Confidence is the biggest factor in my opinion. Confidence leads to focus. The defense had focus in the first two games, then they came unglued. Pittsburgh exposed a lot of weaknesses. Those weaknesses have now become glaring.
I think it was a mistake to jettison the entire secondary. I understand it was a business decision but the guys we have now are NOT better. They are older and less skilled. There is no leadership in this secondary. Godfrey was freaking atrocious (now he's gone…fine). But i don't see where Harper is helping or Cason or the other safety.
Of course the pass rush has been less than stellar and the linebackers have been outplayed. Let downs in focus (angles, tackling, getting off blocks, etc.) have led to the team looking lazy and tired (GB game first half we were absolutely not ready mentally or physically).
Finally, the offense sucked against Pitt., Bal., and GB in the first half. We got down early and the defense ended up on the field for long, long stretches and giving up long drives and big gains. The D ended up getting pummeled by Cincy, but the offense kept us in it and they D/ST did make some plays in that game. The difference was Cam opened up the running game vs. CIncy. It's been said many times: when Cam runs the ball 4-5 times in the first half and especially if he converts 1 or 2 3rd downs, this offense begins to click.
This game could very well come down to a battle between Cam and Wilson. All other things aside (defense included) whichever team gets the most running yards from their QB will likely win this game. That will show how effective the offenses can be.
I expect it to be close late. Outcome is 50/50 IMO.