After their thrilling, 24-20 win at San Diego last Monday night, the Steelers are pretty much where anyone who was paying attention thought they would be playing without the services of injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 1-1.
I didn’t think they would beat the Ravens - even though I think Baltimore is not very good - at home with just one day to prepare Mike Vick to play. But I did think they would win at San Diego with Vick having had a full week of preparation.
I was, however, wrong on one point. I thought Vick would play better last week than he had against the Ravens. He made a couple of nice throws that helped the Steelers pull out a victory. But as a whole, it wasn’t a very good game for the veteran quarterback.
He threw a couple of passes that probably should have been intercepted, including one that would have gone for a touchdown had it been caught.
If he plays in a similar fashion against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, the Steelers will lose. Arizona’s defensive backs don’t drop interceptions. They already have 11 this season.
And when they get their hands on the ball, they score, something they’ve done four times in the first five games.
Arizona already has five touchdowns on returns - the other is on a kickoff - which is a big reason the Cardinals lead the NFL in scoring at 38 points per game.
In other words, this was not a good week for Antonio Brown to go to Vick and ask him to take some chances down the field - though that doesn’t necessarily mean Vick will do that.
If you take chances against the Cardinals, it could end up costing you seven points.
And Arizona’s offense is the best the Steelers will have faced this season - with all due respect to New England.
The Cardinals have a lot of weapons and quarterback Carson Palmer is playing the best football of his career. He’s tied with Aaron Rodgers for the league lead in touchdown passes with 13.
Add in a solid running game and I just don’t see how the Steelers keep up in this one.
Pittsburgh is a 4-point underdog at home and I think Arizona covers that, even though the Steelers’ defense is ahead of schedule in terms of making plays.
Take the Cardinals, 27-17.
• Steelers safety Mike Mitchell was fined $8,681 for a hit on San Diego tight end Antonio Gates away from the play on Monday night.
I didn’t see the play in question, so I’m not going to comment whether the fine was just or not.
• I’m not sure why it was news at all Friday that Roethlisberger was not going to play against the Cardinals. Anyone with a brain in their head knew that.
He was limited in practice all week. And by limited, I mean he tossed the ball around in some position drills and did 7-on-7 work but wasn’t ready to step into any teams portion of practice because the staff was concerned somebody might fall into him and he couldn’t move out of the way.
Again, I’d put Roethlibserger’s possible return at 50-50 next week at Kansas City - if he can regain some lateral mobility - with a comeback much more likely against Cincinnati in two weeks.
Besides, I think the Steelers can beat the Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs without Roethlisberger.