At 0-3 and staring 0-4 in the eyes, the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants are in dire strait. Both offenses have been woefully inept, and despite some bright spots on defense, neither team can make up for their offenses’ lack of production.
With an 0-3 start, a team has some time to fight its way back into the playoff hunt. At 0-4, the playoffs are still possible, but with each additional loss, that magical 10-6 mark gets farther and farther away.
To say that the Giants and Steelers don’t understand the scope of their task would be insulting to the teams involved. Both squads have overcome great opposition to sneak into the playoffs, and both teams have gone to the Super Bowl and won following such seasons. Still, something is different this time around that makes such a task seem nearly impossible.
The Giants are simply an aging team that has lost a step since making it to the promise land. With little new talent infused with their aging staples, the Giants simply aren’t as talented as they once were, and they’re being forced to compensate by taking risks. Unfortunately, those risks haven’t paid off on the field, and the result is a lowly 0-3 start.
The Steelers have suffered a similar exodus of talent in recent years, though their biggest issues may be rooted with their offensive schemes more than the players trying to execute those plays. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been heavily criticized for his team’s inability to move the ball and score consistently. Of late, the Steelers have moved the ball well, but turnovers have destroyed their hopes of winning games.
Both the Steelers and the Giants are facing de-facto “do or die” games. 0-4 wouldn’t be the final nail in their respective coffins, but it would bring them that much closer to exiting the playoff chase before the race even heats up in late November and December, and for two teams so used to being in contention for a title, it would hurt that much more.