Detroit at Chicago  LIONS
Jacksonville at Cleveland  JAGUARS
Baltimore at Green Bay  PACKERS
Tampa Bay at Miami  BUCS
LA Rams at Minnesota  RAMS
Washington at New Orleans  SAINTS
Kansas City at NY Giants  CHIEFS
Arizona at Houston  CARDINALS
Buffalo at LA Chargers  CHARGERS
Cincinnati at Denver  BRONCOS
New England at Oakland  RAIDERS
Philadelphia at Dallas  COWBOYS

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The Steelers are working on a short week. On Thursday night at Heinz Field they’ll host the Tennessee Titans, and in that game, they’ll face no fewer than seven former Steelers coaches and players now on the Titans staff. That includes a Hall of Famer. Mike Tomlin talked about welcoming back his former defensive coordinator, “on the defensive side of the ball we playing Dick LeBeau and as awesome it will be to see Dick on a personal note, he’s not the type of guy you want to see on the headset. If you give him red paint he’s gonna paint the barn red. It’s one of his analogies. (hahaha)”

Cincinnati at Tennessee  TITANS
Cleveland at Detroit  LIONS
Green Bay at Chicago  PACKERS
LA Chargers at Jacksonville  CHARGERS
Minnesota at Washington  VIKINGS
New Orleans at Buffalo  SAINTS
NY Jets at Tampa Bay  BUCS
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis  STEELERS
Houston at LA Rams  RAMS
Dallas at Atlanta  FALCONS
NY Giants at San Francisco  GIANTS
New England at Denver  PATRIOTS
Miami at Carolina  PANTHERS

The Steelers are back at it, getting ready for the Colts in Indianapolis. Part of the preparation for Sunday’s game will be dealing with the crowd inside of a very loud Lucas Oil Field, and Ben Roethlisberger says “silent counts” will be a part of it, “we’ll definitely silent whether we’re in a dome or not. usually the best thing that takes a crowd out of it is playing well, for us, so if we can try and do that, that usually takes a crowd out of it.” The Steelers are the easy favorite in this game, so is this a trap game? Ben thinks otherwise, “we’re taking this like it’s the biggest game of our year, there’s no such thing as quote winnable games that’s something you guys make up, we don’t listen to those things. It’s an NFL football game, they’re professionals, we’re professionals. We have to go out and play our best football.”  Stephon Tuitt agrees, “I don’t believe in trap games, trap game, that’s because you went out there and didn’t pay attention to detail and technique during the week, taking someone for granted, they’re an NFL team, they’re coming out there trying to win at their stadium. They’re going to be 100 percent trying to beat us we gotta be 100 percent to play them.”

 

A weekend of rest and relaxation, and for the Steelers, a chance to hit the reset button. Today, with the bye week now behind them, it was back to work. For Martavis Bryant, back to answering questions. Bryant was asked about a comment Mike Tomlin made after the Lions game, and whether he was confident that Bryant would help the Steelers down the stretch. Tomlin said he was not. But Bryant doesn’t seem bothered by it, “it ain’t my business to worry about what someone else says about me, even though he’s the coach, I still have to go out and prepare, and show him what I’m capable of as always. You gotta prove yourself to him, so I wasn’t down on myself about what he said, no.”

 

Atlanta at Carolina  FALCONS
Baltimore at Tennessee  RAVENS
Cincinnati at Jacksonville  JAGUARS
Denver at Philadelphia  EAGLES
Indianapolis at Houston  COLTS
LA Rams at NY Giants  RAMS
Tampa Bay at New Orleans  SAINTS
Arizona at San Francisco  CARDINALS
Washington at Seattle  REDSKINS
Kansas City at Dallas  COWBOYS
Oakland at Miami  RAIDERS
Detroit at Green Bay  LIONS

On Tuesday, there was someone (presumably a Steelers player) who was dressed as the Grim Reaper. He made cameos in several interviews, including this interview I did with rookie sensation JuJu Smith-Schuster.  The player in costume was none other than Le’Veon Bell, bringing some levity to the locker room during the bye week. Meanwhile, I asked JuJu about the massive amount of attention he’s been getting.  I love his answer:

“I think at the end of the day playing at this level, social media nowadays everyone is watching, everyone has cameras, but I think the best thing about it is how much Pittsburgh loves their players and this city.”

JuJu and Bell 10-31-17

This is a good time for the Steelers. At the halfway point of the regular season, they’ll enjoy their bye week with a 6-2 record and a comfortable lead in the AFC North. Last night, more success on Sunday Night Football, and the touchdown that everybody’s talking about was a perfect pass from Ben Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Juju is the first player in NFL history to score four touchdowns before his 21st birthday. The 97-yard pass is the longest in team history, and JuJu says while he was headed for the end zone, he was thinking about a video game, and his low-speed rating in Madden, “to be honest, the reason I kept looking back, because in Madden my speed is like 82, 83. I think they’re going to catch me, next thing I know I was able to swerve to the right and get the touchdown.” Ben Roethlisberger knew it was a winning play, “I told him I said listen, next time you get that look if its a 22 look man, beat em with speed just get down there and thats what he did. Threw it over the top. I told him I didn’t know he had that much speed. He said he didn’t know that either.”

Minnesota at Cleveland (in London) VIKINGS
Atlanta at NY Jets  FALCONS
Carolina at Tampa Bay  PANTHERS
San Francisco at Philadelphia  EAGLES
Chicago at New Orleans  SAINTS
LA Chargers at New England  PATRIOTS
Oakland at Buffalo  BILLS
Indianapolis at Cincinnati  BENGALS
Houston at Seattle  SEAHAWKS
Dallas at Washington  COWBOYS
Pittsburgh at Detroit  STEELERS
Denver at Kansas City  CHIEFS

It appears that the Steelers are prepared to ride Le’Veon Bell for as far as he can take them. In the last two games (both wins) Bell carried the ball 67 times.  That might be the Steelers not-so-secret weapon. When Bell rushes 25-or-more times, the Steelers have never lost. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley was asked if he’s worried about working Bell too much, “we as a staff and coach T, talk about it all the time. We talk to him, monitor how he’s doing. He’s a young guy that doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear, as far as Le’Veon, he never wants to come off, you like that, you love that about a guy, to get stronger as the game goes on.” Translated, that means Haley isn’t concerned.