BTSC takes five burning questions regarding the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers and labels them as fact or fiction.
There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving. Especially this week with the Steelers struggling against a two-win Dallas team. With the Steelers at 8-0 and facing another two-win team in the form of the Cincinnati Bengals, there are concerns that the clock will soon strike midnight on the Steelers and plenty of questions as well. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.
Are we on point? Only time will tell because like Stephen King says, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie”.
Should the Steelers go 16-0, it doesn’t guarantee a Super Bowl title
Only one NFL franchise in the Super Bowl era has finished an NFL regular season with a perfect regular season record and have gone on to win the big game. Of course that was the famed 1972 Miami Dolphins. They went 14-0 and ultimately finished at 17-0. The New England Patriots of 2007 came close by going 18-0, but lost perfection in their final contest to the Giants. The aforementioned Dolphins are the only team to win their first 14 to sticky-up the Lombardi. Two 13-0 teams, the 2009 New Orleans Saints and the 1998 Denver Broncos.0
The Steelers absolutely have got to get the running game going or they won’t succeed
I’m going to get some flack for this, but I don’t think the establishment of a running game is paramount to the Steelers. Their line is built more to protect the quarterback and thwart the advances of oncoming pass rushers. They can run the ball and did it very well the first quarter of the season, but the black-and-gold are realizing a lot of success on high percentage short passes. The bubble screens are working and guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ray Ray McCloud, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and James Washington are moving the chains successfully. It’s a concept that Todd Haley was vilified for when he called the short game as an offensive coordinator. This is not a typical Steelers offense. They have the speed to make this work and it will eventually open up opportunities when they do call a running plan. If defenses do find a way to defend this method, then they can switch back and get more to the ground. But the bottom line remains that this offensive game plan is legitimate. It doesn’t matter how the meals prepared, just that it is excellent.
You can’t count on a Mike Hilton return until you see him on the field of play
I love the play of Mike Hilton on the Steelers defense. I also miss No. 28’s excellence against the run and the pass. The undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss is one of the most underrated players to wear the black-and-gold. In fact, he’s nearly irreplaceable on that defense. But Hilton has declared that he has been ready to return to the gridiron and play often this season, only to suffer a setback or two. The Steelers have been getting decent production from Cam Sutton. In fact No. 20 has played admirably. But they need Hilton back. This week, Mike has put social media on notice that he’s going to be playing against Jacksonville. But his shoulder injury has taken time to heal and he could be deemed not ready once again. I’ll wait until I see Hilton in action until I’m comfortable and I still might not be completely.
The Steelers will play down to Jacksonville on Sunday
In past seasons, the Steelers have been known to struggle against teams that they were favored to beat handily. Games against Tampa, the Jets, Chicago and many more have resulted in losses in the past because the Steelers did not play an A game against a D+ opponent. Just a few weeks ago, the Steelers almost lost against a two-win Dallas team. So as much as I was saying that they wouldn’t play “down”, they did. But they had just come off of an emotional win against a tough Baltimore team and the Steelers had little time to prepare for Garrett Gilbert at the quarterback position. Plus, the Cowboys had much pride invested in that particular game after listening and reading everybody predicting on how bad they were going to lose to Pittsburgh. Mike Tomlin said it and I believe it that teams are going to give the Steelers their absolute best because they are undefeated. Everybody wants to knock off the king from the mountain top. I still believe that the maturity of this team is at a higher level and that the Steelers can overcome adversity better than it did just a season or two ago. The Jags historically give the Steelers fits and will do so again this weekend, but the 2020 Steelers don’t care about point spreads or style. They are more concerned about wins.
Where the Steelers sit in weekly power rankings is irrelevant
Power rankings don’t mean a thing. At the end of the day, it’s who is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy during a confetti down pour in Tampa in February. While ESPN, CBS Sports and NBC Sports rank the Men of Steel at the very top, the Sporting News and NFL.com are listing the Kansas City Chiefs at the top. In this very broadcast, I mentioned earlier that teams are gunning more for the top team. But the Steelers really couldn’t care less where they are ranked. Actually ranking them out of the top spot provides Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Heyward and their co-workers with a nice-sized chip off disrespect setting square on their shoulder pads. The recognition of being the best now is nice, but its where history ranks you for 2020 that matters most.
Are these statements valid? We will soon see. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below or on our social media.
Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics, and their status, heading into this week’s game: