As the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to search for their first victory of the 2015 preseason, the Green Bay Packers will be heading to Heinz Field to continue their preparation for the regular season. With the Steelers playing their third preseason game, and the Packers their second, you will see the starters for longer than fans saw last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here is what to watch for when the Steelers host the Packers on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Big Ben and the boys
It didn't take the Steelers' starting offense long to make an impression last game. In fact, just around 3 minutes is all it took for the team to drive 80-yards in just six plays. The starting offense will see more playing time against the Packers, and should open up more of the playbook in their second game seeing the playing field. Not all drives will be as easy and crisp as their lone drive against the Jaguars, but it is safe to say the offense will have fans on the edge of their seats every time they take the field.
Here comes Bruce
No, I'm not talking about Bruce Springsteen, but rather Bruce Gradkowski. Gradkowski is slated to be the primary backup, where he has spent the past two seasons. After spending the majority of training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list with a shoulder injury, Gradkowski looks to make his 2015 debut against the Packers when Roethlisberger calls it a night. How much rust will Gradkowski show? Certainly something to watch as fans have been forced to watch plenty of Landry Jones that past two games.
A little pressure never hurt
The Steelers aren't facing the Jaguars and Blake Bortles this week. No, they are facing league MVP Aaron Rodgers and the stellar Packers offense. A tough test for any defense, but especially the Steelers who have been rather uninspiring throughout the current preseason. Will the Steelers be able to win their one-on-one matchups and pressure Rodgers and company? It will be something to keep an eye on, but would also give a boost of confidence for a unit which could certainly use some swagger.
Secondary's time to shine
Steelers players know what fans say about their team, and that certainly could be said about the team's secondary. They are trying to improve upon a mediocre 2014 and what better way to prove Cortez Allen, William Gay, Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin will be an improvement over the 2014 version than showing up big against the league's most prolific passer and aerial attack. The team's secondary should have plenty of practice going against elite passing attacks as they have to face the Steelers' unit every day in practice, but carrying it over to games will be worth watching Sunday.
Welcome to Heinz Field Mr. Hartley
The Steelers signed Garrett Hartley when Shaun Suisham was lost for the year with a torn ACL in his knee. Hartley has impressed in practice and vs. the Jaguars last week, but Heinz Field is a new beast all in itself. Hartley will have to prove he can make the kicks when it matters most, at home. His future with the team could depend on it. Keep an eye on Hartley's kickoffs too, as he failed to notch a touchback in 5 attempts last week.
Reserves playing with desperation
The Steelers have seen a lot of their reserve players in the first two weeks, and with the first cuts of the preseason looming, expect to see some desperation from players like Ian Wild, Alden Darby and Gerod Holliman who are trying to put together a performance which gives them a chance at making the team's 53-man roster. As the preseason progresses the play should improve across the board, and not just for players who might be on the bubble. Look for more plays to be made by players such as Dri Archer, Sammie Coates, Shamarko Thomas and Stephon Tuitt.
The Steelers host the Green Bay Packers at 1:00 p.m. EST. Get all the game day details you need right HERE.