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5 things to watch on the Steelers defense vs. the Lions

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Detroit Lions in the preseason finale Sunday, and there is plenty to watch.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

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 defense vs. Detroit Sunday:

Rush Defense

Let’s be honest, this is the biggest key for the fan base heading into this game. Can the addition of Cam Heyward help lift up the run defense and stymie the opponent? Last week was better, although it didn’t always feel like it, holding the Jacksonville Jaguars to 97 total yards. However, the Week 1 game vs. the Seahawks where they surrendered 150+ yards non the ground still lingers. Time to have back-to-back solid performances.


The Steelers have openly stated they are game planning for this game, and it will be interesting to see just how the Teryl Austin defense will deploy blitzers. Keith Butler was one of the best at dialing up pressure, but will a combination of Austin/Brian Flores/Mike Tomlin be able to uphold the competition? And do they still have the horses to get it done?

ILB Play

Myles Jack is legit, but what about the other inside linebacker? Devin Bush has left plenty to be desired throughout the preseason, Robert Spillane has his limitations and Mark Robinson is now getting plenty of publicity as an option. Yes, a 7th round pick is getting talk about being a starter. That is the state of the Steelers’ inside linebackers. It’s safe to say everyone will be watching this position intently.

CB Rotation

The Steelers have some good cornerbacks on their team, but how they will be used is another question. Will the team put Ahkello Witherspoon and Cam Sutton out as their CB1 and CB2? Or will they move them around based on the situation? While Arthur Maulet isn’t expected to play, how the team uses players like Levi Wallace and James Pierre will be something to watch.

Takeaway Trends

The Steelers have been able to take the ball away once in every game this preseason, can they keep this trend alive? Also, the timing of those aforementioned turnovers has been clutch. Mark Robinson’s strip sack of Drew Lock in Week 1, and Justin Layne’s interception in Week 2 both resulted in wins for the black and gold. Can they keep it up?

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!