The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Soldier Field in Chicago with a 2-0 record. Awaiting them are the Bears who sit at 0-2. A week from this Sunday, the Steelers will travel to Baltimore where they have struggled and waiting for them will likely be an unbeaten Ravens’ team looking to erase the memories of a Christmas day loss to their most hated rivals.
Because the Steelers seem to be firing on only a few cylinders, especially offensively, there is some genuine concern over how prepared they are to hit the road. We know the road struggles of Ben Roethlisberger over the last three years and you may also be interested to know the Black and Gold are 1-11 all-time in the Windy City.
With the rival Ravens on the immediate horizon, this has all the makings of your classic “trap game.”
For most teams in the NFL, going 0-2 isn’t necessarily a death blow to their playoff chances. It doesn’t help, but plenty of teams have made the postseason after 0-2 starts. Starting 0-3 however is a different story. Only a handful of teams have made the playoffs after losing their opening three games and all needed help to do so. The Bears realize this and I’m sure the Steelers understand that the Bears will bring everything they have to avoid 0-3.
In the last five years, Pittsburgh has gone on the road in week three four times. They lost at Philadelphia and Oakland and won at St. Louis and Carolina. In three of those four instances they were coming off of week two victories. There were of course variables like Le’Veon Bell’s lack of availability but the numbers are what they are.
Historically, no team in the NFL has given the Steelers more trouble than the Bears. All-time the Steelers have their worst winning percentage (min. 25 games) against Chicago. They are 7-18-1 all-time for a winning percentage of just .288. Players and coaches have come and gone over the many years since these two started playing but that’s just history right?
If we apply the same type of history however to our dominance over Cleveland and Cincinnati during the Big Ben years, then we must also acknowledge the Bears’ success against us.
Regardless, I expect the Steelers to play well on Sunday in Chicago. I expect Pittsburgh to play well every week for that matter but I won’t be a bit surprised if we get a flat, uninspired performance either. This game just has too many things in common with other trap games to make me think otherwise.