I’ll be honest, this game has me sweating more than the Giants game, from here on out there is no room for error for the Steelers. Just like 11 years ago when the Steelers were 7-5, if they won out, they’d be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
Obviously there are differences with the Steelers right now and the 2005 Steelers, considering the 2005 Steelers lost 3 straight and were sitting at 7-5 and could not afford to lose another game. The Steelers now are currently on a 3-game win streak after being 4-5, which was a product of a 4-game losing streak during mid season.
Nonetheless, the similarity is Steelers cannot afford to lose another game and must finish the season 11-5 to get into the playoffs. Pittsburgh cannot afford to slip up.
Buffalo, from a statistics perspective is a below average run defense ranked 26th in the league and gives up around 4 yards per carry.
That ranking though is a little bit inflated due to the game in week 7 against the Dolphins where they gave up 214 yards to Jay Ajayi, you take away about 100 from that game though, they’re ranked about middle of the pack.
However, Bell is by far the best running back they’re about to face since that week 7 matchup, which isn’t good for Buffalo especially with the fact that they could be without one of their best interior linemen in Kyle Williams.
I don’t think Buffalo wants to relive getting dominated at the line of scrimmage.
Miami pulls their right guard who takes the left end out of the play and blocking tight end is able to obstruct Kyle Williams, which leads to a huge hole for Ajayi to run through. Absolutely flat out dominated at the LOS.
I would like to point out that this was a game in which the Bills were still missing their stud interior linemen Marcell Dareus and this could give us a good idea just what Buffalo is like without at least one of their star interior tackles.
The success Miami had on the ground allowed them to utilize the play action passing game to get success through the air.
Miami got the two LBs to bite on the play action, Tannehill escapes the pressure by stepping up and he had a wide open passing lane to see Landry open on the right sideline.
If the game plan breaks down
However if Pittsburgh is unable to do what Miami did, Ben Roethlisberger will be depended on to make super tight windowed throws if things really breakdown.
Oakland spread them out and sent 4 guys running vertical (this is some madden play design stuff)
Oakland was down in this game for a while but Derek Carr is such a good QB that he was able to thread the needle on throws such as this that they were able to get back into that game and win it.
Ben would have to play at that level if the game starts to breakdown.
Establish the run well enough and Pittsburgh should be able to have success through the air with play action passing.
Buffalo is good against the pass but without Kyle Williams and being ranked so low against the run, it would not surprise me if they devote most of their attention to Le’Veon Bell, if that happens, Ben will be asked to make tight windowed throws to open up the ground game.
Buffalo is a good team and Pittsburgh must bring their A game with them or else they could be reflecting on an opportunity missed when the season is all said and done.