Sunday will be a battle of PA, as the Steelers at 2-0 travel to Philly to take on the Eagles, who come into the matchup at 1-1 after falling to the Cowboys. Many came out of the Monday night thriller with the Cowboys with a new found respect for the Eagles, as they showed on that night they could play with the best in the business. Now they must come home on a short week for a Steelers team that won a sloppy weather game Sunday night vs the Browns on the road.
The Steelers need to get the offense a bit back on track, as even though they are 2-0, they were held to 10 points in the 10-6 win. The O-line still needs to do the best they can to protect Ben Roethlisberger, and the running game with a third good outing from Willie Parker can help the passing game. The Eagles were torched by the Cowboys, and the Steelers will watch that tape more than once to see what was successful for Dallas and try to duplicate it.
A big question surrounds the health of Big Ben. He has been very coy when it comes to questions about that shoulder, but he is a tough player, and will do what it takes to stay in the game. Look for Philly to do what they can to put the heat on him, and try to run different defenses to try and get to him or to at least make him hurry the ball. The Eagles secondary has a lot to prove after Monday’s outing.
On the offense, the Eagles want to keep the sound success they had vs the Cowboys going. They will try and attack the Steelers secondary, as they realize Pittsburgh is better vs the run than against the pass. Look for Donovan McNabb to be wary of the Steelers blitzes, but to try and get his WR core ready for a tough game where he may have to put the ball up often.
As far as Brian Westbrook goes, he’ll have a big role out of the backfield catching the ball, and will be Mcabb’s safety valve when he can’t find any WR’s down the field. Don’t forget about L.J. Smith, who also may have a big day against a tough secondary.
Tough game to call, and one that could go down to the fourth quarter. Both these teams seem destined to play ball in January, and this game will be a good measuring stick for both. Look for the Eagles to win a close game, and David Akers come through late with a big field goal to win it.