Were this any other year but 2009, we’d all be taking the Steelers’ upcoming game against the Detroit Lions pretty lightly. After all, this is the worst team from 2008 versus the best team from 2008. The 0-16 Detroit Lions versus the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
But this IS 2009, and the Steelers have taught us not to take any opponent lightly.
We know that the Steelers have not looked much like the reigning Super Bowl champs so far this season. Prior to last week’s win over the San Diego Chargers, the Steelers had the exact same record as the Detroit Lions.
By all rights, the Super Bowl champs should beat the lowly Lions. But they should have also beaten the Bears…..and the Bengals. We all know how those games turned out. So taking the Lions lightly isn’t likely to happen.
Detroit leads the overall series 13-4 when playing at home. Moreover, the Steelers have not won a single road game this season. So going on the road to face the Lions may not be as easy a win as some fans might think.
The Lions did suffer a devastating blow last week when rookie quarterback Matt Stafford went down with a knee injury. Stafford hasn’t practiced since the injury, but Lions head coach Jim Schwartz refuses to rule him out for Sunday’s game. In the meantime, backup Daunte Culpepper has been taking the majority of the snaps for Detroit.
Regardless of which Lions quarterback gets the start, they will have the luxury of throwing to one of the best receivers in the NFL, Calvin Johnson. Johnson is 6’5″, runs like the wind, and jumps like a kangaroo. I sometimes question whether Johnson is even human. Ike Taylor will have the unenviable task of trying to stop Johnson.
Fortunately for the Steelers, their running game finally showed up last week. The offensive line looked brilliant, and RB Rashard Mendenhall had a breakout performance. Mendenhall rushed for 165 yards, and displayed the type of tough, downhill running that the Steelers have been missing since Jerome Bettis retired.
The Steelers also got another masterful performance from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben passed for 333 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Steelers defense also put on a dominating display last week……for 3 quarters. As has been their pattern this season, the defense held their opponent in check for 3 quarters before suffering a near collapse in the 4th quarter.
So if I had to guess what is going to happen in Sunday’s game, I would anticipate that the Steelers will manhandle the Lions for 3 quarters before allowing the Lions to get back into the game in the 4th quarter. The game will then become a nail-biter, leaving Steelers fans on the verge of cardiac arrest as the game ends in dramatic fashion.
Is there anyone out there in Steeler Nation who thinks the game will unfold differently? I didn’t think so.
Other Steelers news
- Running back Isaac Redman cleared waivers and has been re-signed to the Steelers practice squad.
- Troy Polamalu began practicing this week, but is unlikely to play in Sunday’s game.
(If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment below. Also, please subscribe to our blog by pressing the orange button below. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the doohickies at the bottom of the right column of this page. Thanks.)