Game of the Week
While there may be a few fun storylines to watch this weekend; how the Giants rebound from their loss, can the Saints and Colts stay undefeated against weaker opponents, what coaches are coaching for their jobs, the biggest story is the Vikings-Steelers matchup. The undefeated Minnesota Vikings head to Pittsburgh to take on the defending champion Steelers.
This game is a great matchup as both teams are evenly matched. The Vikings on offense have the best running back in the league, a top notch offensive line, a number of offensive weapons, and Brett Favre. The Steelers feature one of the league’s best defenses, that is extremely stingy against the run. Pittsburgh also faces a punishing pass rush that should give the Vikings o-line a number of problems. The biggest factor in the Steelers favor is the return of safety Troy Polumalu, who is one of the league’s elite playmakers. So far no defense or secondary has been able to stop the Favre onslaught this year, but the Steelers are tougher than any defense they’ve faced all season. I think while the Steelers won’t be able to fully shutdown the Vikings offense, I think their defense can slow them enough to put their offense in a position to win the game.
The Steelers offense so far this season has struggled to run the ball effectively, but has opened up their passing game to compensate. The Vikings have a stellar rush defense, but have been susceptible to big pass plays. While it looks like this matchup is in the Steelers favor, Minnesota does have one ace up their sleeve, Jared Allen. Allen has been a force at defensive end all season, getting pressure on the quarterback, forcing fumbles and getting big sacks. The Steelers biggest weakness is along their offensive line, which could be a field day for Allen and company. The good news for Pittsburgh is that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is best in the league in feeling pressure and escaping sacks. At the end of the day, I think the Steelers come out ahead at home, but to win their offense will need to find away to keep Brett Favre off the field in the 4th quarter to take away any last second heroics. Steelers win 27-24.