Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Vs Pittsburg Steelers Week 1 Game Preview

Pittsburgh Steelers Washington Redskins MNF Preview Jack Kurzenknabe via Flickr


The Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins will kickoff Monday Night Football

The Washington Redskins have not beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers in 25 years. The last time the Redskins and Steelers played on Monday night, was November 2008. The night before, Obama was elected president. Although the game was in Washington, “Terrible Towels” terrorized Fed Ex Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers coasted to a 23-6 victory, despite Ben Roethlisberger being knocked out of the game.

Eight years later, not much has changed for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The defense is no longer elite, but they’re still led by head coach Mike Tomlin. Since that time, “Big Ben” has progressed to an elite level. Like the the 08′ season, the Steelers appear to be in contention for another Super Bowl.

For the Washington Redskins to pull off the upset on Monday night, they’ll have to do several things to ensure a victory in front of a national audience.

1) Stop the run 

If Pittsburgh can become balanced on offense, the Redskins chance to win this game. Fortunately, Le’Veon Bell is out due to suspension, but DeAngelo Williams, is more than capable of filling in for bell. Last year, Williams accounted for 907 yards on 200 touches. He also found the endzone 11 times. Although he’s 33, DeAngelo Williams is still productive. The Redskins allowed 122.6 rushing yards per contest last year, with a 4.8 ypc average.

2) Pressure Big Ben 

 The Redskins desperately need Preston Smith to step up at outside linebacker, opposite Ryan Kerrigan. Smith finished 2015 strong, and led all rookies with eight sacks. If Smith can develop has a pass rusher, the Redskins would have a perfect pass rusher to compliment Kerrigan.

At 6-foot-5 240 lbs, “Big Ben” is the toughest quarterback in the NFL to bring down. Roethlisberger is exceptional at extending plays and normally they lead to big gains down the field. A big game from the duo of Smith and Kerrigan can increase Washington‘s chances of a “W”.

3) Limit Antonio Brown 

Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steelers receivers present a stiff test for the Redskins revamped secondary. The Redskins play a lot of zone, so Brown should see different defenders. This is why the Redskins brought Josh Norman aboard though. Norman and Brown should face off quite a bit. Breshaud Breeland is capable of a big game and safety play should be improved with the addition of Norman. D-Hall is one that should benefit tremendously from the Norman addition.

4) Consistency on the Ground  

Washington struggled mightily running the football last year. However with the improvements in the passing game, the running game doesn’t have to be dominant just consistent. Matt Jones will be given every opportunity as the starter, but Robert Kelly has shown flashes. Regardless of who the lead back is, at least 80 yards rushing should be able to give the Redskins some balance.

5) Win the Turnover Battle 

It’s a rudimentary in a sense that obviously your chances are great to win if you create turnovers and don’t turn the ball over. Washington finished first in the NFL in fumble recoveries and fifth in forced fumbles last season. Expect Washington defenders to be a bit opportunistic. On offense, Kirk Cousins has to be smart with the football. Although the Steelers aren’t as dominant as they once were, they still pressure the quarterback. The unit finished 3rd in the NFL in sacks and sixth in the NFL in interceptions.

6) Establish an Identity

Yes, we know what Kirk Cousins and the offense can do. This however, is more so directed towards the defense. With an improved secondary, the pass rush should be able to be effective. Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are two of the best in the league at getting after the quarterback and the linebackers should follow suit.