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Three Keys To Victory For The Steelers Against 49ers

Can you smell that in the air? It’s finally football season. We’ve been kept entertained the last couple weeks with college football but now it’s time for the real deal. College football is great, but it doesn’t compare to the NFL. The NFL is a different beast. Since the Kansas City Chiefs took down the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl we’ve been yearning for football and here it is, right at our doorstep. What are the Pittsburgh Steelers keys to victory in Week One? Let’s dive into it.

Steelers O-Line Must Keep Kenny Pickett Safe

Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has a much improved offensive line this year. The Pickett Fence if you will. The addition of former Eagle Isaac Seumalo will be huge for Pickett and company as he had a great first camp and preseason as a Steeler and it looks like Dan Moore will be his partner over there on the left side as Broderick Jones finds his role on the team as a young guy. Jones’ day will come, but Moore also had a great camp and although he’s faced a lot of criticism in his young Steelers career, he looks ready to go.

The right side of the line will feature James Daniels and Chuks Okorafor, two guys who led the offensive line unit last year as Daniels didn’t allow a sack all season. One of the few bright spots from last season’s line. Mason Cole proved to be a solid center last year as well, and the Steelers have built up some offensive line depth for the first time in a handful of years as they will have their first-round pick Broderick Jones, Nate Herbig who is versatile, and late round draft pick Spencer Anderson who also has positional flexibility up there. Can’t forget about the role tight end Darnell Washington will play in the blocking game.

Thunder & Lightning Must Strike Early & Often

We’ve seen the discourse surrounding the Steelers running back room all offseason. Jaylen Warren has grown into a perfect counterpart to Najee Harris, hence why fans have coined the nickname Thunder & Lightning. While Warren has proven to have a good burst with his 60+ yard touchdown against Buffalo in the preseason, the question remains, Will he be ready to be gameplanned for this season?

Harris comes into his third NFL season facing more criticism than ever. Steelers fans want him to take every handoff 70 yards for a touchdown, and that’s just not the type of running back he is. He never has been advertised that way either, which is why it’s so hard to wrap your head around why Steelers fans expect that. We’re idiots sometimes. Harris is a great back. While he’s not going to blow by you, he’s going to go through you. Harris is going to make you taste-test the turf to get where he needs to be. Pittsburgh has asked him to turn water into wine in his first two years with the garbage offensive lines they’ve put in front of him, but this year he should find bigger holes than he has seen since Alabama.

Put Pressure On Purdy, He Will Melt

The Steelers defensive front is loaded this season, and they need them to get it going in week one against Brock Purdy and the 49ers. San Francisco does trot out a great offensive line, but it shouldn’t be too much for TJ Watt and company. If the Steelers can be down Purdy’s throat early and keep the pressure on, it should bode well for them. Force him to make decisions. Don’t let Kyle Shanahan hold his hand and walk him through the game.

The 49ers offense is predicated on just getting the ball into the playmaker’s hands quickly and letting them cook the meal. Guys like Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey are lethal if you give them an open field. The Steelers must get to Purdy early and often if they want to keep guys like Samuel, Kittle, and McCaffrey in the stable.


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