Last week the Steelers faced a Cleveland Browns defense that came out strong, ready to show the improvements they have made.
"That is a really good defense," said Ben Roethlisberger. "That team is going to surprise a lot of people. I am glad we played them game one."
This week, Roethlisberger knows it won't get any easier when they play the Minnesota Vikings, who are coming off a 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints, keeping them out of the end zone until the final two minutes of the game.
"We know going in how good their defense is," said Roethlisberger. "If you slow down that offense that they did, it's pretty impressive."
Roethlisberger said the Vikings defense has similarities to the Cincinnati Bengals from the past, and that comes as no surprise. Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer served as the Bengals defensive coordinator from 2008-13, and Zimmer's defenses were tough in Cincinnati, and that hasn't changed in Minnesota. Last year the Vikings had the third-ranked defense in the NFL, and they are looking equally impressive.
"They have a lot of similarities (to the Bengals)," said Roethlisberger. "They do the same sort of fronts and coverages. That's what we talked about this morning. When you think of these guys, think of Cincinnati.
"They have some personnel guys they move around. They don't do as much double barrel. It's early in the year so we are not exactly sure what we are going to see."
While Roethlisberger isn't sure what he is going to see from the Vikings, what he hopes to see in the Steelers' home opener at Heinz Field is the type of crowd he has seen take over games and have an impact on the outcome.
"I expect it, and hope it will be loud, crazy," said Roethlisberger. "We need to bring back that home field, Heinz Field kind of mystic. It was always that way when I first got here, the first few years. I am not saying we lost it.
"Teams need to fear coming into Heinz Field, one because of the fans and the craziness, and two because of our play."
More from Ben:
On stressing winning over stats to younger players;
"My philosophy has always been, from the youngest of ages, that should be all that matters, winning. It shouldn't matter what your stats are. Stats are for individuals. Winning is for team. That is the way it was when I got here. It was easy to keep that going. I think when young guys come here, they come from colleges nowadays that it's all about stats. You have to learn that is not what it's about here. It's about winning football games. Guys pick up on it really quick, because veteran guys, especially the line, keep you grounded."
On if having Martavis Bryant back helped Antonio Brown in coverage:
"The pass interference they got when they grabbed Antonio at the last minute, as soon as the ball was snapped the safety took off to Martavis, and that opened up Antonio one-on-one."
On if he was surprised to see the play T.J. Watt made on his interception against the Browns:
"He has tried to get underneath some of my passes like that, to no avail yet, but you see the ability, the athleticism, the hands. That play didn't surprise me that much because I have seen him in practice, him trying to get underneath my passes."
On if Watt could be used in a goal line role because of his hands:
"If you do that you have to take out some special guys we have. I would hate to do that. Plus I think Al (Villanueva) would get really upset that he wouldn't get a first crack at it. We'll keep Al happy and if we have to use him, we'll use him."