First off, let's look at the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers: They have an excellent coaching staff. Tomlin is entering his second season with the Steelers and so is offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Steelers were very efficient on offense last year in Arians first year as the offensive coordinator. Big Ben had his best year yet, and was second in passer rating last year behind Tom Brady. They also return Dick Lebeau as their defensive coordinator who guided them to third in pass defense, third in rush defense, and first in overall defense. The Steelers offense: Big Ben (Pro Bowler) was a beast last year. 3,150 yards, 65% completion percentage, 32 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. However he was sacked 47 times last year, so if we are going to stop Big Ben and this offense we will need to get pressure. This will be a good game, as the first game of the season, to get a pass rush going. Practically all of Big Ben's targets last year returned to the team this year. Santonio Holmes is developing nicely into their #1 WR, and a true force with his speed. He accounted for 52 catches last year for a whopping 18.1 yards per catch. That adds up to 942 receiving yards with 8 touchdowns. This guy is legit and we will need to game plan around him, as he will stretch the field. Hines Ward is still around and tough as ever. He had 7 touchdowns last year with 71 catches and 732 yards. Only 10.3 yards per catch is the lowest of his career, however he is still a very effective possession receiver and blocker. Limas Sweed and Nate Washington will compete for that #3 WR spot and they are both good receivers. They also have solid TE's in Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth. They can both catch it, and Heath Miller was a huge target for them last year catching 47 passes for 566 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has a similar skill set as Owen Daniels but he is alot bigger. 6-5 250. Their running game is really the scariest aspect of the offense, as always. Fast Willie Parker (Pro Bowler) returns but with a new sidekick, Rashard Mendenhall. They also have Gary Russell as a third running back. He was the third running back in that nasty group of RBs (Laurence Maroney, Marion Barber) with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. We will need to control this stable of running backs or we will have no chance in this game. Their offensive line looks like this: LT Willie Colon (18 starts) LG Kendall Simmons (76 starts) C Sean Mahan (52 starts) G Chris Kemoeatu (2 starts) RT Marvel Smith (103 starts). They lost Faneca but they should still have a strong solid group. The Steelers defense: This is the strength of the team, and arguably the best defense in the league. The Steelers run the 3-4 as we all know so it all starts up front with the 3 down lineman Aaron Smith, Galveston native Casey Hampton (Pro Bowler), and Brett Keisel. This is a very effective front 3, especially Hampton in the middle. He and Vince Wolfork make up the top 2 nose tackles in the league in my opinion. Their linebackers are scary. They have Woodley on left outside spot behind A. Smith, James Farrior and Larry Foote on the inside, and James Harrison (Pro Bowler) on the right outside spot behind Brett Keisel. Lawrence Timmons, the young linebacker out of Florida State and former first rounder is a key backup behind the outside linebackers. Bruce Davis, a rookie from UCLA, should also provide some depth behind the inside linebackers. Look for Davis and Timmons especially to get some playing time throughout the game, keeping those fast and instinctive linebackers fresh. Bryant McFadden, Deshea Townsend, and Ike Taylor are three solid corners to have. Look for Townsend and Taylor to start again this year with McFadden as a nickel back. Troy Polamalu (Pro Bowler) is their star in the secondary. This guy has arguably the most range of any safety in the league. Schaub will have to be smart when throwing the ball in his direction, because Polamalu is one of the biggest playmakers at safety this league has. We may see a change at FS after Anthony Smith did his talking last year at the wrong times, but it is also possible to see him back in that FS spot this year. Special Teams: They still have Jeff Reed as their kicker, and Daniel Sepulveda was their punter this year until he had a season ending injury. Mitch Berger is now their punter. Nate Washington and Melwelde Moore are their returners and neither are particularly dangerous. Yes guys, this game is going to be a hard one. We have got to run the football on these guys and keep their running backs in check or we are going to put our QB in some bad situations. This is the kind of game where you can get a QB knicked up. Hearing that in the first game is hard, I know, but without a running game we might end up seeing it. Ahman Green needs to come out and atleast contribute because a rookie like Slaton is not going to be able to carry our team against a FAST defense like this one. Matt Schaub should be fine if he has a running game to support him. Their corners are the weakest part of their defense, but still not a weakness. Maybe our receivers can have a nice opening day against them. Our defense needs to step up against the run. This preseason hasn't looked exactly promising when it comes to our run defense. I will look for our whole front 4 and their backups to really set the tone in this game. DeMeco should be successful with a good push upfront. Hopefully Greenwood steps his game up as well, or I look for another linebacker to come out and push him for time. Our secondary will have to be smart when dealing with Holmes, Ward, and Miller. It will be a true test for this secondary. This whole game will be a test for this team. We are facing a Super Bowl contender this week, one that has an strong identity (tough defense, run the football). Let's set the tone for the season.