Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

Steelers vs. Bills, Preseason Week 2: Keys to Victory

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their second exhibition game of the 2023 preseason, and it is a home game vs. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. While winning these games doesn’t truly matter in the grand scheme of the 2023 Steelers, how the team plays on both sides of the ball does matter.

Here are some keys to “victory” for the Steelers in this first preseason game Friday night at Acrisure Stadium. Let’s start with the offense..

Offensive Keys

3rd down success

Especially with the starting offensive unit, winning on 3rd downs is going to be pivotal. In Kenny Pickett’s lone drive vs. Tampa Bay, there were two big conversions on third downs, one being the 33-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens. Have to win on these crucial downs.

Splash plays

We’ve all seen the methodical, time-consuming drives which were prevalent in the second half of the 2022 season, but what everyone would want to see more of are the splash plays. The big pass plays and the runs for over 15 yards. The Steelers were capable of doing that in Week 1 of the preseason, but can this become a new trend? Adding this dimension to the offense will be critical.

Protect the football

This could just be copy and pasted on a weekly basis, but don’t turn it over. I don’t care who the quarterback is, or the ball carrier is, protect the football.

Run the ball

In Tampa the Steelers starters came out throwing the ball around the yard. In this week’s game it would be great to see the offense showing the ability to run the ball at will. Run the rock.

Defensive Keys

Stop the Bills stars

The last time we saw the Buffalo Bills face the Steelers’ defense, it was ugly. The Bills big-play offense had their way with the Pittsburgh defense. With Josh Allen and company playing about a quarter and a half, this will be a great test for the Steelers defense.

No communication gaffes

Broken plays where players are running wild in open space are usually based on communication breakdowns on the defense. Minimizing these with many of the starters coming back would be a welcome sight for the defense.

Take the ball away

Patrick Peterson and Joey Porter Jr. are expected to play, and this should bode well for the pass defense in many ways. As always, taking the ball away is something which should always be high on the priority lists, even in the preseason.

Pressure the QB

Get after the quarterback will be the calling card for the Steelers defense, and the Steelers need to show they can do it against one of the best teams in the AFC. We know what T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith can do, but we’ll get to see more of Markus Golden and Nick Herbig in Week 2 of the preseason.

What are your keys to victory for the Steelers tonight vs. the Bills? Let us know in the comment section below, and to hear more about these topics check out my Friday “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below.

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