The Pittsburgh Steelers head to Soldier Field this Sunday, looking for their second straight win over an NFC North opponent. This is a game that, on paper, they should be able to win easily, but it’s never that easy. The Chicago Bears aren’t that great of a football team, but are better than their record indicates. They’ve won the last two games of this series by a combined score of 57-37, leading it with a 17-8-1 record overall. The Steelers are 1-12 playing in Chicago, with their only win coming in 1995, a Super Bowl season. Week three Pittsburgh Steelers keys to victory takes a look at what the Steelers need to accomplish to claim their second ever win at Soldier Field.
Week Three Pittsburgh Steelers Keys To Victory
The Steelers are better than the Bears from top to bottom, but that alone isn’t enough to win this game. They still have to prove it out on the field. The Steelers need to put the Bears away early, rather than letting them hang around gaining confidence. The Steelers keys to victory over the Bears naturally includes execution, but there’s more to it than that. The Bears have talented players on both sides of the ball that the steelers must neutralize. The Bears offense has one of the league’s best running backs in Jordan Howard. They have a pair of decent receivers, Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton, who are capable of having big games. The linebackers are the strength of their defense, led by Willie Young, Danny Trevathan, and second year man, Leonard Floyd. Former Baltimore Raven linebacker Pernell McPhee is a vital part of that rotation as well.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number One: Shut Down Jordan Howard
Howard is a strong runner who hits the hole hard with surprising quickness. He runs like a bulldozer, averaging five yards per carry during his 19 games. When defenders such as Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree tackle Howard, they must wrap him up. Arm tackles don’t work, neither does trying to knock him off his feet with hard hits. Howard is having a down year averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, but he still averages five overall. The Steelers want to shut him down and make the Bears one dimensional.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number Two: Neutralize The Linebackers
The linebackers are the strength of the Bears defense, and are led by Young and Floyd. Both linebackers get after the quarterback, totaling 15 sacks between them over the last 18 games. Young is stout at the point of attack, and is solid tackler in run defense. He is surprisingly good in coverage as well. Floyd is long and lean with great lateral speed. He gets to the quarterback fast and hits like a truck. Todd Haley should utilize quick passes, and run directly at them to minimize their impact on the game.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number Three: Ben Roethlisberger Needs to Be Aggressive
Bears cornbacks, Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller are physical and aggressive, but have lapses in discipline. Amukamara and Fuller make plays, but are susceptible to getting turned around and beaten deep. Ben Roethlisberger has the perfect weapons in Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, to take advantage of their aggression. Roethlisberger is due for a big day against the weak link of the Bears defense. Their secondary doesn’t match up well with the Steelers receivers.
Steelers Keys to Victory Number four: Pound the Bears Front Seven With Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell, by his own admission, is due for a breakout performance. He showed signs of it during last week’s game against a tough Vikings defense. The Bears front seven are very aggressive, tending to over commit on run defense. This plays perfectly to Bell’s patience and style of running. Bell gets stronger as game goes on, while defenses tend to wear down from the pounding of the offensive line. The Bears gave up 117 yards rushing to a couple of unheralded Buccaneers running backs last week, meaning Bell’s breakout performance could be days away.
The Steelers are the more talented team, from the top of the roster through the bottom. They need to play to their strengths, using an explosive offense and a run smothering defense, and put the Bears away early. The Steelers believe that they are super Bowl contenders. True contenders put inferior teams away early. They don’t let them hang around believing they can pull it out late.