The Steelers head to New York this week to face off against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. This showdown is the marquee game of the week, as both teams look to continue their march toward their third championship in less than a decade.
Key Matchup: Steelers secondary vs. Giants receivers. The Giants boast the 6th best passing offense in the league, and one of the top offenses overall in the last 4 weeks. Eli Manning is completing 63% of his passes and is third in the NFL in passing yards. However, this week he runs into the NFL’s best pass defense.
The Steelers are giving up a stingy 182 passing yards per game and are coming off of an impressive showing against RG3 and the Redskins. I don’t see the Giants running game, although it is averaging 114 yards per game, being very effective against this defense, even with Troy Polamalu out. Look for Eli to force some passes -- as he always does -- and get away with fewer than usual. I predict 2 Steelers picks to be the deciding factor in this game.
Notable Injuries: Dynamic safety Troy Polamalu will miss his 4th straight game with a calf injury. A player as good as Polamalu will always be missed, however I don’t see his absence being the deciding factor in the game. The Steelers have grown very accustomed to having to play without him. Running backs Dwyer, Redman, and Mendenhall will all attempt to practice this week and are questionable for the game. Safety Ryan Clark, who suffered a possible concussion last week, will be monitored and his status will be determined closer to kickoff. The Giants are healthy on all fronts.
Player to watch: Mike Wallace. Look for Wallace to have a big day while facing the 26th ranked passing defense in the NFL. The Giants have been gashed by big-time receivers this season and I expect Wallace to continue that trend.
My Prediction: Steelers 24 Giants 21. The Giants will struggle to run against the big defensive line and linebackers of the Steelers causing Eli Manning to attempt over 40 passes. The Steelers will pick off a couple of these setting themselves up with short fields that Big Ben and the offense will capitalize on. Eli keeps it close in the 4th quarter but is unable to overcome the deficit.