Last Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers were expecting a bit more of a challenge that what San Francisco gave them at Heinz Field as the Black and Gold thumped the Niners 43-18.
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This weekend, the Steelers take to the road for the second time in three games with a visit to St. Louis, Missouri. Its can be expected that the Rams will not pose as much a threat as did the 49ers and Patriots before them. St. Louis shocked the Seahawks on opening day but fell last last week in Washington, losing to the Redskins 24-10.
Grabbing quarterback Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles in the off-season, the new Rams QB came away from that loss last Sunday with a paltry 28.6 rating. As a team, St. Louis totaled just over 200 yards of offense. On defense, University of Pittsburgh product Aaron Donald has converted his success at Pitt into a solid NFL career through his first two seasons. On the whole, this game should be easy pickings for Pittsburgh.
When the Steelers have the ball: Last week the prediction here was for the Steelers to put up 35 points. They scored 43. How will the scoreboard on the Steelers side look come Sunday? With the return of Le’Veon Bell to the offense facing a defense that just gave up 24 points to a much more lackluster Washington Kirk Cousins led offense, it could be fireworks again in St. Louis this weekend.
For St. Louis, it will be the talent of Aaron Donald trying to get to Ben Roethlisberger. The Rams are facing one of the most potent offenses in the NFL and the odds of shutting down in the Steelers in any sense of the word are against them.
When the Rams have the ball: The acquisition of Sam Bradford in Philadelphia made Nick Foles expendable so here he is in St. Louis. He was impressive against Seattle but played much worse in week two. The Rams certainly do not have anything near the weaponry of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the Steelers defense, it is a shame that we will not get to see what Ryan Shazier can do as a follow-up to his performance last Sunday. Shazier suffered a shoulder stinger late in the fourth quarter against the 49ers. Pittsburgh’s plan is to use both Terence Garvin and Sean Spence at inside linebacker.
If some of the other major players on defense start playing to the level they are capable of, the Steelers will venture deep into the post-season. They should have no problem dominating this Rams offense.
Intangibles: On paper, this game is a blowout. In reality, it could easily happen. The Steelers should be excited about the return of Bell and teaming him with an already hot DeAngelo Williams. The defense is getting warmed up and they need to start getting in a groove with the Baltimore Ravens on the horizon for a Thursday night matchup.
The nationally televised Baltimore game is followed up with a Monday night road game in San Diego, so this game would be a good victory to grab.
Prediction: It is nearly impossible to predict against the Steelers in this one. A Rams win would be a major upset. Final score: Steelers 44 Rams 9.