Is this Sunday's game a trap for the Steelers?
On the one hand, this looks like a classic trap. The Bucs, setting aside the surprisingly fast start of two wins (albeit against weak teams), are the weak team that trapped teams often overlook. The Ravens come to Pittsburgh the following week, creating a big temptation to look beyond the current opponent. The lack of a starting-caliber QB and further injury on the OL (Essex) makes the game closer than it normally would be. The Bucs are much better this year than their '09 record would indicate. And, finally, the heat...
On the other hand, last year's collapse has produced the biggest chip on the shoulders of the Steelers' defense that one could possibly carry. The lack of offensive production makes every game against any opponent above high school level a respected challenge for Hines Ward and company. MT seems to be taking this season very personally--perhaps after embarrassing himself following the "unleash hell" comment last year--so that world-class motivator likely isn't overlooking his old team as a threat. Finally, teams that win the way the Steelers did last weak, in 105 heat, in black jerseys, against a mirror-image aggressive force in the Titans, typically do not have mental let-downs. They might be hurting and tired, but they usually don't phone it in.