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New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Week Nine Game Preview

November 3rd, 2012 at 11:45 AM
By Paul Tierney

The New York Giants will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week nine with a chance to create further separation in the NFC East. With the Dallas Cowboys heading down to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on the road at New Orleans, there is a chance that Big Blue could head into Week 10 with a three-game lead in the division. Although Pittsburgh is 1-3 away from Heinz Field this season, this matchup will be anything but a cakewalk for the Giants.

Despite putting a 27-12 beating on the Washington Redskins in Week eight, the Steelers will face some unexpected adversity as they prepare for Big Blue. Not only will Pittsburgh play without their best three running backs, Troy Polamalu and Marcus Gilbert, but the Steelers will have to travel and play on the same day.  

With that said, you can count on this being a close, hard fought matchup between two of the NFL's most prominent organizations. 

Gameplan

Commit to a Rushing Attack

The Giants play their best football when they have a balanced offense. Although Pittsburgh is ranked as the 9th best rushing defense in the NFL, the Giants have run the ball successfully against quality 3-4 defenses before. In Week five, Big Blue ran for 149 yards on the San Francisco 49ers. This team is talented enough to sustain a rushing attack, but the offensive line must be strong at the point of attack to do so.

However, even if the Giants are unable to get the ball moving on the ground, it's imperative that the Steelers respect the run throughout the game. The Steelers come into MetLife Stadium this Sunday boasting the NFL's best passing defense. Although Troy Polamalu is out, safeties Ryan Clark and Will Allen are two ball hawking defenders over the middle of the field. If the Giants allow the Steelers to sit back and wait for the pass, it could be a long day for Eli Manning.

Target Ike Taylor

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has been horrendous this season. Despite being Pittsburgh's No.1 cornerback, Taylor has personally allowed five touchdowns this season and for quarterbacks to post a 115.5 QB rating on all balls thrown in his direction.

Although the Steeler's pass defense has been stellar so far through 2012, Taylor must be tested early by the Giants' explosive wide receiver core. If Eli Manning can exploit the Steelers early through the air, it could open up a consistent rushing attack as the contest progresses. This could enable the Giants to put some points on the board in the latter stages of the game.

Use Three Safeties on Defense

Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams are two of the Giants' quickest, most athletic linebackers. However, neither will be on the field this Sunday. Instead of digging further into the linebacker core for guys like Spencer Paysinger, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell should utilize his newfound depth in the secondary.

If Kenny Phillips returns this week, it would give the Giants the ability to bring back their three safety look on defense. With the Steelers playing without their three best running backs, the Giants can afford to play their safeties around the line of scrimmage this week. Furthermore, keeping three safeties on the field will enable Big Blue to mix up coverages and allow their faster players to line up against Pittsburgh's versatile wide receiver core.

Key Matchup

Ben Roethlisberger Vs. Giants Secondary

The Giants have allowed 650 passing yards over their last two games. It's not going to get any easier this weekend. The Steelers will bring the NFL's seventh ranked passing offense to the Meadowlands this Sunday and will look to establish a lethal aerial attack.

The Giants secondary is going to have to hold up against some some talented receivers this weekend. Mike Wallace has the ability to stretch the field, Antonio Brown has 40 receptions so far and Emmanuel Sanders can be effective in the slot. The Giants should be healthier in the secondary than they have been all year for this game, but it's imperative that they improve upon their prior performances.

Big Game Alert

Jason Pierre-Paul

The Steelers will be playing this game without starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Rookie out of Ohio State Mike Adams will replace Gilbert. Although Adams has tremendous size at 6'7" and 323 pounds, he is a  statue in terms of quickness.

With the Steelers surely looking to establish an aerial attack, the Giants will line up Jason Pierre-Paul opposite Adams in an attempt to create a mismatch. It should be interesting to see how the young buck responds to having one of the most athletic players in the league lineup opposite him for an entire game. Pierre-Paul should easily win this matchup.

Prediction

The Steelers are 1-3 on the road this season. They will have little to no ability to establish a rushing attack without Jonathon Dwyer, and they will be missing Troy Polamalu in the secondary as well. Furthermore, Pittsburgh will be getting up early in the morning to take a plane ride to Newark on Sunday because of complications with their hotel due to Hurricane Sandy.

The Giants must force turnovers on defense like they have in past games. With the Steelers relying solely on their passing attack to generate offense this Sunday, Big Blue should be able to make some plays on the ball. This game will be a nail biter, but the Giants should be able to come out on top.

Giants 26 , Steelers 23

photo credit: chicagobasketball via photopin cc

Also…

Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Dallas Cowboys, Football, Jacquian Williams, Jason Pierre-Paul, Keith Rivers, Kenny Phillips, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, New Orleans, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Spencer Paysinger

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9 Responses to “New York Giants Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Week Nine Game Preview”

  1.  James Stoll says:

    I would suggest a key match up is any Pittsburgh receiver and Jayron Hoseley. Hose has been experience serious growing pains these past two weeks, getting repeatedly toasted. That is who I would think the Steelers pick on when they need to make a play

  2.  norm says:

    According to @mortreport, Giants have placed guard Mitch Petrus on waivers and activated tight end Travis Beckum from the PUP list.

    https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/264769927834107906

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Anyone see Petrus being picked up by anyone? I don’t know enough about the depth on other teams, but I have to assume that other teams will figure that given multiple chances under Flaherty if he was waived he isn’t worth much.

      •  norm says:

        For all his flaws, Petrus did show himself to be a good run blocker. He just never got a grasp of the Giants pass protection schemes. Maybe some of that had to do with an inability to account for Eli changing up protections at the line. If so, I could see him having success on a ground and pound team with a simpler passing offense. Say, the Jets.

        That said, I’m not going to fully believe that he was actually waived until I see it reported by a source other than Chris “Eli to miss season with separated shoulder” Mortensen.

        •  TonyMW says:

          I just think that Petrus isn’t very good. His only chance of catching on is with a team that is completely ravaged on the O-line. Bucs maybe?

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    I don’t think the plane trip matters at all. It’s a one hour trip and then they’ll be escorted to the stadium quickly from Newark. The total trip time will probably be about 45 minutes longer than it would have been if they’d taken the bus from their hotel. Whether getting out of their routine will matter is another story. We’ll see. Just remember, many of the Giants have been under duress this week because of what has happened to their homes, so they’re at least as much our of their routine as will be the Steelers.

    I think Dwyer being out matters, a LOT. I’ve said that while he is not particularly elusive he reminds me a lot of that rookie on the Skins who killed us throughout the first half of that game by keeping his legs moving and bouncing outside against poor tackling when defenders were surprised by his strength. The Steelers will try to run a bit, but this is going to be, as Paul says, a Roethlisberger Special. The Steelers will win or lose with The Rapist dinking, dunking, and then staying strong in the pocket trying to hit some bombs to Wallace. I’m sure TC has spent the entire week reminding the defense about tackling technique and how you have to wrap up the quarterback’s right arm. But our pass rushers will have to avoid being discouraged by balls coming out quickly for 6-12 yard plays before they can reach Ben. And Fewell had better use a good rotation so those guys can keep coming as the game goes on.

    I think JPP could have a great game, but I also think this is a situation where Osi might shine. Roethlisberger will hold the ball waiting for someone to open up. There will be opportunities to get a strip if Osi sets his man up right in the early parts of the game when he’s in there.

    Let me suggest a possible model here. We went out to Candlestick to play a supposedly great team that was at the top of their game. We made them one-dimensional by shutting down their run game and getting an early lead. Now, Alex Smith is not Ben Roethlisberger, but he had been playing great, dinking, dunking, and taking the occasional shot down the field. We beat that team easily. The Steelers just had a very good game but they are not the equal of the Niners by any stretch of the imagination. We should be able to easily negate their running game. Roethlisberger will want to dink-and-dunk and then take some shots deep. I think if we can manage to take an early lead we could wind up doing to these guys exactly what we did to San Francisco: make ‘em look like they’re overmatched. I don’t know how the game will go or which team wins, but I think the Giants have a decent chance to win comfortably if they can get an early lead. The Steelers are a good team. They are most definitely NOT the equal of the Giants, and there is no reason to fear them.

    We’ve got a better quarterback, a better running game (with all their injuries), a better O-line, a better D-line, a better secondary, and better receivers if Nicks is anywhere close to 90% tomorrow.

    Gun to my head, I think the Giants win in a close one if the Steelers get an early lead, in a not-very-close one if the Giants can get going early and build a 10-point lead.

    •  James Stoll says:

      What I’ve heard about Rapelessburgher this year is that he’s not getting sacked as much because he’s dumping it off more quickly than in the past

      •  TonyMW says:

        It’s not that anything has changed w/ Ben, it’s just that Haley runs a completely different type of offense than Bruce Arians did. Wallace has said that last season he’d regularly get 5 deep balls thrown his way per game, whereas this season he may not even have 5 total thus far. They are a more balanced offense than in years past, and a more dangerous offense in my opinion. They may no longer be a running team, but as FF55 noted, Dwyer being out is HUGE (While Mendenhall is nothing special, they now have to rely on Redman).

        Another huge advantage for us is Mike Adams. He IS a tremendous dude, but he is like a statue athletically. I think the DE that is over him at any given time will have to capitalize at every given opportunity. This in itself could cause the Steelers O to have a very long day….

  4.  Kevin Page says:

    Gut reaction ( and I do have a decent sized gut ) based on no scientific analysis:

    Giants 33
    Steelers 17

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