Ben Roethlisberger vs Eli Manning.
Each have won a pair of Super Bowls, and Sunday at MetLife Stadium the two will square off in a huge game as the Steelers visit the Giants in a week nine affair.
New York comes in a 6-2, and coming off a big win last week in Dallas that saw them rally for a win after they complied six turnovers, then gave up the lead, just to get it back and get a big win.
Pittsburgh is 4-3, but is starting to find itself after back to back wins over the Bengals and Redskins. Last week they held super rookie Robert Griffin III in check, beating the Skins at home 27-12.
Today we look at the three keys to a win for the Steelers, as well as our pick for the outcome of Sunday’s huge affair.
1. Splash Plays – Both QB’s have big time resumes, and both will be looking to go downfield with Manning and Big Ben looking to impress each other as the best QB of the 2004 Draft. The two WR’s to look for are Mike Wallace and Victor Cruz, who both can make huge plays in this game. Ike Taylor has got to have the type of game like he did vs A.J. Green two weeks ago, making sure that Cruz doesn’t get loose. Antonio Brown and Chris Rainey are two other Steelers that could come up with big plays. This just looks like a game that could come down to the team that comes up with more big plays will walk out the winner.
2. Be Careful with the Ball – One glaring difference between these teams is the Giants NFL-best 24 takeaways compared to seven for the Steelers that tie them for the second fewest. Giants safety Stevie Brown, the NFC defensive player of the week, has three of his five interceptions over the last two weeks. The Giants will look to create short fields with stealing the ball away as well as stripping it, and one way the Steelers could get into a big hole early is giving up the ball. They can’t do it, otherwise they won’t have a shot.
3. Keep Manning On His Toes – This Steelers have the NFL’s top-rated pass defense and is yielding 182.6 passing yards per game. That’s despite a pass rush that has produced a meager 12 sacks, meaning it’s more downfield coverage than extreme pressure that is making this team better in that department this season. Dick LeBeau will draw up a variety of blitzes to throw at Manning, and it will be up to the Steelers D to make sure to execute and not allow him to pick his way down the field all day.
Prediction – There’s a lot to consider between these two teams, one of which will be the Steelers will not get into town till Sunday morning due to Hurricane Sandy, and then have to get to the stadium, play a game, and get home. I don’t like it. It’s not the usual routine, and it’s not like the Steelers have played all that well on the road anyway before the last road game vs Cincy. Both teams want to set the tempo, and with the way the Steelers have played on the road, the Giants have the edge with the crowd on their side. Look for both QB’s to have solid days, but look for Manning to make one more play down the stretch that will lift the Giants to a big win. New York Giants 27 Pittsburgh 20