In the NFL there are no easy games. Anyone can win on any given Sunday, Monday or Thursday, as cliche as that may sound. However, it certainly rings true for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 as they travel to the nation's capital to play the 2015 NFC East division champion Washington Redskins.
There are a myriad of matchups which can be discussed, but I break this contest down into the three main factors I feel could lead to the Steelers coming back to Pittsburgh with a 1-0 record as they prepare to host the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 at Heinz Field.
In this inter-conference matchup, it could be as simple as executing these three aspects of the game to get their first victory in their first game of the 2016 season,
1. Run the Football
Although it is tempting to air it out on every down, especially with Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger on the roster, the team would be wise to stay balanced with a healthy dose of DeAngelo Williams.
2. Protect the Big Guy
The Steelers offensive line certainly has it's strengths, but most would agree left tackle isn't one of them. The Redskins bring pressure from a wide array of areas on the field, and if the Pittsburgh offensive line can keep Roethlisberger clean, he should be able to pick apart the Washington secondary.
3. Make the 'Skins One Dimensional
The Steelers defensive forte is their rush defense, which is a good thing as Washington ranked near the bottom half of the league in passing yards per game in 2015
Take a listen to the latest episode of the Steelers Connection as I dive deeper into the statistics behind these three keys to victory, and give you my prediction for the Week 1 game on Monday Night Football.