The human elbow … Right now that one body part might be considered the bane of every Steelers fan’s existence.
So what is the outlook for the Pittsburgh Steelers?
In short, it’s not good. They’re 0-2 and moving on without Big Ben for the rest of the season. They went from legitimate Super Bowl contenders at the best online sportsbooks to No. 24 on the Power Rankings charts at top analytical sites.
There is a silver lining. They are still better than quite a few teams in the AFC. Mason Rudolph looked good when he came in to replace Roethlisberger; he even dropped two TD passes into the hands of Vance McDonald. Because of this, NFL.com rates the Steelers at No. 19, which is just a smidge on the wrong side of the middle of the pack.
Mason will get his first true test against the 49ers on Sunday when they head to San Francisco as 6.5-point underdogs. If the Niners win, it will be the first time that they’ve gone 3-0 since 1998! How will Mason Rudolph handle the starting job. There is a lot more pressure in having to come out and run the offense from the beginning than stepping in mid-game. Furthermore, there is even more pressure on the young QB because he is the Steelers only hope. To make matters worse, it looked like James Conner was stepping light on one knee during their bout against the Seahawks. He also struggled to find holes in the defense, not just in Week 2, but in Week 1 as well. So, I wonder if the Steelers might have an 0-3 start in 2019?
The 49ers got the win in Week 1 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite the 31-17 score, it was pretty ugly. That all changed in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers put up 41 points and looked good doing it. John Lynch’s rebuild tactics seem like they might be finally paying off in dividends.
Both wins came on the road. Now Garoppolo and his offense get to face a hobbled opponent in front of their fans during their home-opener. The offensive line will get its chance to shine again. Jimmy Garoppolo gave the credit to his O-line in the Niners’ ability to score at will last week.
Pittsburg is averaging 14.5 points per game, while the Niners are putting up 36 per show. Defensively, the 49ers are only allowing 17 per game which is near twice as good as the Steelers 30.5 per game allowed. ‘
At half-time, the Steelers have an average score of just 5 points. Meanwhile, the Niners averaged 15 points in the first half – fighting back from an early deficit with a rookie QB in a hostile environment is not a place that Mike Tomlin wants to be.
In addition to winning in Week 1 and Week 2, the 49ers have covered the point spread in both games as well. Conversely, the Steelers failed to cover in both games and lost as well. Historically, the 49ers have a slight advantage over the Steelers in their interconference series. San Francisco has won four of seven and covered the spread against Pittsburgh the same number of times.
All in all, signs point to the 49ers getting the win on Sunday. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Steelers are doomed. If Mason Rudolph can put together a good game against a tough team on the road, Pittsburgh might still be able to pull off a winning season, or at least go .500