The Pittsburgh Steelers welcome back Le’Veon Bell after his two-game suspension. They play the St. Louis Rams who knocked off Seattle in the season-opener but looked mortal last week against Washington.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1). The Steelers head West following a 43-18 beatdown of San Francisco while the Rams return home after losing in the nation’s capitol to the Redskins.
Line: Steelers -1.5
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
When: Sunday, September 27th, 2015 1pm ET
TV: CBS Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Jamie Erdahl on the sidelines.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Rabble TV: I’ll be NOT be calling the game this week. I will be back for the next two though.
What You Need to Know: William Gay played in his 130th straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… Ben Roethlisberger won his 107th career game tying a record with Terry Bradshaw… Last week was Big Ben’s 39th career 300 yard passing game… Antonio Brown has now caught a pass in 74 consecutive games… AB also joined John Stallworth, Hines Ward and Heath Miller as the only Steelers with 400 or more receptions… Cam Thomas has the fourth-longest streak in the league with 66 consecutive games played by a defensive lineman.
All-Time Series: Rams lead 15-7-2, The Steelers are 1-1-10 all-time in St. Louis
Series Highs Passing: STL Marc Bulger 375 yards 2003, PIT Ben Roethlisberger 261 yards 2007… Receiving STL Torry Holt 174 yards 2003, PIT Santonio Holmes 133 yards 2007… Rushing STL Charles White 166 1987, PIT Jerome Bettis 129 yards 1996.
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
Line vs Line .There’s no question the biggest issue facing the Steelers is the front four of the Rams. Aaron Donald, who the Steelers know quite well since he played at Pitt, is as dominant as any D-lineman in the league. Without the speed and athleticism of Maurkice Pouncey to deal with him, Cody Wallace must rely on strength and technique and a little help from his friends David DeCastro and Ramon Foster. Too much focus on Donald however could lead to tough match-ups for the rest of line.
Make Him “Foled” Up. The Steelers sacked Colin Kaepernick five times last week with a variety of blitzes and pre-snap looks that I thought confused Kaepernick at times. Nick Foles is an excellent passer who can torch any defense given the time. What he doesn’t have is mobility anywhere near the level of Kaepernick. Keith Butler needs to dial up similar types of pressure, especially up the middle that will force Foles to move and make quick decisions. Too much time in the pocket will result in the secondary being exposed.
Ringing the Bell Early. I’ll be very curious to see how quickly Todd Haley and the Steelers get Le’Veon Bell involved. My advice is don’t miss the opening drive because I think you’re going to see heavy doses of him on the first few plays followed by play-action with Ben Roethlisberger looking deep. The Rams are obviously going to be keying on Bell the moment he walks out onto the field so I won’t surprise me one bit to see Haley run some misdirection stuff in an efort to get the Rams’ defensive over-pursuing.
Game Prediction: Steelers 30 Rams 21