The Pittsburgh Steelers look to rebound from an 0-3 start against the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. It’s an away game, but it’s being played in London’s Wembley Stadium. For a team that often doesn’t travel as far as many NFL teams because they’re in the AFC North, this is going to be a big road trip. At least it doesn’t count as a home game, which is the scenario the Vikings are in. Wonder who called that coin toss? The Vikings have attempted to make London feel like home, arriving there on Tuesday. The Steelers? They landed Friday morning, somewhere around 3 am Pittsburgh local time. As a fairly frequent traveler, I think they made the wrong call, because for me Jet lag always happens mid-afternoon on day two. For the Steelers, that will be right around game time. Maybe it was a gentleman’s agreement to give the Vikes a bit of a home-field advantage, eh?
Putting the Steelers’ desynchronosis issues aside, there’s really only one key thing the Steelers need to focus on to win this game: protect the football! If it weren’t for the points they’ve given up to teams after turn-overs, they Steeler fans and pundits wouldn’t be discussing how bad of a season this is going to be. No, they’d be discussing what it will take to stay in first place in the division and we’d be rooting for key AFC teams to lose to position ourselves for better playoff positions in spite of a desynchronized offense. There’s been a few fumbles, but interceptions from throws under pressure and QB fumbles have been especially painful. Either through play design or better protection, the Steelers need to give Roethlisberger some sense of security in the pocket.
Like many other attitudes, turnovers seem to be infectious as well. So hopefully Coach Tomlin and the Steelers’ staff can solve not only the jet-lag, but also the turnover bug that’s been biting them. Either way, it’s going to be a fun game. “Look kids, Big Ben! Parliament!” The Steelers iconic QB finally plays in the city of his eponym. A quick trivia question: How far is Wembley Stadium from Big Ben and Parliament? About 12 km, or 7 miles. Seven. It gotta be a sign. Go Steelers! Come home 1-3.