The Steelers will march into Acrisure Stadium for the first time this season on Saturday evening against the Buffalo Bills. But this means more than just another game where the team will go through the motions in the preseason. Instead, the team will have the opportunity to show some real growth.
There were hints of that already as the starting offense led by Kenny Pickett marched down the field against the Buccaneers. However, that was against the team’s second team and without even one of their starters out there. The Buffalo Bills will be playing their starters, and not just for a short time, but potentially a quarter and more. Buffalo’s defense is among the league’s best, boasting the second-best defense in the league a year ago by only allowing 17.9 points per game.
They return most of their starters from that team, and the core tenants who made them such a strong defense last year remain in place. So, Matt Canada and the Steelers’ offense has something to prove against the Bills. Can they run the ball efficiently and get ahead early in downs? Moreover, can the team get any chunk plays overall to bring together an offense that had the fewest amount of touchdowns outside the red zone a year ago? The Steelers passing offense still fell well below the line as well, coming in with the fewest passing touchdowns in the NFL last year.
In other words, Pittsburgh needs to show they are different this year, but not just in practice. While the offense looks much better in Latrobe, it now needs to continue to translate against an NFL-starting defense. If the team can showcase that on Saturday evening, then there are reasonable expectations for the offense to take a leap moving forward. But it has to be proven first on the field against one of the best defenses in the NFL.