Having first-hand experience Steelers Nation, I believe there are several similarities between my hometown Bears and the Steelers. For one, both franchises are steeped in blue-collar tradition. The two organizations are also well known for their menacing defenses (see Mean Joe Greene and Samurai Mike Singletary for details).
Both franchises are also known for their passionate fan bases. For the cities of Pittsburgh and Chicago, it boils down to neither liking a loser (unless you’re talking about the Chicago Cubs, but that’s another conversation for another time).
For the Steelers, their season is on the brink of getting nasty if they fall to 0-3 Sunday night. For the Bears to come out of their prime time matchup with the Steelers with a win, there are several keys for them to be victorious.
First, the Bears offense must protect the ball. The Steelers’ 3-4 defense is still as formidable as ever, and Troy Polamalu looks like Troy Polamalu. Marc Trestman and Jay Cutler can take advantage of the Steelers’ small corners, but the offense works best if Matt Forte is fed the ball. A steady diet of run and pass should keep the Steelers off-balance. If the Bears utilizes this strategy, they’ll find themselves in great shape for the win.
Now, as for the defense, they need to take advantage of the inexperienced offensive line of the Steelers. The Bears can do so by bringing constant pressure with the front-four. During the live broadcast, the names Julius Peppers, Shea McClellin, Stephen Paea and Corey Wootton need to be brought up many, many times.
If so, that means Ben Roethlisberger is taking a pounding in the pocket. The defense also needs to keep the Steelers’ suspect running game in check. If the Bears’ front-four wants to tee off on Big Ben, then they are going to need to put the Steelers’ offense in obvious passing downs.
This is a trap game for the Bears. This is a winnable game, but the Steelers, 0-2 or not, are a proud team. Mike Tomlin‘s team is going to make the Bears earn it. Truth be told, the Bears wouldn’t want the Steelers to roll over.