The Pittsburgh Steelers are in London putting the final touches on their game plan for Sunday’s match-up against the Minnesota Vikings. Going into preparations, they knew they would be seeing a large dose of All Pro running back Adrian Peterson. However, after today’s announcement by the Vikings, they should expect to see even more of him.Christian Ponder out of the contest with a broken rib. In his place, they will turn to veteran back-up Matt Cassel to lead their quest for their first victory of 2013.
While for some teams, this last minute switch at quarterback could lead to some game plan issues, but for the Steelers it could actually be a bit of an advantage in their preps. As a whole, they are much more familiar with Cassel, who has faced the Steelers three times and holds a 1-2 record in those games. By comparison, they have yet to face Ponder and would rely solely on game tape to break down his characteristics.
Not only do they have success in the win column against him, they also do a good job holding him to an average of 190 yards passing (47.4 completion percentage) with two touchdowns and three interceptions. With all that in mind, it is understandable why the Vikings would turn to Peterson. Yet, that could play into the Steelers favor as they can now focus more on stopping the run, as Cassel is nowhere near as athletic or elusive as Ponder as a runner.
If they can make the Vikings one-dimensional by limiting Peterson, history shows there is a chance that the defense can force Cassel into a turnover, something the unit has not accomplished in 2013. The Vikings are turnover prone (10 in 2013) and will present chances, all the Steelers have to do now is execute.
The Steelers also released their final injury report and appear to be as healthy as can be in this 2013 campaign. As expected rookie running back Le’Veon Bell (foot) is probable and will likely make his NFL debut on Sunday. Joining him as probable are cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle), tight end Heath Miller (knee), defensive end Brett Keisel (hamstring) and nose tackle Steve McLendon (hamstring).
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