While many are still suffering effects of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the New York region, it is hard to believe that the NFL has moved forward with their schedule in that area. They have, and now the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to travel to New Jersey on Sunday morning to get ready for their match up against the New York Giants Sunday afternoon.
It will be interesting to see how that plays out this week, with both Jonathan Dwyer (Quad) and Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) doubtful. If they are out, it appears that Isaac Redman will be returning from injury (Ankle) to carry the bulk of the load at running back. The threat of a running game could be huge this week, allowing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to hit play action as the game moves forward. With Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller, this could help the offense move forward. Of course, this could be the week that the Steelers throw caution to the wind, and use Chris Rainey more as a weapon inside the aerial attack, but only time will tell.
Defensively, the team is still without Troy Polamalu (calf) and that loss could show up more with this match-up than any others could this season. Polamalu’s abilities to disguise coverage and his dynamic athleticism would be a bonus in attempting to corral the explosive passing game of the Giants. The team did receive good news, when safety Ryan Clark was cleared to play after suffering a head injury against the Redskins. Had he not been able to go, the Steelers would have been in trouble down the middle of the field with their safeties.
With outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (Hamstring) probable, the team must be prepared to generate pass rush with linebackers James Harrison outside and Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote inside. If they cannot generate pressure on quarterback Eli Manning, it could be a long afternoon for the defense.
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