The Steelers are the last undefeated team in the AFC and, with Sunday night’s loss to the Seahawks, the entire NFL after Week 7, improving to 6-0 after giving the Titans (5-1) ) their first loss of the 2020 season. That doesn’t mean they have fully developed as a real threat to dethrone Super Bowl reigning Chiefs (6-1) from conference champions. Until further notice, the Chiefs, and not the Steelers, remain the best team in the AFC.
While Pittsburgh held on to win in Tennessee, 27-24 Sunday, Kansas City gave up a 43-16 victory over Denver later this afternoon. Over the past two weeks, the Steelers have bolstered their best record with wins against the Browns (5-2) and the Titans. So far, the Chiefs ’most impressive victories have come against the Ravens (5-1) and Bills (5-2).
The Steelers have been strong around this season. His defense stops the race and precipitates the passer to a high level. The offense has a strong running base with James Conner and others. They have endless weapons in the passing game for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, on track to be the league’s Return Player of the Year.
But despite the impeccable results in records and rankings for the new AFC North leaders, Pittsburgh shows some respect for the screaming pitchers who won’t match up well with Kansas City when it counts the most in the playoffs. The Steelers and Chiefs don’t play in the regular season.
After the win over the Titans, the Steelers were on the verge of blowing a 27-7 lead until Stephen Gostkowski missed the field goal test before the end of regulation, coach Mike Tomlin indicated some of the problems.
“We knew they weren’t flashing. They were in these types of games more than us. We knew it was an advantage for them, and it showed,” Tomlin said of the Titans’ return. “We had something to do with how the game played out as well. We gave up a great game for a touchdown. We turned the ball around. Do these things against good people who will get back into the game 100 percent of the time. .
“Luckily our boys didn’t flash and they were able to hold together and make enough plays to ensure a victory. (We are not) a perfect product. We understand. But I appreciate their efforts. We are perfect from a record point of view. and so we respect him. “
This shatters Tomlin’s concerns about his team’s weaknesses even more as they relate to the Chiefs’ strengths.
The Steelers have a handful of big deadlines
Tomlin had reason to cite that “great game for a touchdown,” which was a 73-yard touchdown run by the Titans ’best wide receiver, AJ Brown. That gave Tennessee life to get back into the game in the middle of the third quarter. Two weeks ago against the Eagles, when they caught up mostly to Miles Sanders, they still gave up a 74-yard TD run. With the exception of Week 6 against the Browns, the Steelers have conceded pieces of play in every game.
There are some series where it is impossible to move the ball over the Steelers, such as teams delaying the schedule in the first descendants before facing pressure in obvious third-place passing situations. But then sometimes the Steelers become overly aggressive or invade a game, losing some discipline at critical times.
It’s not a good formula against Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and the rest of the Chiefs ’quick players. Teams were protected from being burned by Mahomes and Hill at home, causing the Chiefs to methodically move the ball into the field with the run and short pass to intermediate. But it’s still Mahomes, who doesn’t need an opening to provide a deep backbreaker. They also get more receptors involved and choosing good places to take their shots.
In the second half against Ryan Tannehill, the Steelers struggled to finish their runs. It happened a lot for the teams against Mahomes, they didn’t get it and they used to in the fourth quarter. The Steelers have faced several athletic QBs who are adapting well to buy extra time against them.
Steelers ’yards are in contention
In connection with the first article, outside starters Steven Nelson and Joe Haden and nickel Mike Hilton turned out to be shaky in the cover. Nelson, a ballhawk, often lost her husband when he was not playing a game on the ball. Haden starts to show his age slowing down to 31. Hilton is typically sound covering the slot, but he has his share of whiffs. When the Steelers don’t receive sacks and a QB can buy some time, there are games to do with wide receivers across the field. He has been seen with Wentz, Tannehill, Daniel Jones and Deshaun Watson. The Steelers are better against tight ends with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and others.
Mahomes has good versatility at wide receiver with that attack, seen both in the interchangeable impact of Hill and inside and how effectively they remain without Sammy Watkins, going No. 2 from the committee based on the encounter with Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman. So you have to consider the attention that Travis Kelce deserves as the tightest AFC cover to cover. Between Nelson, Haden and Hilton, Mahomes can find someone to exploit consistently from one passing game to another vs. the Steelers.
The Steelers don’t always put teams together
The Steelers beat the Giants by 10 in Week 1 and the Eagles by 9 in Week 5 and both games feel much closer to what the final scores indicate. They also had a win in possession against the Broncos, Texans and Titans. You might think that Pittsburgh is built to stack up and continue to beat teams looking to recover or stay with their offense. But big-play deadlines and cornerback problems open the door for opponents to stay in games.
They have the potential to dominate and crush teams all around as they have done with the Browns. Tomlin mentioned the Titans ’experience in the fight and resolution show. The Chiefs have built up a lot of that equity in last season’s playoffs, returning strong to beat the Texans, Titans and 49ers with Mahomes.
The Raiders were able to beat the Chiefs with the ideal mix of ball control and great plays of their own. The Steelers ’offense can do that to try to keep Mahomes off the field, but he only needs the slightest luck to lift the Chiefs when they fall.
Steelers masking problems with Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger is 38 years old and is coming off a missed season mostly due to a major injury to his right elbow. Reports from the Steelers since the first storm were that it was on track for a full recovery, which has been the case. That said, his arm isn’t at full strength and the Steelers ’passing game comes with a lot of short passes and a good job after catching wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson, among others.
We think Big Ben will enter Week 7 ranked No. 24 in the NFL in the airfields scheduled by the quarterback. It was also 27th in the airfields scheduled for passage testing and No. 29th in the airfields completed for completion (4.9). Due to a calculated and careful pass, Roehtlisberger had only one interception before throwing three against the Titans.
With Tennessee able to slow down Pittsburgh’s precipitous attack, Roethlisberger threw more than expected with a significant advantage, averaging 5.5 yards on his 49 attempts. He was forcing the problem with the installation of the ball at the bottom at the time. Two of his interceptions came when the Steelers were in a position to score, once late in the red zone. As with the Saints ’Drew Brees, there is some natural, remarkable decline with Roehtlisberger.
The Raiders were able to get the better of Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 5 because they had the ideal mix of ball control and effective, aggressive downfield going from Derek Carr. The Steelers went into Week 7 as the top NFL team in possession time, four places better than the Raiders in that regard.
There’s no feeling that the Steelers will be comfortable in the real shooting mode with Roethlsibeger vs. Mahomes. And where they are weak in coverage plays right in Mahomes ’right arm.
The Chiefs have already sent off four of the five teams that made the AFC playoffs with them in 2020. They haven’t played the Titans, so they won’t make six, but they’ve done a lot to prove their worth vs. much the same Tennessee team in the AFC title game.
That would add to thinking that the Steelers have made more than one run in two teams, also supporting the Chiefs as AFC favorites. The reality is, like every team in the NFL, Pittsburgh doesn’t look like perfection, given that the team almost jumped into the big game in a close game with a contender who is supposed to jump on the road to Kansas City.
The Steelers seem to be well equipped to pick up the AFC North from the Ravens, their opponent returning to Baltimore in Week 8. Lamar Jackson goes through some tremendous downfield passes and the Ravens have struggled to get past their traditional running game. . Those numbers, plus the Ravens ’limited depth of reception, mean the Steelers are doing much better with the Ravens than the Chiefs.
Returning to winning the division is the first hurdle the Steelers should release to stay undefeated, but more importantly, to work toward a more favorable playoff position. As for being built to beat the Chiefs and be better than the Chiefs, that is not the case. With the Patriots dying suddenly as a contender, there is room to emerge a new nemesis intraconference Steelers. Leaders are the perfect ones for this role.