As we all recover from what I hope for you was a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday, you can rest easy, Steelers fans, as your Black-and-gold get ready to host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night football.
You see, in years past (heck just a few months ago), a game like this would have those following this team closely quite worried about a letdown in the works. Playing down to the level of their opponent has been a very Mike Tomlin-like manner.
If this game were scheduled for Lambeau Field, I’d be even more concerned. It’s those spots where the Steelers come in a big favorite, and lay an egg.
But that’s not going to happen this week. Don’t even entertain the idea. This one is in the bag.
Yup, you heard me. The Steelers will mop the floor up with this punchless Pack.
What’s to say it won’t happen? Winners of five straight and coming off of a 40-17 thrashing of Tennessee, this club is humming along. Ben Roethlisberger is 19-3 at home under the prime-time lights in his career.
The defense is coming off of its best effort, forcing four turnovers last week. Name another player besides Ryan Shazier who’s playing better at his position.
For all the troubles this team has managed to walk around this year—from slow starts to Instagram/Twitter meltdowns—to career lows in play, then chip-in a healthy dose of shade being thrown Todd Haley’s way, and you’ve got your 3-ring circus to be caught up in.
But in my eyes, that ship has sailed. This team has already taken what I think is its hardest punch. The Steelers have seen the worst. Barring some catastrophic injuries to the usual suspects, the dark waters traveled have built character and made this team step up its game like we haven’t seen since the 2008 season.
You know, the last year this team won a Lombardi Trophy.
It’s been my position since the start that this was going to be that type of year—the pieces to the puzzle for making it to the big game at the end of the season were in place and all that was needed was for them to gel as a team and fit like cogs in a tightly-wound clock.
And we haven’t even discussed the hot mess that is the Packers yet. No Aaron Rogers means no playoffs. At 5-5, the Pack are in free-fall. They got shut out by Baltimore last week at home. It’s been more than a decade since that happened.
You’re going to tell me that Brett Hundley is going to do his best Mike Glennon come Sunday? Hundley turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions, took six sacks, and earned just 16 first downs last week.
Does that have you bothered?
I don’t think so.
Give yourself an extra helping of that tryptophan turkey tomorrow. Load up on grandma’s mashed taters. And make room for an extra slice of pumpkin pie. Your Pittsburgh Steelers are just a few days away from win No. 9. Nothing short of Armageddon will stop this from being so.
John Phillips is the author of this article and has been covering sports professionally for over 20 years. JP’s in his 4th season of providing opinion here at BTSC of the greatest football team on the 3rd rock from the sun.