The Steelers are the type of team that can win in multiple ways. They can beat you with their ground game. They can beat you through the air. They can even occasionally beat you with just a smothering defense.
They have an All-Pro running back, offensive guard, center and wide receiver on offense. They have five players on defense with at least 3.0 sacks on the year. In other words, they have a pretty talented roster across the board.
The Lions have a fairly talented roster, too, and they’re equipped to deal with some of these talented players. But today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Steelers player poses the biggest threat against this Lions team?
My answer: It has to be Le’Veon Bell.
While Antonio Brown may the most talented player on the Steelers roster, I think Darius Slay can contend fairly well in that matchup. Brown certainly got the better of the Lions the last time the two faced in 2013, amassing 147 receiving yards and two touchdowns. But that was Slay’s rookie year and he barely played in the game.
Defensively, there isn’t one specific player that poses a unique threat to Detroit. The Steelers work extremely well as a unit, and they have a multiple players that can hurt you.
That’s why I think it has to be Bell. The Steelers Pro Bowl running back isn’t having his best year, averaging a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry—his lowest total since his rookie year—but he is still the key to their offense. In the Steelers’ five wins this year, Bell is averaging 115.2 rushing yards and 4.14 yards per carry. In their two losses: 54.0 rushing yards and just 3.6 YPC.
Detroit has faired okay defending the run, but without Haloti Ngata, it is unclear how efficient this defense will be. Last game, they were pounded by a Saints running game to the tune of 193 rushing yards. They’ve been mostly good at defending the run outside of that game, but Bell’s running style is like no other. Detroit’s young defense will have to stay disciplined and patient on Sunday night, or Pittsburgh will control, and likely win, the game.