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Print

Time to stack the wins

Posted Nov 24, 2011

With just six games to go in the regular season Steelers players know winning is the only thing from here on in.

“We’ve got to win out,” said defensive end Brett Keisel. “We have to take it one game at a time and win each game if we want to be in the post-season. A lot of teams are in the same spot in the AFC. It’s going to be important to win finishing out November and going into December.”

The Steelers have won five of their last six games, but know there isn’t any margin for error moving forward.

“It’s our mindset this time of year you always want to be playing good ball,” said tight end Heath Miller. “We want to be a hot team. There are a lot of teams in the hunt. We have no choice but to win all of our games and hopefully make it in to the playoffs. At this point you think about winning each game one at a time.”

With a 1-2 record in the AFC North, winning the division is going to be an uphill battle, one that would come with benefits but also something the Steelers know isn’t a necessity as they won Super Bowl XL when they were a wildcard team and a sixth seed.

“It’s great to get that bye,” said Keisel. “It’s nice to get that and get rested up. But we have also gone in as a late seed, a sixth seed and won it that way. It just depends. As long as you are playing good football and getting into that where the team is really playing good team football at the end of the year you will give yourself an opportunity.”

The Steelers have three AFC games in a row starting with Kansas City on Sunday night, and the following two are division games against Cincinnati and Cleveland.

“Now we are jockeying for seeds,” said wide receiver Hines Ward. “Everybody is making that last push for the playoffs. Every game counts. You start to turn it up a little bit more, especially getting into the later parts of November and December you need to start putting together complete games, offense, defense and special teams. There is still a lot of ball left. We have to take it one game at a time. You can say the playoffs begin this week.”

* * *

The last time the Steelers traveled to Kansas City they lost to the Chiefs 27-24 in overtime. They know it’s not going to be any easier this time around, not just dealing with a 4-6 Chiefs team that is still in the hunt, but also the Arrowhead Stadium crowd.

“It’s one of the loudest ever,” said Trai Essex. “Last time we played there we lost in overtime. We are not taking anything for granted. They had a tough game against New England. We have to be on our p’s and q’s because it’s going to be a Sunday night game and their team is going to be hyped to play and the fans ready to go. It’s going to be loud.”

Players are expecting to see a sea of red in the stadium and know they have to overcome the noise factor.

“Going on the road to Kansas City, it’s a tough place to play,” said Ward. “It’s going to be a challenge for us. That crowd really gets into it. Being on primetime that crowd is going to be geared up for it. It’s going to be a playoff like atmosphere game.

“We have to be able to handle the noise on the road and at the same time have success going out there and making sure we do what we can control, not turn the ball over and execute on our plays.”

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