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Friday, October 24, 2014

Who I like, Indianapolis version

First of all, there are plenty of key players who will be out of this game.

For the Steelers, nose tackle Steve McLendon is out once again, while right tackle Marcus Gilbert is doubtful with a concussion.

This is interesting because the Steelers don't have a backup offensive tackle on the roster and have only Alejandro Villanueva on the practice squad. I felt they would make a move to at least add a tackle to the practice squad during the week, but they didn't do that, either.

They could activate Villanueva from the practice squad to serve as a backup, but he has mostly played tight end in his time on other teams practice squads.

Center Maurkice Pouncey said he was the next option at tackle last week if something else had happened. As the team's most athletic lineman - though David DeCastro is close - that would make some sense, especially with Cody Wallace as the most experienced backup.

But there's no doubt the Steelers are thin up front.

On Indianapolis' side, Reggie Wayne is out with an elbow injury, while running back Trent Richardson is questionable with a hamstring injury. Richardson, the Colts' leading rusher, hasn't practiced all week, so it's highly questionable that he'll play.

While Ahmad Bradshaw has been more valuable than Richardson, he also has a tendency to get hurt. It will be interesting to see if the Colts are comfortable giving him 20-plus touches.

Now, on to the game itself . . .

This is an interesting matchup in that the Colts have a high-powered offense, but also one that turns the ball over at times. Andrew Luck has thrown 19 touchdown passes - 14 of which have gone to the backs and tight ends - but he also has thrown seven interceptions and lost two fumbles.

As a team, the Colts have turned it over 13 times as a team, which is nearly two times per game.

In contrast, the Steelers have turned the ball over eight times in seven games, while forcing nine. Considering it took the Steelers nearly a month to get their first turnover, the nine turnovers - bolstered by three last week - isn't bad.

The Colts have covered up for those turnovers by shutting down opposing offenses. They have allowed just four third down conversions in the past 41 attempts and are allowing just 26 percent to be converted this season.

The Steelers have been decent on third down this season, converting at a 40 percent clip and have two of the NFL's better third-down players in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.

With those two, particularly Bell, the Steelers should have some success.

The Steelers are three-point underdogs at home in this game, marking just the eighth time since 2005 that Pittsburgh has been an underdog at home.

In those games, the Steelers are 5-1-1 against the spread, with four wins outright.

Despite all of that, I'll take the Colts to win this one, 31-23


Anonymous said...

What is the over/under on how many times #7 intentionally throws the ball away in this game?

Anonymous said...

Over/Under??? You can't go any lower than "zero"....

Anonymous said...

Do you think Villanueva is the future at the T.E. position? The kid has a great story and I would love to see him get a hat one day. I know he has moved around a lot from the beginning of college, does he look natural in the T.E. spot?

As far as the game, IMO if we can get some decent field position, we can make a run at the Colts. Here's hoping Archer breaks out this game..


Homegrown Misanthropist said...

I wish they would kneel instead of running it to the thirteen, it has happened quite a lot and I've seen both, Blount and Archer (a lot more), do it. It has had an impact on field position.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't know since I haven't seen him play tight end. Only offensive tackle.

I've got no problem with Archer bringing out kicks. Not a huge difference between the 15 or 16 and the 20. But if he breaks one - and it's not just him, it's the blocking - then that's a bonus.

He had seven in 19 career returns in college.

adamg said...

Surprised Foster wouldn't be the one to move since he's actually played OT for the Steelers. Wallace would play OG.

Dale Lolley said...

Foster is without a doubt the least athletic of the Steelers' linemen

Steve-O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve-O said...

I'm curious, Dale. Are you favoring the Colts because of their Offense, or do you think their defense is going to contain the Steeler's?

Anonymous Brian said...

Colts - 41 Steelers - 24

I don't think the Steelers' record the game after Monday nighters is very good recently, either.

I want to think that Ben is due for a great game, or Indy's due for a bad game, or we'll keep up the turnover-forcing, or the Steelers playing really well when you least expect it...but my guess is that Indy is one of those four or five really good teams this year.

Dale Lolley said...

Well, I'm picking the Colts to score 31 and the Steelers to score 23. So I guess I'm favoring Indianapolis' offense.

adamg said...

Dale, Foster might be the least athletic, but he's also the most experienced at OT.

Anonymous said...

Can't say I've paid too close, but I think they've given up having Foster pull. Pouncey pulls and I've noticed Beach now pulling as well. Of course DeCastro. Foster use to have to line up a full yard behind the LOS just to get out, blatantly tipping the play. Noticed in preseason Munch corrected that. But apparently he didn't like the results of the fix, cuz now he hardly, if ever, pulls anymore and the guys on either side who never really pulled before are pulling. He's powerful but a slug. Can't move his feet as we saw last week on all those twists. He could see it, but he just couldn't move/redirect/COD.

Indy's 3rd down D has been insane of late. But there's no way that mark is sustainable. There will be a regression to the mean. First few weeks they were giving up 40-50% conversions. Now what, 10% or so the past 4 games? Maybe they really sorted it out after the first 3 weeks, but I one a game is unmaintainable. Expect them to level out around 32-35%.

Unknown said...

Has Archer lost his KO rrtutn job? According to he has

Anonymous said...

More proof the archer pick was a joke.

Patrick said...

I like the Steelers to actually win this 23-20 by playing keep away and forcing opportune turnovers.

also I said Archer was a waste of a pick the moment he was drafted and got flamed for it. Just saying.