Steelers boast a strong post-bye record as the Saints travel there Sunday after a short week | Saints | Tech US News


While the New Orleans Saints have to travel after an already short week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been relaxing for almost two weeks.

The two teams will play at noon Sunday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. At kickoff, it will be six days since the Saints’ last game — a 27-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday — and 14 days since the Steelers’ last game — an Oct. 30 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. followed by the Steelers’ bye week.

“We all have to play 60 minutes,” Saints tight end Juwan Johnson said. “It can work two ways for them. They can come out really fresh or they can come out really slow. Coming off the bye is always pretty tricky.

“But for us, it’s just going to come out the same: we’re always hungry.”

History indicates that the Steelers are likely to come out refreshed. Since Mike Tomlin took over as coach in 2007, the Steelers are 11-4 in games following the sack. They are 6-3 in road games and 5-1 in home games.

The 11 wins after a bye are the second-most in the NFL over the past 15 years. The 12-3 Indianapolis Colts have the single best resume. Along with the Steelers, the Ravens and Atlanta Falcons are 11-4. The Saints are 10-5.

“Mike Tomlin is a hell of a coach,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “They’ve been a very good team for a long time. It’s going to be a tough place to play. And after they have a bye week, I know coach Tomlin has a pretty good record after a bye week, so this is going to be a challenge difficult”.

The Steelers averaged 25.3 points per game in post-fire contests under Tomlin. This season, however, they have averaged just 15 points per game overall.

The Saints allow an average of 25.2 points per game, which ranks 28th in the NFL.

“There’s work that needs to be done every day to get to where we want to be,” Saints co-defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. “… There are no questions that we’re not there yet. But spirit style: keep the positivity. Because the bitterness, the anger, it’s not going to solve it.”

Keeping that mindset can be easier said than done. The Saints are 3-6.

“Playing in the NFL is a tough, challenging, mental and physical thing that these players have to go through,” Allen said. “The short week makes it even harder.”

The Saints have been in tough scheduling positions already this season.

The Saints played in London on October 2 – losing to the Minnesota Vikings 28-25 – and had to play right after returning to the United States on October 9, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 39-32.

The Saints also played Oct. 16 at home — losing to the Cincinnati Bengals 30-26 — then had to play on the road five days later — losing to the Arizona Cardinals 42-34.

New Orleans’ bye week isn’t until Week 14, the latest possible date this season.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter,” Saints quarterback Andy Dalton said. “For us, we have to prepare to play this game on Sunday.”


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