Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy
After a dismal performance up in New England in Week 1, the Steelers will look to get back to their winning ways against a Seahawks team that had to fight back against fellow AFC North foe the Cincinnati Bengals to get a victory. The coaching staff will need a better gameplan going into this contest if they hope to avoid a 0-2 start in the Steel City. The onus will not only be on the coaching staff though, but the players themselves as some of the new and shiny toys need to start fitting into place.
With this game being out of conference there is less fallout if the Steelers do fall this Sunday, but a victory will be a huge boost to the locker room as a statement that they can beat well-coached teams, and they can replace the stars that have left since last year. No drama hopefully means more camaraderie, which then leads to playing harder for the player beside you.
Joey Hunt (C): Out (Ankle)
David Moore (WR): Out (Shoulder)
Poona Ford (DT): Doubtful (Calf)
Tedric Thompson (FS): Doubtful (Hamstring)
Neiko Thorpe (CB): Doubtful (Hamstring)
Ziggy Ansah (DE): Questionable (Shoulder)
Analysis: Both players ruled out will have little impact on the overall gameplan except that with Hunt out it makes the depth along the interior of the OL paper-thin. Ford is a monster along the defensive front and has been a rock in run defense, his absence would be a boost to James Conner and the Steelers running game. An absence of Tedric Thompson would lead to a first look of the uber-athletic and hard-hitting 2nd round pick, Marquise Blair, which may not be that much of an offset in impact. Thorpe is a key special teams presence that would be missed. The biggest question on the injury front is Ziggy Ansah. Seattle fans have been clamoring for him to return from offseason shoulder surgery, and his addition to a defensive front opposite Jadaveon Clowney would be quite beneficial.
Roosevelt Nix (FB): Out (Knee)
Maurkice Pouncey (C): Questionable (Ankle)
Joe Haden (CB): Questionable (Shoulder)
Analysis: Along the injury front there were a number of players that either missed time or were limited throughout the week such as T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Terrell Edmunds, and Sean Davis due to injury. Also, a few players got bit by the illness bug this week as well. But all in all, by the end of the week most of all the players got into practice by Friday, with the exception of Roosevelt Nix who has a multi-week knee injury. Pouncey and Haden both will start on Sunday.
Matchups to keep an eye on:
Matt Feiler (RT) vs. Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
James Conner (RB) vs. Bobby Wagner (LB)
Sean Davis (FS) vs. Russell Wilson (QB)
Vince Williams (LB) vs. Chris Carson (RB)
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR) vs. Shaquil Griffin (CB)
Joe Haden (CB) vs. D.K. Metcalf (WR)
Outlook: This game will feature two hard-nosed and rugged minded teams that will look to not only throw the ball downfield but establish the run. When the Steelers are on offense look for a more balanced attack being deployed with a focus on getting James Conner the ball, as well as a steady rotation of WRs until someone firmly grasps the #2 WR job. When they are on defense look for the highly decorated (and paid) DL to try and get pressure along the A gaps, and the trio of ILBs (Bush/Williams/Barron) will need to fly to the ball with authority to bring down the powerful Carson. The addition of Sean Davis back to the defensive backfield will lead to better communication, and hopefully, less confusion when the Seahawks throw from play action.
Steelers 31, Seahawks 24