Location: Pittsburgh PA,; Stadium: Heinz Field (65,500); Weather: 73 degrees and sunny; Kickoff: 7:30 PM ET; TV Coverage: KDKA-TV; Announcers: Bob Pompeani (play-by-play), Edmund Nelson (Color analyst), Jeff Verszyla (sideline); Coaches: Mike Tomlin (Steelers) vs. Andy Reid (Chiefs)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Judging from the first two preseason games, there is not much positive to take from them. The Steelers have suffered from two losses in a row (Giants and Redskins). Now the black and gold are heading into their third preseason game, which is the closest game you will find to a regular season game. The starters will play at least for the first half coach Mike Tomlin said in his press conference on Thursday.
The defense has been one of the bright spots on the team so far this preseason. They have picked up where they left off in 2012. They forced the Redskins to four turnovers and converting just 22% of their third down conversions (2/9).
The offense on the other hand has struggled. Injuries have made them thin at running back and tight end. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger thew an interception for a touchdown last week to linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. The offensive line has been sloppy through out the entire preseason. Last week, the offensive line was flagged on four converted plays that should have been first downs. Receivers Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Markus Wheaton have all looked solid.
Kansas City Chiefs: Head coach Any Reid is entering his first season coaching the Chiefs. Reid was the head coach/vice president of football operations for the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 years. Reid won six division titles during his time with Philadelphia, but now with a team that has been a losing team for the most part in the past decade, Reid will look to turn their luck around.
Quarterback Alex Smith has already played a lot of preseason football in 2013. Smith played for an entire half last week against the 49ers. Smith has completed 58% of his passes this preseason for 130 yards. Like Roethlisberger, Smith has not thrown for a touchdown in the preseason to this point, but Smith has also not thrown an interception either.
What to look for: 1. The offensive line in it’s entirety must be better on Saturday. The Steelers are still looking for their 7th and possibly 8th man on the offensive line for the 53 man roster. 2. Position battles are really heated up as the Steelers will still need to figure out who their right outside linebacker will be; the safety and running back depth. 3. The Steelers invited officials to practice this past week. Look to see if they commit less penalties.
Spotlight Player: Ben Roethlisberger has yet to throw a touchdown in the preseason. In a game where he is expected to play an entire half at least, I would like to see Roethlisberger drive the ball down the field for at least two touchdowns.
Team Quotes: Ryan Clark: “This next game is important. I know people always talk about the all-important third preseason game. But I think for us and the way we played, not capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes, continuing to make mistakes ourselves, it’s important that we clean it up.” Mike Tomlin: It’s about getting into a legitimate game plan, putting together things that we identify we want to run situationally vs. things our opponent wants to run situationally.
Bottom Line: The struggle in the first two preseason games has Steeler Nation a little scared. A win and a well developed game plan will give the fans something to settle on.
Steeler Nation, make sure to check back in after the game to read Steelers N Stuff’s Post Game Huddle. You can only get all of this access here so please spread the word!