The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to face the Detroit Lions in the NFL Preseason finale at Acrisure Stadium Sunday afternoon. The contest will be the final tune-up for the regular season for both teams, and there are plenty of aspects to keep an eye on in this game.
Here are 5 things to watch on the Steelers offense vs. Detroit Sunday:
Offensive Line Play
Did you think I’d start with quarterbacks? No way, not after the Week 2 game vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. The Steelers offensive line will be in the spotlight, and for good reason. Will they show up and show out? Or will they be shown the door with a chorus of boos from the Acrisure Stadium crowd? Let’s hope for the former, not the latter.
Mitch Trubisky is getting the start, and Kenny Pickett will take over at some point in the first half. To me, this game means more for Pickett and Mason Rudolph than it does for Trubisky. While I would love nothing more than to see Pickett start Week 1 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, I don’t see it happening. The best-case scenario is all three quarterbacks continue to play well, giving the team a plethora of options.
Najee Harris is playing in this game, his first action of the preseason, but I don’t expect to see him long vs. the Lions. Nonetheless, the order of operations is almost as important to me as the production. Does Benny Snell Jr. get RB2 reps, or is it someone like Anthony McFarland or Jaylen Warren? The production will come only if the offensive line decides to show up, but how the team deploys their backs will be something to watch.
Big Play Ability
If there has been a knock on the Steelers offense during the preseason it has been their inability to push the ball downfield, especially when Pickett is at quarterback. Getting some big plays in this game, especially down the middle of the field, will certainly go a long way to altering how defenses approach defending the offense.
Winning in Key Areas
On top of big plays, if the offense can win in those key areas, third down and red-zone, they will do plenty to move the ball and put up points. What went right in Week 1 vs. the Seattle Seahawks went wrong vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. Consistency, especially on those key downs/areas will go a long way.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the preseason finale. While you wait for the game, be sure to check out some of the BTSC podcasts in the player below!