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Steeler Hitman

2020 Week One Steelers at Giants Game Day Thread

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Welcome back to football!  2020 has been a rough year with a pandemic and everything else! We need something to bring us all together.  Here in Steelers Nation, we love our Steelers!

I am quite happy to provide the Game day threads.

Who, What, When and Where:

Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York (Football) Giants Metlife Stadium Monday Night 09/14/20 @ 1910 (That's 07:10 pm)

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On Offense:

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There will be no more welcome a sign in Steelers Nation than Big Ben raising his hands in praise after a TD pass. 

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Hopefully the 2020 season will reintroduce the Big Three of Ben, Connor, and Ju Ju! 

The Steelers will look to be a much more balanced and less predictable team in 2020.  The last two seasons have left the players and Steelers Nation with a bitter taste of no play-offs and no shot at super Lombardi #7.  I think that #7 will stay healthy and lead Steelers Nation to the elusive #7 and I will predict NFL Comeback Player of the Year and SB MVP in my Hitman crystal ball (or homer colored glasses). 😃

The ground game must be established and allow the Steelers to be able to sustain drives and wear teams down.  There is a plethora of offensive weapons, but it will all start up front. Big Al and Miighty Matt Feiler will man the left side of the OL, Pouncey is at Center and will have great communication with Ben behind him, Double D David DeCastro will be back with Mountainous Zach Banner and/or Chuks at RT. The interior OL is also deeper with Wisiewski, Dotson, and JC Hausenauser. Keeping Ben upright is the key. Being able to impose their will on opposing DL's will help. The fact that teams won't be able to consistently stack the box with 8 or 9 players will help as well. Ben should be able to make teams pay dearly.

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Look for TE Vance McDonald to bounce back with Ben at QB. TE Eric Ebron will be a redzone threat and create mismatches with his size and speed.   Add in rookie WR Chase Claypool as an X-factor and playmaker. 

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I think that Dionte's stock is up and Ju Ju and Washington want to show a lot of people what they can do as well. While our WR's were considered average at best last year, look for more consistency and some big plays. I think that these guys and RB James Connor play this year with a serious attitude. Speaking of X-Factors, don't forget about FB Derek Watt.Rosie was out most of 2019 and the running game suffered as well. Watt is a devastating blocker as well, but he can also catch and give the occasional power run.  I loved Rosie, but Watt adds a few new wrinkles to the offense as well. 

On Defense the Steelers now boast what was traditionally a Steelers strength in the past glory days. Big Ben himself said that the defense typically got the better of the offense during padded practices which is encouraging as we haven't heard that in a very, very long time. 

 

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On Defense it always starts up front. Cam Heyward is simply one of the best interior DL's in the entire NFL and arguably the best not named Aaron Donald. The surprise will be a healthy Tuitt. If he can stay healthy, this defense can be special. They provide run stuffing, penetration and the ability to pressure and sack the QB. They are a handful for most OL's and having both makes it extremely difficult to double team. Tuitt was arguably the best DL early in 2019 before getting hurt. His health and the ability for Tyson Alualu to play NG and provide solid depth along with former Raven Chris Wormley and Isiah Buggs will determine the DL's success. If teams can't run it plays to probably the defenses greatest two strengths: pass rush and pass defense.

 

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If teams can't run the ball and are placed in negative down in distance situations, TJ and Bud are going to be scooping up a ton of sacks. Keep an eye on second year ILB's Devon Bush and Ulysses Grant.  I believe that Bush makes the next step and is destined to be the next great Steelers LB. Grant will give Bush an occasional breather and play in some specialty packages. We know what we have in Vince Williams, but these two need to step up and I believe that they will add speed and make some plays inside.

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The Steelers will boast one of the best overall secondaries that they had since the days of HOF'er Rod Woodson. Haden and Nelson are both very good and with a strong pass rush, both are capable of creating turnovers. Their coverage was very good last year and if they can duplicate that in 2020, look out. Minkah Fitzpatrick was simply the best player in the secondary after coming over to the Steelers in a trade. He made big plays from day one and stabilized a team weakness. This year, look out. The sky is the limit and he has the ability to play in a league with the likes of Troy and Ed. The key is for the super-athletic Edmunds to take the next step. Edmunds has every physical tool to be a very good safety. Hopefully the light comes on.  I feel better about the depth with the signing of Sean Davis. Davis is not spectacular, but he is consistent. He may be best suited for the role as a third safety and allow the Steelers to do some exotic things with Minkah.  They still have a pretty solid one-two at Nickel with the tough tackling machine in Mike Hilton and the improved coverage CB in Cam Sutton.  This secondary should give most QB's fits matching up with WR's and TE's alike.

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Defensive Keys to the Game:

1. Stopping Saquaan Barkley running free. The Giants are powerful inside with Hernandez and Zeitler at OG. The Steelers may be able to out-speed the OT's in the run and passing game.  Key will be for Tyson, Cam and Tuitt to stop Saquaan on first down and force negative second down in distance (2nd and 9, etc,). Watch out for former Pitt Panther deon Lewis as a third down receiver.

2. Forcing second year QB Daniel Jones into obvious passing situations should favor the Steelers defense. Watt and Bud could give the Giants OL fits. The ability of Bush to play better pass coverage.  Speedy TE Eric Ingram can give opposing LB's and safeties fits. Don't fall asleep on Kaden Smith at TE either. He is sneaky good.   

3. Don't give up the big play. I would use the formula that teams employed against the Steelers offense last year. Jones is a much more experienced and better developed than Duck or Mason, but you would want the defense to do the same things. Jones has the ability to take off, so you have to contain him, but if you can keep him pressured in the pocket and don't let Tate, Shepherd, and Slayton can lull you by moving the chains and then kill you over the top. Gotta play good team defense. 

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Offensive Keys to the Game:

1. Run the ball well and don't give up too soon.  The Giants have traditionally been very good on the DL. They added Leonard Williams along with Dexter Lawrence and BJ Hill rotating. This could give Feiler, Pouncey and DD or Wiz problems inside.  The Steelers can't be predictable runners. They may have an edge/advantage running to the right with the extra OT package. A great key would be if Vance can return to his blocking of 2018. NYG LB Blake Martinez is a tackling machine.

2. Keep Ben upright. The Giants have big physical LB's and added Markus Golden to their roster. We don't need him hitting Ben early and often. However, outside of Blake and Golden, not a lot of star power. Hopefully the OL's and TE's can take advantage and Vance and Ebron can create some mismatches in the short and intermediate passing game.

3. Be patient. The team has shown in the past to get off track when things don't go well early. With no preseason or the ability to play against people (other than your own teammates), the speed, hitting, timing, and overall play may be out of sync at times. Stay with the overall plan and the plays will open up, the timing will get better and the coaches will make the proper adjustments. The way to win is to simply score more points than your opponent. This year we will need the offense to do more of their part in supporting the defense. Honestly, 12 and 13 play time consuming drives are not a bad thing. We like explosive big, long plays, but sometimes wearing teams down and keeping the defense off of the field is the best defense. This is an opponent that getting in front and forcing them to try to beat you throwing may bode better for the Steelers. This is good defense through the offense.

4. I think that our receivers can pose a threat to the Giants secondary. Jabrill Peppers is a freak-ish athlete and solid SS, but I think he can be exposed deep by Dionte, Washington, and Claypool. Logan Ryan is a heady veteran so you can't get careless throwing the ball or he can hurt you.  In the right situation, I may take a few shots especially if the offense gets up on the down in distance (second down and two). I still prefer the methodical approach, but our receivers and TE's should have an advantage against the Giants CB's of Corey Balentine and Julian Love.

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Prediction:

I think both defenses will be ahead of the offenses with no preseason play or preparation, so I have to go with who I believe is the better overall defense: The Steelers. I would love to see the offense run the ball 30 - 35 times and they pass the ball between 27 and 32 times. I would let Connor do the majority of the carrying with Benny giving him a break and McFarland getting a few touches via run or pass.  Spread the ball around to your weapons. Defense can't lock on one guy and if so, someone else will hurt them. In the immortal words of former Chiefs HC Hank Stram, "Just matriculate the ball down the field fellas!" Steelers over Giants 27 - 17. 

 

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Game Day Beauties: Awaiting the approval of the comish if this is allowed in 2020.

 

 

Edited by Steeler Hitman
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I'm hyped

expect a sloppy game tho I think we pull away in the 4th with a score of 20-13.

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ben coming off an obviously long layoff and being a notoriously slow starter as is, i think that while we'd romp this in if it was played in like week 7 we're at a danger of letting it go the other way; excited as for some steeler football and for our takeaway hungry defense to be able to have a breather and play with an offense that gives them good field position to start with. while i don't expect them to be as inherently good as they were last year (takeaways being such a volatile stat; sacks too, despite this we've been at or near the top for the past three years anyway in fairness to our d), i'm thinking if our offense can actually put points up, the defense could have a bigger impact in practice, not having to be the sole source of our wins

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14 hours ago, August4th said:

I'm hyped

expect a sloppy game tho I think we pull away in the 4th with a score of 20-13.

I can't argue with that. My theory is that I think that the defense sets the table for the offense. Turnovers should help the Steelers offense. I expect an INT or key strip sack that should help the offense punch it in the end zone, I agree with the late pull away, but I think if the Steelers can run the ball, they ground it out after a 13 - 10 halftime lead the defense comes through and the Steelers score two second half TD's courtesy of the defese setting the table and maybe even a pick six or fumble recovery  and run for a score.

9 hours ago, Shady Slim said:

Ben coming off an obviously long layoff and being a notoriously slow starter as is,

Very true, but under different circumstances. Ben typically rested during the off season and didn't get fine tuned until week four often. He has been working all off-season and camp. I don't see the rust factor as a factor as in the past. I also think that the team having any semblance of a rushing attack helps as well. I am not predicting that Ben passes 50 times and puts up 400 yards and 4 TD's. I think he plays like a veteran and has support with Ju Ju and Connor also having something to prove.

I think that while we'd romp this in if it was played in like week 7 we're at a danger of letting it go the other way;

I would agree under the past perfect conditions, but I just don't get that feel. This team seems to have a chip on its shoulder. They have typically played much better as the dark-horse rather than the favorite. Defenses are typically ahead of offenses, and I have to believe that our defense makes some plays an exploits some mis-matches to create some opportunities to help the offense. 

Excited as for some Steeler football and for our takeaway hungry defense to be able to have a breather and play with an offense that gives them good field position to start with.

I think that is a huge contributor with no preseason games or practice hitting against other teams.

While I don't expect them to be as inherently good as they were last year (takeaways being such a volatile stat; sacks too, despite this we've been at or near the top for the past three years anyway in fairness to our d), i'm thinking if our offense can actually put points up, the defense could have a bigger impact in practice, not having to be the sole source of our wins

Sound logic on your part, but I slightly disagree as I see the Steelers being able to play "complimentary football. " Lack of QB play often prevented turnovers from turning into TD's, flipping the field to result in points, sustaining drives to give the defense a breather, and scoring to get the team to play with a lead (no opening drive TD's in 16 games last season).  All of that helps a good to solid defense become a great one.  I agree that you cannot predict turnovers but I expect them to get some and more importantly, do something with the turnovers after they get them.  The SF game last year was a game that with a healthy Ben would have been a blow-out as the Steelers would have converted those early turnovers into points and took SF out of their ability to stick with their game plan. 

Y ou have to win games that you are supposed to win. Great teams do that! No disrespect to the NY Giants, but with this strange year, a veteran football team like the Steelers should have an edge. The key will be if they take advantage of that edge. Don't turn the ball over and don't give up big plays.  Our offense was very consistent in turning the ball over last year. Those are things that you hope they addressed in the off season. 

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7 minutes ago, August4th said:

 

I was expecting that. I think he's the best for the spot. Chuks, IMO, is the expected heir to the LT job. I don't think they'll hand it to him, but I think that's what the FO expects. 

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Eh...losing the RT competition doesn't scream future LT to me. It screams guy they let walk after his contract expires.

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Having watched the NFL.com Giants training camp I would think that Watt could get 3+ sacks in this game.  The G-men's Oline is horrible.  Can they corral Barkley is the only thing I would worry about.  Steelers 31- G-men 6

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2 hours ago, jebrick said:

Having watched the NFL.com Giants training camp I would think that Watt could get 3+ sacks in this game.  The G-men's Oline is horrible.  Can they corral Barkley is the only thing I would worry about.  Steelers 31- G-men 6

You know as well as I do it won’t be like that.

Itll be an ugly lower scoring game...Ben will be rusty. 
 

Steelers 20-13

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18 hours ago, August4th said:

 

Does anyone know what the injury actually is? I think the official injury reports come out after Wednesday's practice, but I don't remember hearing anything about DD being hurt. I know he took som time off, but I thought those we "veteran days off." 

2 hours ago, jebrick said:

Having watched the NFL.com Giants training camp I would think that Watt could get 3+ sacks in this game.  The G-men's Oline is horrible.  Can they corral Barkley is the only thing I would worry about.  Steelers 31- G-men 6

I agree with the win, but I don't think it will be quite that large of a margin of victory, but as I stated, in my comments, I believe that the Steelers defense will dominate.  Agree completely that the key is to stop Saquaan Barkley from running wild and putting the Giants in long down in distance situations. We rarely blow teams away on the road. I also think this is a new year and for some reason has a different feel or approach by the team. They are a bit of an under the radar team and I think the Steelers definitely play better with a chip on their shoulder. Ben, Connor and Ju Ju have something to prove on offense and I believe that Minkah feels disrespected and ignored.  That kind of bodes well for us. No crowd and no pre season should help our veteran squad. 

23 minutes ago, AlanFanecaFan said:

You know as well as I do it won’t be like that.

Itll be an ugly lower scoring game...Ben will be rusty. 
 

Steelers 20-13

I am not so sure that Ben will be rusty as many think. I get the past, but he has also sat most of the pre-season games and definitely had game speed/timing rust the past several years. With no pre-season and no crowds, etc., I think this helps Ben. He worked most everyday at TC and Ben is HUNGRY again! I think he is out to prove something and he is healthy. Many of us have questioned some of his throws and accuracy at times. Heck the guy was playing and throwing with pain. Pretty remarkable that he did as well as he did. I don't think the Steelers get beat up in the trenches although I am a little concerned with the inside running game and the Giants behemoth and skilled DT's at run stuffing.  I would trap and run off tackle as long as they aren't blowing our OG's into the backfield, which I don't see Feiler and Wiz getting abused. Unfortunately DeCastro is out.  I am somewhere between you and JeBrick with the score/prediction (27-17). I think our defense sets the table for our offense and Ben does what Mason and Duck couldn't last year (Score TD's when the field is flipped or off of turnovers on the opponents side of the 50 yard line).  Defenses are typically stronger than the offense early on, so I have to go with the better defense (at least on paper and past performance).  No disrespect to the NY Giants who are always tough and competitive, but last year they did not have a defense like the Bills, Ravens, Pats, Jets or 49'ers who at times stifled our OL and rushing attack. I think our offense will be more in an attack mode than a survive mode. 

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17 hours ago, August4th said:

 

Like I said.  A lot like the SF offense

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1 hour ago, jebrick said:

Like I said.  A lot like the SF offense

I could see Conner having a huge year if he stays healthy. Maybe 14-1500 yards. 

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