Pittsburgh’s Special Teams vs. Chicago’s Special Teams
First of all, Pittsburgh’s special teams played extremely well against Cincinnati. The stupid penalties from the previous week against Cincinnati were eliminated, Shaun Suisham and Zoltan Mesko did fine jobs, and Antonio Brown even had a nice punt return. Of course, the coverage units will have an enormous test tonight as they will try to stop Chicago’s All-Pro return man, Devin Hester.
While I am not worried about the competence of Suisham and Mesko, Pittsburgh’s inconsistent coverage units scare me. Danny Smith’s coverage unit allowed a kickoff return of 109 yards for a touchdown during preseason play, and had all sorts of issues during the Steelers’ 0-4 stretch. Hester can change a game and field position with his return skills, and Pittsburgh must be on high alert tonight.
Final Thoughts & Prediction
Unless Cutler has an absolute “Chernobyl meltdown” performance littered with turnovers (three-plus), there is no way that the Steelers will win this game. Their offensive tackles are simply not talented enough to keep Chicago’s defensive ends at bay, the running game remains a mess, and I am not sure if Ben Roethlisberger will be given the latitude to go no-huddle and hurry-up on offense.
Pittsburgh’s defense will also be humbled by the best offense that they have seen during their first three regular season games. Forte’s running and the offensive line’s blocking will give the Bears many “2nd and 3rd and manageable” situations, and Cutler’s wide receivers will find plenty of space in the Steelers’ secondary.
This game will be over in terms of competitiveness by the time that the fourth quarter begins, and Ryan Clark can “stack” or “pile” another tally into Pittsburgh’s loss column by the end.
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