I know that many are excited that the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New York Jets last weekend, and I cannot blame them. It was the team’s first victory of the 2013 campaign, and they managed to avoid an 0-5 start for the first time since the 1968 season.
In fact, many like ESPN.com’s Scott Brown are already breaking down the rest of Pittsburgh’s schedule to see if the team can find a way to actually make the postseason.
As optimistic as Brown and others are, I hope that they keep in mind that the defense has been carved by the likes of Matt Cassel and only began to force turnovers during their last game. Moreover, the offensive line and pass-protection is still sieve-like and kicker Shaun Suisham is the team’s most effective scoring weapon.
While I appreciate the enthusiasm and all of the prognosticating, the worst thing for the Steelers to do is to start looking down the schedule multiple weeks at a time. “Checking off” wins or saying they need an “x-x” record to qualify for the postseason, helps nobody and would only feed into this team’s false sense of confidence.
This team cannot afford to get lazily caught up in trap games, and five games against divisional foes and trips to New England and Green Bay will be difficult enough to manage. Heck, Pittsburgh is still down 2.5 games within their own mediocre division to a team that pasted them on both sides of the ball the last time they met.
The last thing that the Steelers should be doing is “looking for wins” in Weeks 8-17 right now. Instead, they should be preparing themselves to emerge victorious against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday before any of those thoughts cross into their minds.
Senses of urgency must cross into the minds of these players to avoid dropping a single game throughout the rest of the season if they wish to play deep into January and then into February, not false senses of confidence after eking out a win over a flawed team led by a rookie quarterback.
I certainly hate to leave a “turd” in “Steeler Nation’s” proverbial “punch bowl,” but this team is much closer to fading out of the postseason chase than they are of entering it. Over-confidence can destroy this team, particularly one which has “played down” to its competition so many times during the last few seasons.
I really hope that this group is not caught looking too far ahead, especially since their upcoming foes will make Pittsburgh pay if they decide to take their feet off of the gas pedal and “unleash” as much “hell” as they did when the team faded down the stretch in 2009.
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