Welcome to Week 3 and Sunday Night Football! In fact, better to have Sunday Night Football’s own Carrie Underwood welcome you:
Let’s take a closer look at the teams and preview the action.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
The Steelers certainly haven’t gotten off to the type of start they’re accustomed to. They fell flat in their Week 1 home opener, dropping a tough one to the Titans 16-9 where the score wasn’t indicative of how poorly the Steelers played. Of course, just a few nights ago, the Bengals handled Pittsburgh 20-10. Are we sensing a theme here? The Steelers offense has been dormant so far in 2013.
This is not your father’s Pittsburgh Steelers offense. The days of Jerome “The Bus” Bettis trucking over Brian Urlacher are gone.
The Steelers come into the action 31st in rushing offense, averaging just 37.5 yards per game. Big Ben Roethlisberger is still at the helm, but his favorite deep threat Mike Wallace has departed. They’ve also been without their 2012 offensive MVP Heath Miller so far in 2013, as he’s been recovering from an ACL injury late last season. Miller had 71 catches and 8 TD’s. His return could bolster a struggling offense. Otherwise, the passing attack features a couple of speedy targets with Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
The Steelers offensive line has been awful, having lost center Maurkice Pouncey to a season-ending knee injury in the season opener. They could present an opportunity for the Bears struggling D-line to get well.
On the other side of the ball, the Steelers defense doesn’t appear to be as dominant as they have been in season’s past, but they still come into the game ranked 10th overall. Their 3-4 scheme, featuring the zone blitzes of defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau ought to challenge the still-gelling Bears offensive line.
The secondary features a couple of big time playmakers. Ike Taylor is expected to draw the assignment covering Brandon Marshall. On MNF, he shut down AJ Green, limiting him to 6 catches for 41 yards. Safety Troy Polamalu will be all over the field and if I were Jay Cutler I’d be making sure to make sure I know where he is on every play.