A game like we all witnessed last weekend is a once in a lifetime occurrence. There is a new heated rivalry in the AFC North, there is no question about that.
Pittsburgh now plays in a division where they have three legitimate rivals they have to play at a minimum twice a year. The past two years they have had to play at least one team three times.
It’s something that no other team has to deal with in any other division.
It took everything the Steelers had (thank you Joey Porter) to get past the Bungles and onto Denver for a divisional match-up with Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
My cheers, jeers and fears this week are on how — unlike in 2005 — the Steelers are limping into the second round of the playoffs.
There is a chance that De’Angelo Williams is done for the season. It’s not certain, but his status has been clouded since the end of the Cleveland game.
I thought the loss of Williams spelled doom for the Steelers playoff chances, but Fitz Toussaint and Jordan Todman proved me wrong by putting up 167 total rushing yards, with a little help from Martavis Bryant.
Denver’s defense is a completely different monster, however. It will be extremely tough sledding against them this week.
I still can’t figure out this team. If you would have told me the Steelers rushed for 167 yards without Bell or Williams against a good Bengals defense, I would have though the final was 30-17.
But, for some reason this passing attack has been on life support for the past three games. They went from scoring at will to struggling to put up 20 points.
Denver has an awesome defense that Pittsburgh seemed to figure out in their first meeting this year. They will be looking for revenge while the Steelers will just be looking for some yards.
I think the fears for this week are obvious. If Ben and AB do not play there is no way that Pittsburgh can win this game.
Landry Jones, who played well during the season, has never faced a defense like this. It’s not going to be pretty if No. 7 can’t suit up.
If AB doesn’t play, it will be even uglier. Pittsburgh still has talent other than Brown, but he makes that offense go and is a huge focal point of any team to allow other players to make plays.
Ben playing without Brown isn’t a desirable combination either, although it is better than the alternative.
My two cents is that both Ben and AB are going to play. Two things showed me that Ben was going to be okay.
He took a hit directly to his armpit shortly after reentering the game and he shook it off like Taylor Swift.
Then, while AB was writhing on the field and everyone was losing their minds over the Burfict hit, I was more fixated on the laser that Ben delivered in his direction.
Watch it here and tell me that ball doesn’t look like it was shot out of a cannon.
For these reasons, it’s hard for me to make a prediction this week. There are so many question marks, but there is one certain fact.
If Ben doesn’t play, they have no chance. Broncos win 31-14.
But, with Ben anything is possible. Steelers win 27-21.