The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team dealing with a slow start to the regular season. Sitting on a 1-3 record, and coming off a 24-20 loss to the New York Jets at home, many think the Steelers are reeling.
When you look ahead to their opponent in Week 5, the Buffalo Bills, the Pittsburgh offense, now quarterbacked by Kenny Pickett, will have their hands full with the Buffalo defense. In case you haven’t noticed, the Bills’ defense is considered one of the best in the league.
Just check out their defensive rankings heading into Week 5:
Buffalo Defensive Rankings
Pass Defense: 150.8 yds/gm (1st)
Rush Defense: 83.8 yds/gm (3rd)
Total Yards: 234.5 yds/gm (1st)
Points: 14.5 per game (2nd)
When you look at those numbers, they have to be somewhat intimidating to an offense. When you compare those defensive numbers to the Steelers’ offensive numbers, well, it isn’t close to being even.
Pittsburgh Offensive Rankings
Pass Offense: 181.5 yds/gm (28th)
Rush Offense: 97.3 (23rd)
Total Yards: 278.8 yds/gm (30th)
Points: 18.5 per game (23rd)
By the numbers, the Steelers shouldn’t be very confident heading into this game, at least with the matchup of Steelers offense vs. Bills defense. However, despite the 14-point underdog tag, Kenny Pickett and the Steelers are more than confident in their ability.
“It’s the attitude in which you go about it.” Pickett told the media Wednesday. “You guys and everyone else think we’re underdogs, but we don’t. We’re going to go in there with some confidence. We know how great we can be when we’re detailed and we execute at a high level. That’s something that we need to take care of during the week or we won’t have a shot. So, it’s the details, it’s the little things. Guys run at the right depth, I’ve got to be on time, give a great ball. They’ll make the plays. The line will protect; they’ve been doing an unbelievable job all year. I have a ton of confidence in those guys. It’s really everyone doing their part and we’ll be okay.”
If Pickett is anything, he is confident. In fact, the majority of Pickett’s teammates have talked about his “swagger” when on the field. Where does/did this swagger come from? Pickett says it comes from multiple facets of his NFL journey.
“Yeah, I think it’s that I love to play.” said Pickett. “I grew up playing defense. I just love to play the game. I was taught to play that way, I was raised to play that way and it carried into how I play quarterback once I focused on the quarterback position. So, I just kind of carried that aspect of both sides of the ball from my dad when I’m playing on offense.”
Confidence, or swagger, are one thing, but Pickett knows there is only one way for him to truly prove he was worthy of being the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. To prove he isn’t just a stop-gap until the next Steelers quarterback. To prove he is the next “guy” for the franchise for over the next decade. That’s by leading by example, and demanding the best from his teammates.
“I want to raise the level of play of everyone around me, but we have so many great players and I’ve got to do my job. I have 100 percent trust and confidence that every single guy in the huddle will do their job. I think that everybody was just raised that way. So, everyone’s just got to own their business, own their job and we’ll be alright.”
The Steelers going up against the Bills will be an uphill climb, at least on paper, but the game isn’t played on paper, thankfully. Can the Steelers go into Buffalo and beat the Bills as underdogs for the second straight season? Or will the Bills do to the Steelers what they did to the Tennessee Titans earlier this season and dominate them from start to finish? Either way, the Steelers won’t be going into Buffalo scared, or lacking confidence.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the game Sunday in Week 5 in western New York.