The Pittsburgh Steelers made the playoffs after their victory over the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills victory over the New York Jets. (Thank you, Buffalo!) For the time being, chants of Fire Tomlin! Fire Tomlin have died down as the great people of Steelers Nation focus on the upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Is it time to relax and enjoy the postseason?
Yes and no.
Ben Roethlisberger: Chill Out and Freak Out
The team lives and dies by Roethlisberger's performance despite complaints about the secondary. If Mr. Interception shows up, it is time to freak out, or chill out by turning off the TV and pretending the season ended in Week 17. If the real Ben Roethlisberger shows up, then we can chill. When Ben is on, the offense is unstoppable.
AJ McCarron: Chill Out and Freak Out
We all know the Bengals have trouble winning in the postseason. Will a new face in the pocket prevent the Bengals from bungling their post-season chances? Though he has played reasonably well so far, McCarron's biggest asset is that he is relatively new to the team and there is a chance he hasn't contracted Bengals Postseason Suckage Syndrome (BPSS). Also, the Steelers secondary, at times, can make your son's junior varsity backup quarterback, who also is the equipment manager, look like he's the second coming of Joe Montana.
Theoretically, the Steelers defense should be able to handle AJ McCarron, but the young quarterback has some intangible assets, that coupled with our inconsistent defense, could make for a stressful game. Be prepared for a nerve wracking game interspersed with periods of "We got this!"
Injuries: Chill Out
No reason to freak out about injuries. Last year the team lost the Wild Card game to the Ravens after Le'Veon Bell was sidelined with injury, but the team also lost to a horrible Ravens squad-- twice-- in the regular season.
DeAngelo Williams might be healthy enough to play. If not, the Steelers passing game is more than adequate and Fitzgerald Toussaint might be able to step up against the Bengals defense.
If the Steelers are in Black and Gold Win Mode (BGWM), it doesn't matter who is on the field. We have seen this phenomenon throughout the season.