The Steelers are a good football team, and I'm not taking them lightly by suggesting that stopping Le'Veon Bell makes this an eminently winnable game. It's just that stopping Le'Veon Bell makes this an eminently winnable game.
Simply put, Bell is the most complete running back in the NFL this season, and arguably the best. He has 242 carries for 1,231 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, as well as 71 catches for 693 yards and three more touchdowns through the air. He's big, he's fast and insanely powerful as a runner, and he's still just 22 years old. Oh, and he hasn't fumbled once in 2014.
The Steelers' offense can afford to air it out because teams have to be so wary of Bell getting going. Bell gets carries in bulk and will certainly continue that trend in the Georgia Dome, where the Steelers know they'll be playing a team that is leaps and bounds better at home, but not exactly fielding an elite run defense. The lack of a pass rush is going to make life easier for Ben Roethlisberger, yes, but forcing the Steelers to go one-dimensional is the Falcons' best chance of limiting the damage.
To do so, they'll need to home in on Bell at all times. It may be worth having Kroy Biermann, Paul Worrilow or Joplo Bartu essentially functioning as a full-time spy whose sole purpose is to track Bell and hit him, at least slowing him down until the cavalry can arrive. I'd suggest that the Falcons' beefy front four could limit the damage on their own, but that simply hasn't happened on a consistent basis, so Atlanta may be better off accounting for Bell and making him the focal point of the defense. If Robert Alford returns and William Moore can go, the Falcons have a better chance of turning the resulting Steelers' passing attack into something less than a full-fledged artillery barrage.
How would you stop Bell?
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