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Causes for concern in the Steelers Week 8 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts

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Indianapolis boasts one of the league's most balanced teams and, after a slow start to the 2014 season, it's hitting its stride. The Steelers will have to play their best game of the year to top the 5-2 Colts.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of concerns for the Steelers in this game. We'll start with the big picture.

The Colts are perhaps the most balanced team in the NFL. Along with the Denver Broncos, they have perhaps the league's most efficient offense. The addition of Ahmad Bradshaw (remember when the Steelers were sniffing around him?) gives them an effective, multi-use backfield, which has helped quarterback Andrew Luck fit in some variety with his aerial-assault offense. That, in turn, has powered a Colts team to a five-game winning streak that includes wins over the Baltimore Ravens and a never-easy Thursday Night road win over division-rival Houston.

The concern is the amount of firepower an offense can deploy with a quarterback of Luck's skills. You get pressure on him, or he destroys you. It's really as simple as that. It's the reason T.Y. Hilton has emerged as one of the top deep threats in the game. Give a good quarterback time and he's going to get the ball downfield.

Expect Indianapolis to use a no-huddle approach for much, if not all, of this game. The Steelers have struggled against this for a while now and, when a team can use it the way the Colts do, they should feel confident in their ability to execute and produce. As multi-faceted as they are in their scheme and packages (a talented pair of tight ends in Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener boost this quite a bit), they can simply plan to move around based on what the Steelers are showing them, and attack whatever weaknesses they see.

Defensively, this team has grown quite a bit from where they were last season. They're getting outstanding play from a secondary that used to be the team's biggest weakness. Their edge-strength helps them effectively neutralize opposing running games and they're really starting to get pressure on the quarterback. In a game that may see the absence of Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who quietly has been having a good season, there must be concern about the offensive right side. Backup Mike Adams is perhaps better suited for the right side, and he'll be challenged in this game, particularly in pass protection.

Ultimately, this game will come down to the Steelers' ability to limit, if not eliminate, the Colts' big-play ability and how well they can protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers are going to have to stay calm (read: don't expect much no-huddle unless they fall behind by two scores) and try to methodically move down the field. Keeping the Colts' offense on the sideline is imperative since this offense has averaged 33 points per game during a five-game winning streak. For the same reason, making the most out of any possession they have is critical.

If the Steelers cannot match the Colts' pace, this one could get out of hand quickly.