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

Friday, November 02, 2012

Who I like, Giants version

It has been no secret that the Steelers have struggled on the road this season, particularly on defense, where they are not nearly as good as they are within the friendly confines of Heinz Field.

But the numbers are alarming.

At home, the Steelers have given up an average of 12 points per game. On the road, that number climbs to just over 26 points per game.

That's not a good trend, especially when facing a high-powered offense like the Giants on the road.

But Ben Roethlisberger has also been at his best on the road this season as well, throwing eight touchdown passes in those four road games - against just three interceptions - while averaging 317.5 yards per game.

And because of Roethlisberger working against a banged up Giants' secondary, the Steelers will keep this game close and have a chance to win it at the end.

This game has all the looks of one that will go to whichever quarterback has the ball last.

Eli Manning owns 23 career fourth quarter comebacks, including an astounding nine since the start of the 2011 season.

Roethlisberger has 29 such comebacks on his resume, though just three in the last season and a half.

Part of the reason for that is because New York's pass defense has been so bad - and the offense will go an entire half without doing anything.

Witness last week's 29-24 win at Dallas for an example. The Giants built a 23-0 lead in the first half thanks to a bunch of Cowboys' turnovers, then had to rally to win after falling behind 24-23 in the fourth quarter.

But the Steelers have gone through some similar lulls with Roethlisberger. The Steelers have built leads in all three of their losses this season, only to see them slip away when the offense stops scoring and the defense can't hold up.

The Giants are favored by 3 1/2 points in this one and that half point just might be the difference.

Take the Steelers to cover in a 27-24 loss.

@ LaMarr Woodley was back on the practice field today for the Steelers and will play against the Giants.

That's the good news.

The bad is that running back Jonathan Dwyer, coming off back-to-back 100-yard games, was unable to practice and is doubtful to play.

With Rashard Mendenhall also doubtful, Isaac Redman will get the bulk of the carries for the Steelers.


TarheelFlyer said...

There is a part of me that expects this team to really come out and play hard this week. Much of our struggles are associated with not being prepared or taking our opponent lightly. That shouldn't be a problem this week. I expect we either win, or lose in the last minutes.

PFF said...

Giants Interior Offensive Line vs. Steelers Defensive Line

In years past, a weak interior line would be a death knell for a team playing the Steelers. Not so this season. Through the first eight weeks, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, and Ziggy Hood have been the hands-down worst 3-4 defensive line in the league. In 359 combined run snaps, they have just 12 defensive stops. In 499 combined pass rushes, they’ve pressured the quarterback just 13 times. Facing Baas, Boothe and Snee could be this beleaguered trio’s chance to excel, but nothing they’ve done this season indicates that they’ll do so.

PFF said...

Mike Adams vs. Justin Tuck

Few positional groups have been as scrutinized over the past few seasons as the Steelers’ offensive line. We graded them with the second-worst Pass Blocking Efficiency in 2010, and they were still below-average last year. After first-round pick David DeCastro tore his MCL in the preseason, hopes for any improvement this year grew dim. However the unit has done well, partially thanks to their other top draft pick, Mike Adams. In two starts since right tackle Marcus Gilbert injured his ankle, the rookie out of Ohio State has allowed just four QB pressures on 76 pass-block snaps. He’s also earned a +1.7 run block grade over the past two weeks, as the Steelers had 25 rushes for 164 yards to his side.

Dale Lolley said...

Thank god we know what Pro Football Focus thinks. I wasn't going to be able to sleep without seeing that.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, We knew what PFF thinks already, because it is so freakin obvious.

James said...

Dale, what do you think could be happening off the field with teams having to play on the road that could be affecting their on field performance. I've always heard that crowd noise is a factor with road games. Is there anything else that comes to mind that could affect performance during the game, something through the week or off the field during the game that players might have mentioned?

Dale Lolley said...

It's just tough to win on the road. Teams at home - as you mentioned - have to deal with crowd noise in addition to travel, etc.
It's a comfort zone for the home team.

Patrick said...

The Steelers offense needs to watch what Philly did against the Giants D. And I'm sure Haley and friends have (Tomlin ....who knows).

But Philly was able to catch JPP all sorts of out of position by running misdirection plays and really neutralized him in the running game. I was surprised at how undisciplined he was. Its a blow not having Dwyer because he seems to excel at the counter plays. Maybe Rainey can rip one off.

So to me, if the Steelers can run the ball like they have been, they can throw the Giants D off. If Ben throws 33+ times, this one is probably a loss.

This one is hard to call, I'll go Steelers 20-17 with them having a day on the ground. (That is probably more wishful thinking than a prediction, but I'll stick with it)

Anonymous said...

Road Defenses don't really have to contend with the noise. It's the offense, and the offense has been ok on the road.

All of their road games to date have been after 7:20pm Pittsburgh time, putting their 4th quarter flops between 10-11pm. The geriatric jocks are too easy, but maybe there's something to it. Wonder what they're gameday routine is on late/westcoast games, cuz this team has looked half asleep on most of these roadies to day.

Anonymous said...

Dale, should I drop Dwyer from my fantasy team? Will he be back to third string next week?

Anonymous said...

Drop Dwyer and pick up Isaac Redman. I think Redman will show some of what he had for us last year against Denver. The O line has gelled and GIA has some injuries so I think Redman will have a big game.

Mrs. Issac Redman

Anonymous Brian said...

Last season, the very day my power came back on after a freak Oct. snowstorm, the Steelers whipped the Pats.

This season after six days post-hurricane, today my power finally came back on -- so, Steelers - 28 Giants - 23

Anonymous said...

I don't need Dwyer or Redman for today, I'm talking about next week and beyond.

Dale Lolley said...

I'd keep Dwyer at this point.

As for road defenses not having to deal with noise, that's exactly the point. The home offense is able to run its plays unfettered. It doesn't have to worry about silent snaps and false starts.
All the rules already favor the offense. This tilts things more in favor of the offense.