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3 Potential Trap Games For the Steelers In 2024

A common theme during the Mike Tomlin tenure has been playing up to the level of superior opponents and playing down to the level of inferior teams. In other words, there is rarely a stress-free game if you are a Steelers fan.

It is more difficult than some years to pinpoint “trap games,” as the schedule is so incredibly difficult with very few weak opponents included. However, there are three games that stand out to me specifically that I would identify as potential let-down games. We will discuss each of these games below.

Week 1- At Atlanta Falcons

Arthur Smith’s return to Atlanta happens in short order, as the Steelers face the new-look Falcons in Week 1. While Arthur Smith will certainly be fired up to go against his former team, he is not the only person involved who will be a little fired up. Kirk Cousins, who was signed this offseason, is ready to light the world on fire after the team also spent a first-round pick on quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. I fully anticipate a new-look Kirk Cousins who will be playing with a new level of passion and determination, as he wants to cement his status as the quarterback of this team for not just this year, but also the future. With Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore, and other viable weapons, this should be a competent offense from Day 1. Not to mention, the Steelers have not always come out of the gate hot during the Mike Tomlin era. Ahead of Russell Wilson’s revenge game against Denver, I could see Atlanta giving the Steelers issues.

Week 6- At Las Vegas Raiders

It is never easy to play on the West Coast, but it is even worse when a game on the West Coast is sandwiched in between to primetime games against two teams in two of the biggest sports markets. The Raiders have the makings of a typical trap opponent for the Steelers. Whether it be Aidan O’Connell or Gardner Minshew at quarterback, this team has a physical defense and an improved offensive line, and if the Steelers come out the gate slowly on offense, there could be trouble. I am not fully on board with the hype surrounding the Jets and Cowboys, but if their quarterbacks are healthy, they will be competitive week in and week out. The Steelers cannot afford to take it easy in Week 6, though, because this Raiders team has the pieces to grind out an ugly, low-scoring win.

Week 10- At Washington Commanders

Another game the Steelers usually come out sluggish in under Mike Tomlin is the game after the bye week. Granted, the Steelers have a long history of dominating rookie quarterbacks. While I definitely think that works in their favor, this Washington team has a better offense than people are giving them credit for. If the Steelers do not contain Jayden Daniels on the ground, it could be a long day. My biggest fear about this game, however, is the fact it is coming right before what has the potential to be the toughest 8-game stretch in NFL history, as it includes all six divisional matchups and two Super Bowl contenders. If the Steelers look past this one, it could kill all momentum heading into tough divisional matchups.


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