Steelers vs Vikings: Early causes for concern this week

·2 min read

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a much-needed win on Sunday over the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. But there’s no time to celebrate as the Steelers have to now immediately turn around and travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Thursday night. Here is what we are worried about this week.

The schedule makers were harsh

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Not only are the Steelers playing on Thursday night but they are doing it after playing an afternoon game the week before. And they are doing it on the road. After playing the Ravens. Meanwhile, the Vikings got an early kickoff against the hapless Detroit Lions after a short trip to Detroit.

Reading the headlines

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One of the reasons the Steelers were able to get up for last week’s game was taking all that criticism from the week before and turning it into motivation. This week the Steelers are going to hear about how great they played and this could backfire on them on a short week.

No-huddle offense?

P (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

All the evidence is there for the Steelers to hand over the offense to Ben Roethlisberger and let him run tempo and no-huddle when he sees fit. But there’s no doubt head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t going to do that, even if it helps the team win.

The return of injured Vikings

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The two guys on the Vikings to track this week are wide receiver Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook. In the Vikings Monday simulated injury report, both players would have missed practice. But if one or both are back, the pressure that puts on the Steelers defense goes up exponentially.

The hangover is real

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The Steelers put out a tremendous amount of energy, both physical and emotional, on Sunday to come back and then hold off the Ravens. But on a short week, this team could be hungover and come out even flatter than they normally start. With very little time to physically rest and prepare, the key will be for the coaches to get the players’ minds right for this game.

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