By Hombre de Acero
The Pittsburgh Steelers will arrive at their Christmas day show down with the Baltimore Ravens on the heels of a 24-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that extended their winning streak to 5 games and improved their record to 9-5.
And the stakes in this game are pretty simple. Win and the Steelers earn another AFC North title, lose and Steelers Nation will spend the time between Christmas and New Year’s openly clutching Rosary Beads and secretly stuffing pins into voodoo dolls, all while they memorize the NFL’s oft arcane wild card tie breaking rules.
But before reaching the defining moment of the 2016 regular season, this segment of the Black and Gold legion must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions.
1. Following the Bengals win, Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola asserted this:
Last year, the Steelers lose this game…. They won and set themselves up for that because when the Bengals tried to play pitch-and-catch on third-and-long, the Steelers had cornerbacks on the field who broke up the passes. Both passes. One by each cornerback.
Agree or disagree with his assessment. Defend your choice.
2. Don’t look now, but for the first time in, well I don’t know how long, Antonio Brown wasn’t the Steelers leading wide receiver. Eli Rogers earned that honor. We’ve discussed this topic enough, but do you think Eli Rogers has shown enough to be considered a legit number 2 for the stretch run?
3. Here’s a true chicken-egg question: Which was more important to the Steelers win, Chris Boswell’s 6 field goals or his shoe string tackle?
4. The Steelers Pro Bowl squad comprised of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro should surprise no one.
Did anyone the Pro Bowl selection process snub any members of the Steelers defense? If you argue “yes” then be ready to defend your choice.
5. Finally, it’s been 784 days since the Pittsburgh Steelers last defeated the Baltimore Ravens. A lot has changed since then. What makes you think that the Steelers can break their losing streak against the Ravens this Christmas? (Or do you?)