The Philadelphia Inquirer put out its game day scouting report today. Surprisingly it’s only partially skewed toward the E-A-G-L-E-S. I’m not a big fan of history and going on what happened four years ago. Or in the preseason when these two teams met. Or the fact that the Steelers have traditionally been good after the bye. And good at home, winning 9 of the last 10 games at Heinz. History isn’t going to put points on the board.
The Eagles are solid in the fourth quarter. They have pulled out three wins this year with stellar play in the waning moments. The Steelers as we have seen are not, having been outscored in the fourth quarter by almost 20 points. If this game goes down to the wire, do we have confidence in our defense to stop a HOT Mike Vick and company? Can two key Steelers, one of which hasn’t played since early January, get up to speed and make an impact? Or on the flip side, can our offense go down the field in a game winning drive against a stiff defense that has so far this year shut down any such attempts by other teams. I have to agree with Philly on this one, the Eagles have an edge should it come down to a sprint to the finish.
Big Ben and the Steelers offense will be facing a sack hungry front line. Perhaps this could be the battle that decides the Keystone War. If the Steelers can’t establish a running game, rising from DEAD LAST in the league, even with Mendy returning, Ben will be forced to pass. He’ll have his usual suspects all at his disposal, but with a better than average pass rush from Philly and a pretty decent secondary, we could see Ben doing his escape act one too many times. Wallace and Brown will have their hands full with very good coverage guys. They are fast and they are physical. But Mike and Antonio have proven they can step up in big games and make plays. I say look for Wallace to add some footage to his highlight reel this week.
Another interesting situation is going to be third down. The Steelers are converting a league best 56%. The Eagles are league best in getting teams off the field on third down, allowing only a 26% success rate. Will Miller be a factor here?
Much has been said about the age of the Steelers defense, and frankly looking at the body of work over the first three games, it’s hard not to start to wonder if there is some truth to that. They are not generating sacks and are quite literally getting run over. The Eagles are tall on offensive weapons, per the usual Vick, McCoy and Jackson, but they also have a very productive tight end. A guy named Celek. He has become a reliable target over the middle. The Steelers have shown weakness in coverage here. It could lead to some key conversions for the Eagles offense.
We can sit and debate and talk and write all day. But there is a reason the game gets played. Its the beauty of ANY GIVEN SUNDAY.
And to finish this off, just because I can’t be all serious in a post, tomorrow’s game reminds me of an episode of the League. On FX. are you watching this? It’s good stuff. There is an episode in season 3, where one of the guy’s (Pete) new girlfriend insists on helping him pick his fantasy line up. She sees Mike Vick and insists he be benched because he is a dog killer and she LOVES animals. She then sees a QB named ‘Bee Rows-lis-berger” and asks who is this? Has he ever done anything bad? Pete says “Nope. He is a good man. Play him.”
I tell ya… women and football….
Just makes me laugh.