It doesn’t get any easier for the Beloved Bears this week, as the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers head to Soldier Field for the home opener on Sunday. I got in touch with Chris over at Nice Pick Cowher, the Steelers blog on the Fansided network to do a little Q&A to get prepped for Sunday’s game. Check out my answers to his questions by clicking here.
BGO: Pittsburgh fans are among the best traveled in the league. With the Steelers headed to Soldier Field for the first time since 1995, can Bears fans expect to see their share of Black and Gold on Sunday? The Steelers are 1-11 at Chicago all-time. Is history against the Steelers on Sunday? What’s your prediction for the game?
NPC: I originally expected to see about 1/4 of the stadium wearing Black and Gold on Sunday. But the irresistible allure of Polish sausage combined with last week’s debacle in Green Bay lead me to bump my prediction up to 1/3. Also, history is written by the victors. And I predict the Steelers will be victorious by a final score of 48-2.
BGO: The Steelers will be without All-Pro Safety Troy Polamalu on Sunday. Who steps in for him? What kind of drop-off is there? Is this an area that Jay Cutler and the Bears offense try to exploit?
NPC: Since Polamalu plays like a one man army, no one man can possibly replace him. Veteran Tyrone Carter and second year player Ryan Mundy will split the duties at safety in his absence. Polamalu is all over the field, playing the pass, stopping the run, blitzing the quarterback… These two are much more limited in what they can do.
Carter is solid although you can’t ask too much of him while Mundy is more athletic but inexperienced. Neither are going to be making any one-handed INTs anytime soon.
Cutler may try to take a shot or two if he sees them in one-on-one coverage. Checkdowns over the middle of the field seemed to be open last week after Troy was hurt. However, the Steelers are still loaded with defensive weapons everywhere you look so I wouldn’t go as far as to say there are any gaping holes in our D.
BGO: The Steelers haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in the last 19 regular season games. Does Matt Forte stand a chance to get going on Sunday? Meanwhile, the world got to see what Jay Cutler and the Bears passing game is all about on Sunday. After you stop laughing, are the Steelers at all concerned about the Bears offense? Does anything about the Bears offense scare the Steelers?
NPC: Let me put it this way, I drafted Matt Forte with my first pick in Fantasy Football this year. Matt Forte will be sitting on my bench this Sunday. Those are the stats I expect him to put up. As for the Bears “offense,” the way I see it the Titans have better RBs, better WRs, and a better QB. They scored one touchdown last week.
BGO: Big Ben had 43 attempted for 363 yards in the season opener against the Titans and Santonio Holmes had 131 receiving yards. Meanwhile Fast Willie Parker, Chicago’s own Rashard Mendenhall and the rest of the Steelers combined for 37 rushing yards. Have the Steelers moved away from a smashmouth running team into a pass-oriented offense?
NPC: Yes, we have. Our offensive coordinator made his reputation with the Colts during the early days of Peyton Manning. So that’s the kind of offense he likes, pass-heavy with just a dash of running on the side.
It also doesn’t help that we have a patchwork offensive line who are far more capable in pass blocking than run blocking. Even our tight ends are far better as pass catchers than blockers. Since we have one of the deepest WR corps in the league, with 5 guys who could legitimately start on any given Sunday, I can’t argue with playing to our strengths.
Although, we definitely need to run better than what we showed against the Titans if we hope to win another Super Bowl. FWP and Mendenhall (who has been a HUGE disappointment thus far) must begin to provide some semblance of a running game. Still, don’t be surprised if you see Ben Roethlisberger slinging 35+ passes every game this season because that’s what Steeler Football is now.
BGO: I want to be sure to have some ‘company’ sent to Big Ben’s hotel room on Saturday night. What is his type? Based on what I see here, I don’t know if Chicago has any women this ugly, so we might have to bring some in from Wisconsin. Just want advanced notice so we can get a few trucked down here. By the way, if Ben is looking for something to do pre-game, I suggest a nice motorcycle ride down Lake Shore Drive. Don’t forget your helmet, Big Ben!
NPC: Well, if Nevada lawsuits are to be believed, Ben’s type are crazy nymphomaniacs who wear cowboy hats. However, if you want to provide Big Ben with pregame entertainment, I’m pretty sure he’d be happy with this pair.
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