Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning both have as many Super Bowl rings as they have on-field confrontations. Since they are the two most accomplished passers of the 2004 draft class, this is disturbing.
Let's not dwell on the unfortunate past, but look to this Sunday, which should provide a great clash. Each of the starting signal-callers has one victory in the under-played series, giving this grudge match a little spice.
The Giants have a nice two-game cushion over their NFC East foes and possibly no rivals for the division title. Each of the other "contenders" are incredibly flawed with fading hopes of a Wild Card, much less the division.
Conversely, the Steelers can't afford to keep dropping road games. They find themselves looking up at the Baltimore Ravens with the Cincinnati Bengals nipping at their heels. Although both of those teams have seen better days than their current versions, Pittsburgh cannot assume it'll coast to the playoffs.
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday, November 4th at 4:25 p.m. EST.
Live Stream: CBSSports.com
Internet Updates and Commentary: The Bleacher Report Live Blog
Pick Against the Spread: Steelers +3.5 (via bovada.lv)
The Giants have the most feared pass rush in the league. Luckily for the Steelers, Roethlisberger is the most adept at moving around in the pocket or throwing the ball while being dragged down.
And he does so with accuracy.
New York's biggest weakness is a constantly banged-up secondary. Pittsburgh has the horses on the outside to make it a long day for the Giants. New York's offense is obviously capable of putting up points, but this game has last possession wins it written all over it.
Over/Under: 47.5 (via bovada.lv)
Both offenses have the ability to explode on any play. Antonio Brown and Victor Cruz are masters of taking short gains and turning them into long touchdowns. Mike Wallace provides the ability to run in a straight line by everybody and haul in 50-yard passes. These two teams are averaging a combined 52 points per game. The over is the safer bet.
Steelers: RB Jonathan Dwyer (quadriceps, questionable); RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles, questionable); S Ryan Clark (concussion, probable); S Troy Polamalu (calf, out); Isaac Redman (ankle, probable); and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring, questionable).
Giants: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot, questionable); WR Victor Cruz (calf, probable); DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps, questionable); LB Chase Blackburn (hamstring, questionable); TE Bear Pascoe (ankle, questionable); S Kenny Phillips (knee, probable); Keith Rivers (calf, questionable); and S Antrel Rolle (concussion, questionable)
Fantasy Big Plays
Victor Cruz: Based on the injuries to both of the Steelers safeties and Eli Manning's crush on his playmaking wide receiver, Cruz cannot sit on the bench. Then again, why would you ever have Cruz on the bench?
Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown: The Steelers are not the same team they were in the mid- to late-2000s. The current version loves to sling the ball around. They rank seventh in average passing yards and 21st in average rushing yards. And these two are a big reason for that.
Keys to a Steelers Win
Roethlisberger must shake loose of the pass rush and get the ball to his playmakers. Short passes to Brown and long passes to Wallace will be necessary to keep the defense on its heels.
The defense must start by keying on Bradshaw (or David Wilson and Andre Brown) and then keep Cruz in front of them. That's the only way to keep the Giants from scoring exorbitant amounts of points.
Keys to a Giants Win
Bring down Big Ben.
Getting to the Pittsburgh passer might not be too difficult of a job considering the Steelers offensive line. However, getting him to the ground before he gets off a pass is a much more difficult task. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora must get it done.
Quite frankly, the New York offense just needs to maintain. They pass and rush the ball well enough to average almost 30 points per contest. Don't get flustered and stick to the script.
Pittsburgh 31, New York 27