Here are some initial thoughts, questions, and predictions for this weeks game vs. the Saints
To start with some thoughts:
I am generally concerned with health this early in the season. With Smith gone, the Dline could suffer. We have heard a lot about Ziggy Hood needing to step up but I also think the other Dlinemen need to step up in Smith's absence (Hampton, Hoke, Kiesel). It will take a group effort to replace Smith. Another concern is Woodley's health. If he can't go, Tomlin said Timmons will be moved to OLB and Foote will replace him at ILB. This is interesting and could be important for Timmons. If he does well and the STeelers don't resign Woodley, what will Timmons do next year?
Predicted stats and scores are bold
Questions on the game
1. Will Reggie Bush play?
I don't think so because it will be too risky to put him in vs. this defense
2. Will Brees bounce back?
I think to some extent. I expect 25 for 39 with 240 yds 2tds and 2 ints. So it will be better than last week but still not Brees-like.
3. How will Ziggy Hood play?
I think Hood shows why we drafted him with our first pick overall last year. I think he has 5 tackles and a sack and starts to show that he is the future at end for the Steelers
4. Will Flozell's prescence help Mendy?
I think the running game suffered last week when Adams went out. With him back I expect a return to greatness for Mendy. 23 carries, 110 yds, 1td.
Redman gets 7 carries, 40yds, 1td.
5. What will Big Ben do? Will he avoid TO's?
I think Big Ben continues to throw the ball great. I expect 22 for 30 for 310yds and 2tds, with no INT's, and no fumbles.
6. Will the defense force TO's?
I expect the D to force a couple TO's. I expect 1 int from Troy, 1 strip sack from Deebo recovered by Hampton, and 1 int from another player (Timmons or Farrior)
7. Will the defense be able to pressure Brees?
I think they won't have many problems with this. I expect 4 to 5 sacks with a lot of hits and pressures as well.
8. How many rushing yards will the Saints amass?
I think about 50 yds on 20 carries with an average of 2.5yds/carry.
9. How many points will the Steelers score?
34. 4td's and 2fg's.
10. What will the final score be?
34 to 24 Steelers win in the Big Easy.
11. Your thoughts.