Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Behind The Steel Curtain in order to preview this Week 5 Philadelphia Eagles versus Pittsburgh Steelers matchup and [you can read that here]. Today, we’re back with three reasons why each team might lose. This exchange allows us to show what the other side is concerned about.
Read on for why the Steelers could lose, as written by Jeff Hartman. To see why I think the Eagles could lose, stay tuned to BTSC.
1) History doesn’t lie
The Eagles are one of the few teams the Steelers have not just struggled with recently, but historically. We all know the stats about Pittsburgh playing in Philadelphia (0-9 since 1966), but even though the Steelers’ record is better in the western part of the state, they have the worst winning percentage against the Eagles than any other team in their history. That can change with a Steelers win on Sunday, but in the meantime a game against the Eagles is never seen as easy for Steelers fans.
Ben Roethlisberger has played against the Eagles four times in his long career. At home, he is 2-0, and on the road he is 0-2. Some might see this as history dictating a win for the black and gold, but the overall history, and recent struggles against Philadelphia, remain in the forefront of Steelers fans minds as they await the Week 5 showdown.
2) Start streaking again
The Steelers have been a team who has been loose with the ball over the years. Roethlisberger has had games with 5 interceptions, and they have had their share of fumbling issues between players like Benny Snell Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster and even James Conner. In Week 3 vs. Houston the Steelers snapped a streak of over 20 games with a turnover.
Fans would literally wait for it every week, almost as if to get it out of the way. But that all ended vs. the Texans.
If the Steelers lose this game at Heinz Field, I feel almost certain they will do so giving the ball to the Eagles on multiple occasions. If they don’t shoot themselves in the foot, they are a tough out, but they have shown they are more likely to turn the ball over than they aren’t. With a Philadelphia defense strong enough to potentially get a strip sack and return it for points, those type of plays are a death knell for Pittsburgh’s hopes of winning.
3) Philadelphia’s defensive front takes over
The Steelers have had turnover along their offensive line. Guard Ramon Foster retired after 2019, they moved tackle Matt Feiler to Foster’s position and Zach Banner won the job at right tackle in training camp. Banner tore his ACL in Week 1, and was replaced by Chukwuma Okorafor. Okorafor has done a good job so far, but Feiler and Okorafor are the weak links along the offensive line early in this season.
But this is more about the Eagles’ ferocious pass rush, and less about the Steelers’ offensive line. The Eagles don’t just have quality pass rushers, but they have a plethora of them who can come in off the bench and make plays in the opponent’s backfield. Sure, in theory the Steelers can run a hurry up style offense to not allow the Eagles to substitute, but this is easier said than done.
Fans remember those games in Philadelphia where Roethlisberger was harrassed and sacked almost every time he dropped back. If a pass rush gets to Roethlisberger early, he will start to get happy feet and not be able to hold onto the ball as long as he would like to deliver a strike down the field. The Steelers aren’t necessarily the deep passing team they once were, but Roethlisberger will take his shots. If the Eagles’ defensive line is on their game, they absolutely could wreck the Steelers’ game plan and go back to the eastern part of the state with their second win of the season.