Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Friday, October 05, 2012

Who I like, Philadelphia version

With their backs against the wall a bit, the Steelers are finally healthy, as all 53 men on the team's active roster practiced this week for the first time this season.

In fact, Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles will mark the first time since last year's opener that the Steelers will have their projected starting defense on the field at the same time.

That game didn't work out so well as the Ravens pounded the Steelers, 35-7, in Baltimore.

But this game is at Heinz Field, where, quite frankly, the Steelers don't lose often to NFC teams.

In fact, the Steelers have won their past seven games at Heinz Field against NFC opponents, with the last loss being a 21-14 defeat at the hands of the New York Giants in 2008.

Despite Antonio Brown calling out Eagles' nickel corner Brandon Boykin, the Steelers will probably have more of a running-based attack in this game - at least early on.

Pittsburgh feels like Philadelphia's wide sets with its defensive ends will allow Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman some running lanes.

There will be some losses in the running game since Philadelphia's stunts sometimes lead them into the right hole, but the Steelers feel that with Ben Roethlisberger playing so well, they can offset that.

The Steelers are 3-point favorites in this one and should win and cover that spread, beating a Michael Vick-quarterbacked team for the first time. Vick is 1-0-1 against the Steelers, making him the only current starting quarterback with at least 100 career games that Pittsburgh hasn't beaten.

Take the Steelers, 24-16


Robbie said...

I think this year's Steelers team is fairly easy to read. They will win a grueling game against the Eagles only to turn around and walk out of Tennessee on Thursday with a "how did we lose that one?" type of loss.

Patrick said...

I really like the Steelers chances at running on this D. Being from Philly and watching eagles a lot, they can be gashed big time. I think counters and draws will be effective. I'm not the biggest Rainey fan, but I could see him breaking one off on a draw or screen if given the chance.

This is going to be a much different cast of inactives this week too. Obviously, C. Batch, Beachum, Ta'amu will sit, but Barron Batch has to be inactive as well. And then A. Robsinson and Will Allen or a TE.

I don't remember ever rotating our OLB's in so thats also kind of new. I'm a bit at surprised, and disappointed, at bringing in Worilds for Woodley.

Anyhow, given that Philly is coming off a big win and the Steelers are really in need of a win, I see this being a solid game. I'll go Steelers 27-20 and with Vick throwing a crucial pick to Troy with about 3 min left.

Anonymous said...

Baron Batch is their hurry-up/2 minute back, like Mewelde Moore was. Maybe Redman knows that package and has been practicing it this week. Dunno. But I kinda doubt it. If I had to guess, Dwyer sits. He's the redundant/lowest variable.

Patrick said...

It could be Dwyer. I thought I saw somewhere that Haley said in addition to Mendenhall they are going to use the "3 backs they have used" so far. I assumed that included Dwyer, so thats why I figured Batch inactive.

Anonymous said...

Maybe. If so, those 3 would be Redman, Dwyer, and Batch. All 3 have had a fair amount of snaps. Batch only got 10 in each of the first 2 games, but did log 27 v Oak (largely coming at Dwyer's expense, down to 8). If that's what Haley said, then all three are a go. In a 'someone has to sit' sorta way, I suppose Rainey then becomes the most expendable/likely. His 10 wasted snaps per game shouldn't be missed.

Dale Lolley said...

Who to sit is always a nice problem to have. Much better than an inactive list full of injured guys.

I believe they are rotating the linebackers this week because it is a short week.

As for Tennessee, the Steelers should trounce that team.

Patrick said...

they should have trounced Oakland too.

James said...

If a Running Back will be inactive it will be Dwyer, Batch and Rainey each bring something different from Mendenhall and Redman so they stay put I bet.

Anonymous Brian said...

I really don't like the talent level & depth of the Eagles' D-line vs. the Steelers' O-line. Up to Ben & Haley to deal with it, I think they will, but I think the game is basically a toss-up. Don't see us with 37 minutes time of possession this week.

The Eagles are a play or two away from being 1-3 and everyone in Philly wanting to fire Reid, kill Vick, etc. On the other hand 3-1 when you haven't played that well could end up being pretty impressive.

Uh, I'll take the Steelers on a late (unforced) Eagles turnover.

Eagles have 12 turnovers in four weeks (none last week) & since the Steelers defense is going through this drought, maybe they are due to just hand us the ball a couple of times.

I hope the short week is the reason Woodley needs "rest" during the games. (The offense has been dominating time of possession so far.)

After all, it took Woodley reading anonymous blog comments by myself and others last season, calling him "fat" for a month, before he got his act together :)

marc said...

i don't think the steelers have an answer for mccoy or deshaun jackson. as long as vick doesn't gift wrap it for the steelers, the eagles shouldn't have a problem scoring points.

the eagles d-line should dominate the steelers o-line. the offense will need to establish the run game early to help keep them honest. if the steelers get stuck in 3rd and longs, i think they're screwed.

at the end of the day, i see the eagles scoring more, maybe a TD or so.

James said...

Desean Jackson is a non factor if you play him physically and with Vick staring him down I don't see him as a problem unless he gets completely wide open somehow.

McCoy on the other hand is a different story, hard to shut someone that good down.

We better not bring our Ray Rice run defense in today or we're in trouble because this guy can actually make people miss as opposed to just running stright behind his blockers like Rice.

Anonymous said...

It's official. Dwyer sits, along with CBatch. Sly's return knocks off BJohnson, Adams return puts down Beachum. Robinson, Ta'amu, and Golden round out the rest of the inactives.

alexrkirby said...

Baron Batch has passed Dwyer by on the depth chart I see.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily. Everyone has a role. And Dwyer is the lowest man in the role with the most redundancy. He provides nothing in terms of role that Mendenhall and Redman don't already provide. Batch is the lone 3rd down/hurry up package back. As mentioned, Dwyer is the most replaceable, or Rainey. Guess they wanted to keep what little they've carved out for Rainey versus going 3 deep in the same role/position. Dwyer likely would never see the field, so why dress him.

marc said...

good effort by wallace to go for that ball #7 threw up for grabs...oh, wait, his feet never left the ground.

Anonymous said...

Woodley hurts his hammy again. Isn't he being paid enough to stay in shape?

Homegrown Misanthropist said...

Injuries happen whether you are in shape or not, glad to see Timmons giving an all out performance, tough game but got the W.

Anonymous said...

He injures his hammy alot. I can't think of too many lbers with as many hammy injuries as Woodley has had. The guy never starts in great shape, why do you think he gets better as the year goes on usually? Cause he plays himself into shape rather than being in shape to start the year.