Not to suggest rookie Dri Archer will get 20 touches, but his presence signifies the Steelers' offense is at full strength, and only for the second time in four games. Archer was injured amid an explosion of offense for Pittsburgh in Week 1, and hasn't been back since. In the time he missed, the offense combined for 36 points (30 against Carolina subtracting a special teams touchdown and just six against the Ravens). It's been hot and cold. The weapons quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has to work with in this game will just be too numerous for the Bucs' defense.
Which is more impressive, Dick LeBeau's 30-13 mark against quarterbacks making their first starts against him, like Mike Glennon will do today, or Roethlisberger's 16-2 mark against NFC teams at home? Ben's record tails off LeBeau's to an extent, and both are equally valid - again, to an extent. However you want to slice it, the Steelers have had a great amount of success in games with similar characteristics to what they have in front of them today. Both sides of the ball were clicking in a big win last week, and they look to extend impressive streaks against a beatable opponent.
Any advantage the Bucs may have with a new quarterback the Steelers haven't seen yet in non-blowout time this year, the Black and Gold counters with two new, starting linebackers. There wasn't much film to digest on Arthur Moats from last week (he'll replace Jarvis Jones at right outside linebacker), and there's virtually no film on Sean Spence playing significant snaps (he's in for Ryan Shazier). This gives the Steelers' defense a shot of surprise. Plus, both are versatile players. The Steelers moved Spence outside here and there during the preseason and Moats has a history of multiple roles. Tampa Bay will have to adjust to the unpredictability of two players they haven't seen in this position.
While this isn't going to be as slanted an advantage for the Steelers as it appears on paper (Glennon has some decent tools), Roethlisberger is a better passer at home early in the season. He's also off to an excellent start, throw for throw. A bad interception against the Browns masked what was otherwise a dominant first game. He made up for a poor showing against Baltimore with an excellent game against a tough Carolina defense in Week 3. Tampa Bay doesn't have the defense the Panthers or Ravens do, and Ben will be on point, looking to take the Steelers to 3-1 for the first time since 2010. Glennon will make a play or two in this game but he won't be able to match the veteran's pace.
Expect the 2014 version of The Renegade to be unveiled this afternoon, adding to what's already sure to be a fiery Heinz Field crowd. It didn't play in Pittsburgh's Week 1 game vs. Cleveland, likely due to a lack of current film on the bulk of the Steelers' defenders. Then they went on the road for two weeks, heading back to Pittsburgh for Week 4. The crowd comes alive after it's played and the defense responds to it. All signs point to the team's first interception of the season, a week after notching its first two takeaways.