: Will you get to see Steelers vs. Chiefs in Week 2?

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 7:18am

Find out if you’ll get to see Steelers vs. Chiefs in the comfort of your own home.

If you were like me before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package, each week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were any websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy scroll through the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to play — but now it’s just a click away.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports.

[Steelers fans: Sign up for FanPulse, our weekly Steelers survey]

The Steelers vs. Chiefs matchup is the RED portion of the map.

If you’re curious about the other matchups, they’re as follows:

BLUE - Dolphins at Jets
GREEN - Texans at Titans
YELLOW - Colts at Redskins
ORANGE - Chargers at Bills
GREY - No game due to local game on FOX

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!

HERE WE GO!!

Steelers Film Room: Ryan Switzer’s return ability was on display in Week 1

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 6:16am

The Pittsburgh Steelers might have finally found their return man in Ryan Switzer.

Ryan Switzer had to call a moving company for the second time in less than four months due to being traded twice during the offseason. The former North Carolina Tarheel was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in 2017 and then traded to the Oakland Raiders this past April. Switzer didn’t last long on the Raiders’ roster as he was traded on August 27 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The trade was a 2019 fifth-rounder from Pittsburgh in exchange for Switzer and a 2019 sixth-rounder. In a perfect scenario, the Steelers would pick No. 32 and the Raiders No. 1 in the sixth round.

The Steelers have used a smattering of players on both kick and punt returns the past few years, with limited success. The knee-jerk reaction after one game — the solution is Switzer.

Steelers fans have been clamoring for the team to relieve wideout Antonio Brown from his punt-return duties. Brown, a once talented punt returner, has seen his productivity decline. (I opined about this two years ago.) During this past preseason, Pittsburgh tried out two camp bodies along with cornerback Cameron Sutton in hopes one of them would take the job and flourish. Sutton’s shot at punt-return duties ended against the Tennessee Titans when he fumbled a return. None of the camp bodies shined. The Steelers’ 2017 primary punt returner, Eli Rogers (PUP list) is still recovering from a torn ACL and is unavailable — forcing the Steelers to look elsewhere.

Over the past two seasons, the Black-and-gold used seven different kick returners — only JuJu Smith-Schuster remains on the roster. While JuJu was effective in 2017 (26.7 YPR), the Steelers seem to prefer keeping him strictly on offense and handing the kick-return duties to another player. Steelers fans hope that this never-ending carousel ends with Switzer.

Video evidence shows that Switzer just might be the remedy the Steelers have been searching for.

Switzer’s first punt return had Steelers fans on their feet cheering with a 22-yard effort.

The third punt he returned was only for four yards but, due to his eagerness and not letting the ball bounce — this ensured the Steelers better field position.

This punt shows Switzer flipping field position with the Browns. Britton Colquitt boots a punt 45 yards but Switzer returns it for 20 to the Cleveland 39.

Was it the rush against Colquitt or the presence of Switzer that led to a brutal 29-yard shank deep into overtime?

Two of his kickoff returns show his elusiveness but also his field vision where others failed.

Switzer’s 4.51 speed won’t exactly blow the doors off of opponents. But pairing that with his vision and sure-handedness — the Steelers have the makings of the returner they’ve been searching for. So far in this young season, Switzer is seventh in punt return average (11.2 yards) and tenth in kickoffs average (23 yards). Will Switzer be able to maintain or build on those numbers? Steelers Nation remains cautiously optimistic.

Steelers will be fine at RG if David DeCastro’s broken hand keeps him out vs. the Chiefs

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 5:19am

No David DeCastro against the Chiefs? No problem.

You know a unit has attained an impressive pedigree backed by coaching and player development when you see a Week-2 injury report that includes a Hall of Fame quarterback, a highly-touted cornerback and a right guard (who might be the very best in the business), but the player you’re least worried about is the right guard.

The unit I’m talking about is the Steelers’ offensive line, a line that has produced multiple Pro Bowl players and is coached by a Hall of Famer.

Mike Munchak is the coach of the Steelers’ offensive line, and because of his recent history of developing players of lesser pedigrees, I’m not really all that worried about Pro Bowl guard, David DeCastro, possibly missing this Sunday’s game against the Chiefs at Heinz Field with a hand fracture.

History tells me I shouldn’t worry, and that’s because of guys like Alejandro Villanueva, an undrafted free agent who played tight end in college and began his pro career on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage, before being transformed into a Pro Bowl Left Tackle under Munchak’s watch. Chris Hubbard, another UDFA who started 14 games at Right Tackle during the previous two seasons and did so well, the Browns paid him big money to sign as a free agent this past offseason. For the purposes of this article, B.J. Finney is yet another UDFA who, if he gets the start against the Chiefs on Sunday, will be doing so for a third-straight season. Only this time, Finney will be switching positions and taking over for DeCastro at Right Guard, instead of for Ramon Foster on the left side.

Two seasons ago, Finney filled in for Foster against Kansas City, and the Steelers rushed for 149 yards in a 43-14 victory at Heinz Field. Last year, Finney again started against the Chiefs, and Pittsburgh rushed for 194 yards in a 19-13 triumph at Arrowhead Stadium.

To be fair, Finney and Company were paving the way for Le’Veon Bell and not James Conner, who’s slated to make his second-straight start in the wake of Bell’s continued holdout. But Pittsburgh’s offensive line has obviously proven to be problematic for the Chiefs’ front-seven in recent matchups.

Will that mastery of the line of scrimmage continue this Sunday if DeCastro — who may now be carrying the torch as the Steelers’ best offensive lineman — isn’t around?

I’m comfortable saying it will.

Finney, who has also started games at center, seems destined to take over next season for Foster, whose contract is up after 2018. If there’s enough confidence in Finney to start a whole season at Left Guard, that confidence shouldn’t wane in the face of him starting one game at Right Guard.

Speaking of next season, if Matt Feiler has to fill in for an injured B.J. Finney in a game or two, my confidence would still be fairly high.

Heck, if Chukwuma Okorafor, the rookie Swing Tackle out of Western Michigan, has to start some games this season in-place of Villanueva or Marcus Gilbert, I’d be more than optimistic he’d get the job done.

This is what having the very best in the business does for a fan.

I’m not talking about David DeCastro. I’m talking about Mike Munchak.

Missing Ben Roethlisberger might have been a problem against the Chiefs, but missing Joe Haden could still prove to be a problem against Kansas City. But the Steelers’ offensive line won’t miss a beat with B.J. Finney starting at Right Guard.

Six Steelers’ Slobberknockers for Week 2: A half-dozen questions for BTSC fans to discuss

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 4:14am

As the Steelers and Chiefs square-off in Week 2, will a banged-up Steelers’ defense be able to survive a vaunted Chiefs’ offense?

What the heck is a “slobberknocker?” In football terms, it’s a hit that, well, knocks the slobber right out of the other player’s mouth. I’ll be posing six hard-hitting questions to BTSC fans every game-day morning during the 2018 regular season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers play their first home game later today, tangling with the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field. It’s an opportunity for the Steelers to redeem themselves following a rain-soaked tie in Cleveland which the Black-and-gold somehow allowed to slip out of the win column. And BTSC fans will be watching every move and holding the home team accountable because they’re not your run-of-the-mill Steelers’ fans, but a cut above. As such, they crave more in-depth commentary.

Q1: With Right Guard David DeCastro sitting out Sunday with a broken hand, will his absence be felt more in the running game or passing game?

Q2: With Haden all but ruled out, should an injured Artie Burns move to the Left Cornerback position (this might be null and void with Burns’ availability also being in question)?

Q3: If neither Burns nor Haden is available to play, who will have a better game — Cameron Sutton or Coty Sensabaugh? Should the Steelers move Mike Hilton out of the slot to man one of the outside positions?

Q4: Can James Conner repeat his outstanding stat output from Week 1 against a Chiefs’ defense that was gashed for 123 rushing yards in Week 1? Will his surprising use in the passing game continue?

Q5: What changes will the Steelers make to give Ben Roethlisberger a cleaner pocket after a disastrous Week 1?

Q6: After the Chiefs gave up more than 400 passing yards last week, who will have more receiving yards, Antonio Brown or JuJu Smith-Schuster (for those not keeping score at home, JuJu outpaced AB 119-93 in Week 1)?

The disappointing tie against the Cleveland Browns hardly looked like the start of a championship run that Steelers fans wanted to see. Time to file those memories away and focus on the road ahead, as the Steelers look to continue their dominance over the Chiefs. Pittsburgh has won six of the last seven meetings including three out of the last four. Will the BTSC boards be saturated with joyous fans or disgruntled and panicky ones later today?

Random Thoughts From a Black-and-Gold Mind: Exceptionalism and Necessary Roughness edition

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 2:56pm

BTSC’s resident nut job shares with you, the reader, the contents of his cranium leading up to the Steelers Week 2 home opener.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off of a disappointing 21-21 tie with the Cleveland Browns, my black-and-gold brain is suffering from saturation of insanity. Like always, I pass the ravings on to all of you. But first, I must beg those I have offended for a pasture of pardons for the following transgressions.

  • Comparing the rookie salary cap to After M*A*S*H* and the McDLT
  • The mention of other possible marinara sauce nicknames for anybody other than Ramon Foster
  • Dreaming up bizarre attractions at the forthcoming Steeler Experience at Kennywood Park
  • Making fun of my wife
  • Making fun of my ex-wife
  • Poking at the Madden Cover Jinx
  • Lying about not believing in jinxes
  • Suggesting trading a TE to the Chargers
  • Anybody like me who paid money for a Martavis Bryant jersey
  • The Lovin’ Spoonfull
  • Mitch Lyons

And now now the most recent edition of Random Thoughts From a Black-and-Gold Mind.

  • Before I get started, I just recently lost my Twitter virginity (I know March isn’t that recent). Just like in my real life experiences, I must not be doing it right. Nobody is gentle and hardly anybody wants to partake in it with me. I have 14 followers. Please follow me @btscbad. (Jeez, I think Charles Manson had an easier time getting followers back in the 60s and the only thing I’m killing is the art of punctuation). If I can get up to 300 followers by next week, I’ll pick one of my new “minyinz” randomly and give them a legitimate prize. Wow! I didn’t come off this desperate in high school.
  • In Cleveland, the tie is equivalent to a win. In the Steel City, not so much. It’s like the scene in 1991’s Necessary Roughness when the Texas State Armadillos gleefully celebrated a last-minute tie while the Kansas Jayhawks all endured the trauma and humiliation of tying an 0-9 team that just suffered football’s death penalty.
  • One of our podcast callers on “The Steelers Hangover” mentioned he was in a sports bar in Georgia and the usually pro-Steeler crowd had a lot less black-and-gold enthusiasm than usual and seemed more to be rooting for Cleveland. It could be the exposure of orange-and-brown on HBO’s Hard Knocks or maybe the general public outside of Pittsburgh is siding more with Lev Bell.
  • The Steelers need to not overuse James Conner as a “thumb-to-the-nose” in the direction of their missing, nightclub-dwelling RB. I’m afraid they are trying entirely too hard to get Conner stats to send a message to Le’Veon Bell that he’s easily replaced. Much like the episode of Family Ties when Michael J. Fox convinced Gina Davis to be his date to make his ex jealous...or something like that. Stevan Ridley is there. Give him some reps.
  • Speaking of Bell, It seems like a divorce of epic proportions at this point. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner seemed less acrimonious in 1990’s The War of the Roses. I don’t expect to see No. 26 until Week 10, and I don’t know how much I’d even bet on that at this point.
  • Maybe in the same manner that the QB sneak was done because of Todd Haley’s existence on the home sideline.
  • I’m a huge fan of Antonio Brown, but I could do without his threatening people over social media. I agree with the annoyance. I abhor how people hide behind their keyboards criticize whatever they darn well please with the firewall of distance protecting them. My policy is to only type what I’d be brave enough to say to someone’s face. Not too many others do. If I were face to face with No. 84, I’d say “You are AB...you’re better than that kind of response to the haters.”
  • Brown did issue an apology, so that’s good. But his comments afterward were laced with the word “exceptionalism” to describe himself. Vince Williams proclaimed “exceptionalism” to be the word of the day in a tweet on Friday.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster had a Fan Huddle on Steelers Nation Unite on Friday. Once again, he was amazing with the fans and soon will become the face of the franchise. JJSS talked his friendship with James Conner, new end zone celebrations upcoming, his dog Boujee and his love for being a Steeler and wanting to retire as one. But please, can somebody please explain to me what “lit” means. Like Hall and Oates, I’m clearly Out Of Touch.
  • Speaking of James Conner, I’m at a loss describing his hair cut. He kind of looks like an extra from the original Road Warrior meets Bruno Mars. I do kind of like it though. I couldn’t pull it off, but James makes it work.
  • Even though T.J. Watt lost half a sack this week to Javon Hargrave, his 3.5 QB takedowns make me think that No. 90 could be in the hunt for the 2018 sackmaster title.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
  • Cam Heyward’s comment to Artie Burns regarding No. 25’s altercation with Todd Haley was classic. Cam recounted the conversation on WDVE this week. “Look Artie, Todd has been thrown out of lots of places, but he isn’t getting thrown out of the stadium”. Pretty funny advice.
  • Just read two pretty good NFL books. Although it’s about the quarterback of the hated Patriots, I found 12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge to be a pretty interesting read. It didn’t really change my perception of Tom, but it made me think a whole lot more than I expected about inconsistencies presented by the NFL. I also got to read Doug Peterson’s memoir, Fearless: How an Underdog Became a Champion. I instantly became a fan of the Eagle’s coach and Super Bowl Champion. I felt like it was a blueprint and a teaching manual for winning football, instead of a book of brags. Check them both out.
  • Four Steelers Bill Cowher, Thomas Everett, Hines Ward and Alan Faneca are Hall of Fame finalists. Who goes in first? Who deserves to go in first?

And finally...

  • I wonder what Scott Campbell is doing these days.

That’s all for me. As you ponder the significance of anything you read here today, keep in mind the lyrics of the aforementioned last number one single of the great career of Hall and Oates.

Shake it up is all that we know

Using the bodies up as we go

I’m waking up to fantasy

The shades all around aren’t the colors we used to see

Broken ice still melts in the sun

And times that are broken can often be one again

We’re soul alone

And soul really matters to me

Take a look around

You’re out of touch

I’m out of time

But I’m out of my head when you’re not around

Take that for what it’s worth, Go Steelers and Don’t Stop Shalievin’.

Predicting the Steelers Week 2 inactive list vs. the Chiefs

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 1:57pm

Injuries will be the main factor behind who dresses for the home opener.

As the season gets rolling, the injury report will be a driving factor behind what players will make up the seven-man inactive list. Here is the official game status for Sunday:

Game Status

Doubtful:

CB Joe Haden (Hamstring)

G David DeCastro (Hand)

DE Tyson Alualu (Shoulder)

Questionable:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (Elbow)

CB Artie Burns (Toe)

TE Vance McDonald (Foot)

DE Cam Heyward (Knee)

Here are the candidates to end up inactive for Week 2:

Definitely:

This section is reserved for players that have been ruled out. As of Friday, no players carry that designation.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- the only way that Rudolph gets helmet is if Ben is unable to play.

OT Zach Banner- last week showed us that the Steelers only plan on dressing seven offensive linemen unless there is a special circumstance. Until injuries mount up, Banner will continue to develop in practice only.

CB Joe Hayden- after leaving the game early last week and failing to practice at all for this week, I’m surprised Hayden wasn’t already ruled out. It would be super-shocking if he is active on game day so Coty Sensabaugh should move back into the rotation.

DE Tyson Alualu- with a doubtful designation and being limited in practice on Friday, it looks as if Alualu will be held out of the game and LT Walton will get the helmet instead.

S Marcus Allen- he was the odd man out at safety last week and all the remaining players ahead of him are still healthy.

Possibly:

G David DeCastro or Matt Feiler- out of all the players that are listed as doubtful, DeCastro has the best chance of playing. It all comes down to if the swelling in his hand decreases enough for them to put on a cast. If he can’t go, Feiler will take the backup role as Finney would move into the starting lineup.

WR Justin Hunter, WR James Washington, or TE Xavier Grimble- with the return of Vance McDonald, there is an extra receiver position that the team will most likely not be able to carry. Do they roll with only two TE’s like last week or do they not need six WR’s?

Unlikely:

QB Ben Roethlisberger- he was a full participant practice on Friday. Unless he has a setback, I don’t think that he will miss this game.

DE Cam Heyward- he was a full participant both Thursday and Friday. It would be a surprise to see him inactive on Sunday.

TE Vance McDonald- I’m not sure why he’s even on the status list. He was a full participant all week and appears to have had no setbacks.

CB Artie Burns- he was a late addition to the injury report after being limited on Friday with a toe. But with Joe Haden most likely not being able to go, it would take a lot to keep him out of the game.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Mason Rudolph
  2. Zach Banner
  3. Joe Hayden
  4. Tyson Alualu
  5. David DeCastro
  6. Marcus Allen
  7. Justin Hunter

I have all players that are doubtful as not playing while all questionable players dress for the game. When it came to who to sit in place of Vance McDonald, I really hope it’s Justin Hunter. James Washington should have his role increasing by the week and Hunter just doesn’t bring much versatility or combativeness.

Feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

Steelers vs. Chiefs: Previewing how the teams match up in Week 2

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 12:18pm

A look into the Steelers' key Week-2 matchup against the Chiefs

The Steelers are coming off a rather disappointing tie against the Cleveland Browns. They have to bounce back and get a big win in Week 2, considering their schedule gets considerably harder as the season drags on. With the Bengals now at 2-0, the Steelers need to gain a win to get early position in the division. Thus, with a young, upstart Chiefs team coming to town, the Black-and-gold need to be ready.

Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes is a young gunslinger who reminds me a ton of Brett Favre with his arm and do-or-die tactics. For a second-year QB, Mahomes looked very comfortable against the Los Angeles Chargers last week. He had a great game and was slinging the ball around with ease. He's a rare breed of being a great deep passer as well as being extremely accurate. If that wasn't enough alone, the guy is mobile and can scramble at will. Tyrod Taylor gave the Steelers fits on the ground last week, so that will be an aspect to watch for the Steelers. Needless to say, he's only played two games, but the young Mahomes looks like a future superstar. Coming out of the Draft, I was very high on him, and so was resident Behind the Steel Curtain draft analyst Nick Martin. He will immediately test this secondary’s ability to defend the deep ball.

As for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger is coming off of one of the worst games of his career. He almost single-handedly caused the tie with the Browns by coughing up the ball five times, with three of those being interceptions. He's missed a good portion of the week with an elbow injury, but I believe he will play and be just fine. Usually after Ben as a bad game, he finds some way to miraculously bounce back. I'm expecting a big game from No. 7, but if he doesn't play, I'm not that confident in Joshua Dobbs. I supported the decision to keep him over Landry Jones, but it's simply undeniable that Dobbs isn't ready to start a game against an upper-tier team and lead the Steelers to a win. If Dobbs plays, he'll have to be much more of a game manager, but considering the team they're facing, he'll also have to be a gunslinger and create big plays.

Advantage: Steelers, if Ben plays.

Skill Positions

The Chiefs trot out one of the most dangerous arsenals of weapons in the NFL. Led by stud speedster Tyreek Hill, this team might have the deadliest vertical passing game in the league. Hill himself could have a huge day with both Steelers corners injured heading into Sunday. Hill is no longer just a one-trick pony either. He showed in Week 1 that he can run a variety of other routes, and that's a huge difference from the previous years where Hill had little semblance of a route tree. His companion on the other side is Sammy Watkins. Watkins wasn't worth the $16 million it took to sign him, but that doesn't mean he's not a threat. Watkins is speedy as well and can be fleshed out into the slot in a variety of exotic looks. If Artie Burns plays, Cam Sutton likely has to slow down Watkins, Sutton is likely up to the task, but Watkins is good enough to get his catches. Chris Conley and DeMarcus Robinson are excellent depth receivers if they decide to look the football in. Robinson, in particular, has a bad case of the dropsies.

But that's not the end of it, as borderline Top-5 running back Kareem Hunt patrols the backfield. The Steelers shut him down in Week 6 of last year, but Ryan Shazier was a huge part of that effort. Hunt is speedy and agile and he'll make you miss if you don't tackle well enough. For Pittsburgh's sake, Jon Bostic is going to need to have a good game on run-defense. Mahomes won't check it down very often, but Hunt is a huge threat in the receiving game too. On top of all that, Travis Kelce is one of the biggest mismatches in the game at Tight End. If there's one Chief who has diced the Steelers, Kelce is the guy. Rookie Terrell Edmunds will be tasked with stopping him. Edmunds played lockdown against David Njoku last week, so a similar performance would be great.

As for the Steelers, James Conner is coming off of an impressive Week-1 performance. Given his solid performance in all facets, I expect much the same against a pretty weak run defense that the Chiefs employ. Stevan Ridley is likely to get in on the action too. Randy Fichtner alluded to that when he mentioned he made a mistake in not getting him on to the field last week. Finally, Vance McDonald will be returning -- a big piece of the offense the Steelers will have back. McDonald will be great from the slot and on passing downs, he should give Roethlisberger a great safe option. Jesse James will likely get in on the action too, and he'll be the normal, solid Jesse James. He will never wow you, but he does his job.

Now if you thought the Chiefs receivers were good, welcome to the Steelers' receiving core. With the best receiver in the game in Antonio Brown and a future star in JuJu Smith-Schuster, expect the Steelers to have a huge game through the air. The Chiefs do not have a corner capable of handling either of them, and hopefully James Washington also gets more playing time this week. I wonder if his lack of snaps last week was due to the wet weather, and since Washington is mainly a vertical receiver, it's possible that's why he didn't play much. However, Washington is a great tool for a matchup like this, and he should get ample opportunities to show what he can do.

Advantage: Chiefs, but not by much

The Trenches

The Chiefs' offensive line doesn't scream great, but it's solid. Eric Fisher is a good Left Tackle and will test Bud Dupree. While Mitchell Schwartz is good, T.J. Wattis likely to get a few pressures because he's taken a leap this season. Mitch Morse and Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff are good players on the inside of the line, but I have questions as to whether they can match up against the elite defensive line of the Steelers. As for Cam Erving, he's very bad. He was terrible last week, giving up four pressures and, unfortunately for him, he sees Cameron Heyward this week. That's not what he wanted to see, I'm sure.

As for the Steelers, they'll likely be missing David DeCastro as he recovers from a fractured hand. However, with B.J. Finney as an adequate backup, I am not too worried by the injury. DeCastro should be back for the duel with Tampa Bay in Week 3 and Finney is a starter-level linemen who happens to be our main backup at three positions. Alejandro Villanueva faced Myles Garrett last week and, reviewing the tape, I couldn't blame him too much. Garrett was just that good. Bad news is he sees Justin Houston this week. Houston is an elite pass rusher, so Villanueva will once again be tested. Maurkice Pouncey is coming off of an impressive performance. For some reason, PFF ranked him as the 31st best Center last week, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Ramon Foster will have his lapses, but he'll do what's required of him. Marcus Gilbert must bounce back this week, but he faces meme-level player Dee Ford.

Good luck defending this guy, Marcus.

As for the defensive line, the Steelers employ Cam Heyward, Javon Hargrave, and Stephon Tuitt. These guys terrorized the Cleveland offensive line last week and I expect somewhat of a similar performance. These guys are great and make this defense so much better.

For the Chiefs, Chris Jones is streaky, but when he's on, the guy is a great player. He has an inconsistent streak in him, so he will have his great plays but sometimes goes silent. Xavier Williams is an under-the-radar player, and while he's very strong, he's not a 3-down defensive linemen. I worry about his ability to hold his gap, which Derrick Nnadi can do, but he fails to shed blocks well enough to capitalize off of that. Allen Bailey will be a nice task for Ramon Foster, but Foster is a superior player. Bailey loses his leverage too often and Foster is a great leverage player.

Advantage: Steelers

Linebackers

Since both of these teams run a 3-4, it's natural to put both the outside and inside linebackers in the linebackers category.

As mentioned earlier, Justin Houston is a monster and will give any offense trouble. Lets just hope it's not nearly as bad as it was last week, as Ben Roethlisberger will need time to take shots down the field. He rotates with Tanoh Kpassagon, who in his second year is turning out to be a really nice edge player. He's better than Dee Ford, I can assure you of that. He has some nice bend to him and he's very athletic, so he'll give you some speed rush off the edge. Speaking of Dee Ford, the guy had a good game last week, but overall has been rather bad. His lack of awareness really holds him back and he often fails to get pressure. He's a huge weak link on this defense. Rookie Breeland Speaks is promising, but he should be playing inside.

As for the Steelers, T.J. Watt seems to have taken a leap from good rookie to great player. Watt had the best game of his career and likely the best game out of any defensive player last week. I haven't seen a dominant performance like that since the days of prime James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. Watt will get his opportunities this week too. As for Bud Dupree, he may go back to being stonewalled. He got eight pressures last week, four of which were unblocked via PFF. But this week I have questions about whether he can beat Eric Fisher. Fisher plays with good leverage, which is something Dupree lacks.

At inside linebacker, the Chiefs recently signed Anthony Hitchens and return Reggie Ragland, who combine to create a great run-stopping duo in the middle. However, their coverage is suspect to say the least. The middle will be exploitable throughout the game, and Randy Fichtner will likely recognize it as such, so expect the Steelers take shots on crossers over the middle.

For the Steelers, Jon Bostic is coming off of one of the best games in his career. He was that good last week. Bostic had a great game in all areas, and if his coverage skills are like that every week, the ILB situation might be solved. Vince Williams had a bit of an inconsistent game, missing three tackles and taking some poor angles. However, he also had seven tackles for a loss. Williams will need to be consistent against the likes of Kareem Hunt.

Advantage: Chiefs, only because of Justin Houston

Secondary

I don't know where to start here. Right now, this is a mess of two secondaries missing their leaders. The Steelers will be without Joe Haden and the Chiefs without Eric Berry. However, if the Steelers are also without Artie Burns, things could go awry, very fast.

The Steelers need Burns because he's the only true CB on the team, Haden included, that has the length and speed to keep up with Tyreek Hill. If Burns plays, and I expect him to try and tough it out with his toe injury, this changes as a whole. Mike Hilton will man the slot and slow down anyone who comes in there, so I don't have much of a concern about the slot as a whole. Cam Sutton has to be physical to bump Sammy Watkins off his game this week. Watkins’ weakness is contact at the line, but Sutton has never been a great man-coverage cornerback. If Sensabaugh starts, pray that he's competent, because, if not, it could be a long day.

As for the safeties, Sean Davis comes off of one of the best games of his career in his first start at FS. I expect the Steelers to employ lots of deep zones to keep Hill in check and Davis will be in full command of those deep zones. It very well could be man-coverage for everyone outside of Davis. Terrell Edmunds has a shot to face an elite TE and prove he can slow him down. Kelce will get his catches in, but if Edmunds can slow him down, it'll help a ton. Morgan Burnett will be used in his dual SS-ILB role and will be key to stopping Kareem Hunt. I believe Burnett has the capability to do that as well with his physicality and lateral speed.

The Chiefs have one true CB in Kendall Fuller. Fuller, who was traded from Washington, has the task of dealing with Antonio Brown. But even for a good CB like Fuller, that's a tall task. Orlando Scandrick is burnt toast, and while Steven Nelson is better, he's not that much better. Hence, Washington and JuJu will get their catches this week.

At safety, Ron Parker and Eric Murray make up an underwhelming duo. In Week 1, Phillip Rivers carved up these two, as receivers got behind them consistently. While Parker is good against the run, his coverage is simply underwhelming.

Even with the injuries, the Steelers have a wide advantage at safety, but the corners worry me. It's almost two bad secondaries against one another, but if Burns plays, the Steelers win this far and away.

Advantage: Steelers

Player to Watch: Cam Sutton

No player has more to prove on Sunday than Cam Sutton. He had a rough game when he came in last week, but if he shows that he can shut down Sammy Watkins or even slow down Tyreek Hill, that'll be a huge confidence booster. Sutton plays better in the slot, but if Sutton can show the ability to slow down these receivers, he could find himself as the true heir to Joe Haden at CB.

Matchup to Watch: Travis Kelce vs. Terrell Edmunds

Tyreek Hill might be the most dangerous player on the KC offense, but Kelce is the chain mover. If you cannot stop Kelce, you likely will not stop Hill and Hunt. This offense, at its focal point, runs through Travis Kelce. If Edmunds can slow him down, the Steelers’ chances instantly increase to win the game. If the Steelers exploit the Chiefs defense like they should, this matchup becomes the key to a few key stops for the Steelers defense.

Prediction

The injuries make this game so much more unpredictable, and I truly don't know which Ben Roethlisberger will show up, but I'm confident in the Steelers' offense to get points on the board. If Burns plays, the Steelers' defense will get a few stops. Due to that, plus the Steelers playing at home, I'm giving the Steelers the advantage in the game, albeit, a close one.

Prediction: Steelers win 35-31

Expert Picks: Predicting who will win the Steelers vs. Chiefs Week 2 game

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 10:48am

Time to check in to see who the experts like in this big Week 2 AFC matchup.

So, Week 1 didn’t go as planned for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. In a week when all fans, and almost all experts, picked the Steelers to start 1-0 after playing the Cleveland Browns on the road, no one was right.

After a tie, and a 6 turnover performance, no one really knows what to expect from the black-and-gold as the Kansas City Chiefs come to town. Las Vegas has the Steelers giving the Chiefs 4.5-points while playing at Heinz Field for the first time in 2018.

So, who do the experts think will win on Sunday in the Steel City? Will the Steelers claim their first victory of the season? Or will the Chiefs roll to a 2-0 record?

Time to check who the experts like...

For whatever reason, the experts seem to be leaning a bit towards the home team, but it isn’t a large majority in favor of the black-and-gold over Patrick Mahomes and the boys. At ESPN, 6 of the 10 experts who submit weekly picks likes the Steelers to hold serve at home.

A similar story can be told at SB Nation, where 4 of the 7 NFL experts who make weekly picks believe the Steelers will get their first win over the Chiefs at Heinz Field.

If you are looking for a site which is the most pro-Steelers, then look to CBS Sports where 6 of the 8 experts have the Steelers winning at home in Week 2.

Some of you might be wondering about all the other experts, and websites, which produce weekly picks. Who are they taking in the game? This is where our friends at NFL Pick Watch come in. NFL Pick Watch is a website which takes all of the internet picks and compiles them into an easy-to-read graph. According to them, 71-percent of NFL experts like the Steelers in this AFC grudge match.

Experts have been wrong before, and only time will tell if their picks will come to fruition, but the early signs are both Vegas and NFL experts like the black-and-gold at home this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

College Game Day: Steelers Draft Prospects and Open Thread

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 10:35am

The Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Horned Frogs in Arlington.

Welcome to week 3 of the college football season. This week’s Top 25 match ups are listed below.

No. 4 Ohio St. vs No. 15 TCU in Arlington at 8:00pm on ABC

No. 12 LSU at No. 7 Auburn at 3:30pm on CBS

No. 17 Boise St. at No. 24 Oklahoma St. at 3:30pm on ESPN

Taking a look at the weekly college schedule in an effort to give you your money’s worth for possible draft picks in the 2019 season. In other words, what games give you the best chance to check out the most draft-able players for the Steelers. I will attempt to give you something different each week but some teams will more than likely appear a few times and rightfully so.

This weeks highlight game:

No. 4 Ohio St. vs No. 15 TCU in Arlington at 8:00pm on ABC

Ohio St.

Isaiah Prince #59 OL 6’7” 310lbs

Mike Weber #25 RB 5’10 214lbs

Parris Campbell #21 W 6’1” 208lbs

K.J. Hill #14 WR 6’ 198lbs

Johnnie Dixon #1 WR 5’11 198lbs

Nick Bosa #97 Edge 6’4” 263lbs

Dre’Mont Jones #86 DL 6’3” 286lbs

Dante Booker #33 ILB 6’3” 235lbs

Damon Arnette #3 CB 6’ 195lbs

Kendall Sheffield #8 CB 6’ 193lbs

TCU

Kavontae Turpin #25 WR 5’9” 157lbs

Ben Banogu #15 Edge/OLB 6’4”249lbs

Ty Summers #42 LB 6’2” 235lbs

Sewo Olonilua #33 RB 6”3’ 231lbs

Jeff Gladney #12 CB 6’ 183lbs

Niko Small #2 S 5’10” 183lbs

LJ Collier #91 DE 6’4” 276lbs

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