The Steelers take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field, their first of five primetime games out of their next six games.
The last time the two teams met was in 2013 at Heinz Field, a high scoring, 37-27, Steelers win that yielded a combined 729 yards passing between Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford.
Stafford doesn’t quite envision a repeat performance of that total this week, as it’s a new look for both teams.
“I think every year is a new team and I think both of our squads are no different,” said Stafford.
Stafford, as well as Coach Jim Caldwell, weighed in on Sunday’s game, hitting heavy on the defense.
Stafford on the defense as a whole:
“They are playing extremely well on defense right now, doing a great job against the pass, and the run. They are doing a nice job. It always a tough matchup when you play Pittsburgh.”
Stafford on if he sees more man-to-man or zone coverage:
“They mix it up just like every team does. Their corners are talented guys. Joe Haden, I have played against him quite a few times in the preseason and the regular season. He is a really talented player. They have some young guys in the back end too, No. 28 (Sean Davis) and No. 25 (Artie Burns), they are doing a nice job. There are some new faces back there, a couple of guys I have played against for a while, but a couple of new ones too. They are doing a nice job of not allowing big plays still at the same time being aggressive and making plays on the ball.”
Caldwell on the secondary:
“They are holding teams down in terms of being consistent with the passing game against them. They have done a nice job of keeping everything in front of them. They break on the ball extremely well. They will hit you.
“Burns is doing a nice job, he is an athletic guy. They have a veteran on the other side that’s been around, played a lot of football, and has been an outstanding player in this league. With the two corners and safeties that will hit you in the run, it’s a very good group.”
Stafford on the if the performance of the pass defense is a result of pressure from the front seven or an improved secondary:
“Both. I think those guys up front are doing a heck of a job getting to the quarterback. The guys in the backend are doing a nice job of making some plays and keeping everything in front of them. They are a talented group and they are playing well in that system.”
Caldwell on Le’Veon Bell:
"I've been trying to remember a guy with a running style like his, and I cannot."
Stafford on the defense getting to the quarterback more without blitzing:
“They are very imaginative in their blitz packages. They do a really nice job of sending a couple of blitzers, but maybe dropping a couple of guys on the other side. The number of players they are getting after the quarterback isn’t always a huge number, but they are able to put pressure on the quarterback and still drop back into coverage which makes it difficult. They are doing a nice job of that this year.”