The result won't matter, people will forget the score as soon as the game ends and some of the Steelers' best players won't even be in uniform.
But that doesn't mean plenty can't be gleaned from the second preseason game at 8 p.m. Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Some things to keep an eye on that could impact the Steelers when the games really start to matter:
1. Can the offensive line protect Ben & Co.? This can be copied-and-pasted from last week's game. And last season's preseason games. And the year before's. The unit's performance in the loss at Philadelphia on Aug. 9 left something to be desired. Partially as a result (although purportedly just because rookie Mike Adams sustained a mild injury in the game), the lineup was shuffled. Marcus Gilbert long has stated his preference to be a left tackle instead of right. Can he go out and show it? Can first-round pick David DeCastro give the Steelers a "wow" performance at right guard? Can Willie Colon look as good at left guard in game action as his teammates rave about him looking in practice? Does Ramon Foster have what it takes to play tackle in the NFL? Can Adams acquit himself better the second time around?
2. Is OLB Chris Carter ready for prime time? The second-year former fifth-round pick might have been nothing more than an afterthought this training camp -- or worse, he might have been fighting just to make the team. But his steady play coupled with the fact OLBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds haven't made their way to the practice field yet has shined the spotlight on Carter. With each passing day, the statuses of Harrison (knee) and Worilds (wrist) for being ready for the regular season has become increasingly murkier. That means the likelihood of Carter starting at right outside linebacker on Sept. 9 in Denver increases each day. So far, Carter has been answering the bell. Left with few other options (moving ILB Lawrence Timmons back to the outside?), the Steelers hope he keeps doing so.
3. What clues can be gleaned to gain further insight into what the offense will look like? Last week, Todd Haley's regime as a Steelers play-caller officially began with the first-team offense running a conservative, short-passing game approach. Was that a harbinger of things to come, or merely a vanilla look used in a preseason opener? Will there be a tendency to rely on multiple-tight end sets? How often will the fullback -- now Will Johnson after David Johnson tore his ACL -- be on the field? Where will rookie RB Chris Rainey line up? In the backfield? In the slot? Will he go in motion? Will the screen pass be heavily utilized? Haley, of course, isn't going to lay all his cards on the table in a preseason game. But he's likely to give some ideas a test drive.
4. Can RB Baron Batch prove he's roster-worthy? With the surprise announcement that RB Rashard Mendenhall was removed from the PUP list Friday, that means the Steelers' No. 1 back will be on the 53-man roster when the regular season begins -- whether he's playing or not. That ramps up the numbers crunch at the position that was temporarily alleviated when RB John Clay was lost for the season due to injury. Barring another injury or setback, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Rainey and Mendenhall seem all but assured roster spots. Is there room for Batch? He probably needs to make a case if so.
5. Does QB Jerrod Johnson have any kind of a future in the NFL? The Steelers are giving their young fourth-string quarterback lengthy chances to show what he can do during the preseason. The plan, like last week, is for him to play the entire second half. His performance against the Eagles was underwhelming, but eventually, the Steelers need to develop a younger quarterback, even if he's just a backup. The Dennis Dixon experiment was a bust. Can Johnson fare any better?