The bye week is over the Steelers and it appears that the team is getting healthy, and they need it at 1-2 as they get set for the 3-1 Eagles with Mike Vick and company Sunday in the Steel City.
The Steelers have blown fourth-quarter leads in both of their defeats, watching a 10-point cushion disappear in a 34-31 last second loss in Oakland on September 23rd before a bye week.
“There’s no panic in here,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “It’s still a marathon, but we need to get a win.”
The Eagles have won three games, but haven’t exactly lit the world on fire doing it. They have been outscored by 17 points through four games, but it has a pair of one-point wins and a two-point victory to thank for its winning record. It’s trailed at the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter in all three wins.
The Steelers have surrendered an average of 31.3 points in losing three straight on the road dating to their playoff loss in Denver, but being home should help. Pittsburgh has allowed just 9.3 points per game in winning nine of its last 10 at Heinz Field.
It’ll see an Eagles offense that’s fifth in the league in total yards (417.8 per game) but 30th in scoring (16.5). A staggering 12 turnovers were the biggest culprit in the unit’s struggles through three weeks, but Philadelphia didn’t give it away once in last Sunday night’s 19-17 win over the Giants.
The Eagles will need a big game from Vick, as he will try to look downfield and pick on the Steelers secondary, a secondary that made Carson Palmer look like a NFL MVP two weeks ago.
Also Philly needs to continue the trend that has seen the Steelers D not able to get off the field on third downs. Pittsburgh has produced five sacks and allowed opponents to convert 48.5 percent of third downs, both of those stats are near the bottom of the NFL. A reason the team may be wearing out is the fact they have been allowing too many third down conversions.
Look for the Eagles to pressure Ben, trying to do what all teams try to do, which is rattle him and try to force him into mistakes. It’s not easy, but if they can, it would help them get closer to a win.
While the Eagles are a solid foe, they are not as good as the 3-1 mark they boast, as they are 30th in the league in scoring, and all that points very much in favor of the Steelers. Look for the Black and Gold to lay an early knockout, and to make sure to finish this time around.
Pittsburgh 24 Philadelphia 10