Home is where the heart is. The Pittsburgh Steelers return for some home cooking this Sunday, following a shaky 2017 debut. They believe playing in front of an energized home crowd will wake them up and bring out their best. The Steelers never found their rhythm against the Cleveland Browns, but still did enough to win a divisional road game. The Minnesota Vikings are much better than the Browns, and will capitalize on careless mistakes and penalties. Week two Pittsburgh Steelers keys to victory looks at what they need to do to get a win over the Vikings.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number One: Clean Up The Penalties
The Steelers never found consistent rhythm on offense against the Browns. Failure to execute was part of the problem, but unnecessary penalties killed momentum as well. Four players accounted for 40 yards in penalties, wiping out almost 40 total yards gained. That’s a net loss of 80 yards, which may have taken additional points off the board. The Steelers can’t afford giving up yards or points to the Vikings. Their defense will make them pay if they play behind the chains too much.
Keith Butler‘s defense was guilty of their own penalties as well, to the tune of eight for 104 yards. He must ensure that his unit does not repeat that performance this Sunday, unless he wants to put the offense in a hole. The Steelers need to remain disciplined and focused on both sides of the ball, refraining from making bad decisions. This game will be won by the team who makes the fewest mistakes.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number Two: Ben Roethlisberger Must be Precise and Decisive
Ben Roethlisberger has been phenomenal at Heinz Field, putting together both of his 500 yard games there. He has two six touchdown performances at home, which includes one against a Baltimore Ravens top five defense. Roethlisberger attacked their secondary aggressively, and with precision, that by and large, stunned their division rivals. He must, ironically, take the same approach with a Vikings defense that’s similar to that Ravens defense. Roethlisberger must be precise and decisive, but above all, he must take what they give him and not force anything.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number three: Offensive Line Must Play Angry
The offensive line was good in pass protection last week, but looked listless in run blocking. The Vikings defensive front is stronger and healthier than the Browns, however, vulnerable to a direct attack. Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Ramon Foster must control the interior line. Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph bully offensive lineman; consequently, they don’t like being bullied themselves.
Winning their battles is imperative to open up running lanes for Le’Veon Bell. Stalemates equal losses in the trenches, resulting in little room to run for Bell. The offensive line takes pride in their jobs, as a result, they won’t play two bad games in a row. Mike Munchak will make sure of that.
Steelers Keys to Victory: Conclusion
The Steelers have a fight on their hands with the Vikings, which strangely enough, is just what they need. This is a game that can set the tone for the season, moreover, an opportunity to find their identity. The Steelers are the more talented team, no doubt, but to get the win, it all starts in the trenches. They must play smart, aggressive football, first and foremost, then avoid costly mistakes and turnovers.
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