I can’t think of a better way to acknowledge Halloween than a night game in New Orleans.Â If I had planned better, I would be there in person.Â Instead, I will be waiting to see others in Steeler Nation representing tonight.Â And get ready because the New Orleans fans love their team almost as much as we do and they are going to have all day to get nice and rowdy.Â We need Steeler Nation to be really, really loud tonight.
This game is not going to be easy, despite the Saints showing lately.Â They haven’t looked like the defending champs but expect that attitude to change tonight.Â After losing to the Browns last week, I expect to see a dialed up Saints team on both sides of the ball.Â Drew Brees has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards already this season – with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas both hurt – expect Brees to focus on the passing game more.Â In addition, with the Steelers run defense shutting down top backs like Chris Johnson it makes no sense to focus wholeheartedly on running the football.
What that means for the Steelers is that the pass rush needs to be dialed up.Â You can’t give a quarterback like Brees too much time in the pocket or he will find someone down field.Â It’s not a matter of “if” it’s a matter of “when.”Â The secondary, specifically Ike and BMac, needs to be on it today.
Losing Aaron Smith is a big deal.Â As I have said before, he’s a very quiet threat and many people don’t realize the impact he has on the defense.Â So, Ziggy, get ready, it’s your day.Â Ziggy is young, but the only thing that will make him better is having the opportunity to play.Â Of course he’s got some big shoes to fill, but time will get him there.Â What I want to see from Ziggy today is not Aaron Smith, but Ziggy.Â He’s his own person and this is an opportunity to show how much he’s grown over last year.Â C’mon Ziggy, let’s get it – Steeler Nation is cheering for you!!
On offense, we need to get Rashard involved more and focus on moving the chains.Â Forget style points and big “air it out” plays, just move chains and put points on the board.Â Hold on to the ball and watch turnovers *cough* Ben *cough*.Â No heroics necessary today, just play hard.
ThisÂ game is going to be close.Â But the Steelers have been playing well on the road, they have an additional chip on their shoulders with Smith out.
My prediction: Steelers 17 – Saints 14.
What’s your prediction?