The Pittsburgh Steelers, coming off a win, are plowing forward, pushing anything that gets in their way into the ground.
With the Patriots recovering from a loss and losing a few players to injuries, Sunday night's matchup looks to be the Steelers game. A few key components of the Patriots team are either questionable for Sunday's game or injured.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will look to spread the Patriots defense out with running back Rashard Mendenhall rushing up the middle and up the sidelines and receivers Hines Ward and Mike Wallace, both of which have had outstanding seasons thus far.
Mendenhall has seven touchdowns from 168 carries resulting in 702 yards for the season. Wallace has 22 receptions for 507 yards and five touchdowns while Ward has 30 receptions for 375 yards and four touchdowns.
Having a reliable running back such as Mendenhall and quick receivers like Wallace and Ward will really pose a threat to the Patriots defense, which is seriously hurting due to injuries.
With safeties Pat Chung (knee), Jarrad Page (left Calf) and James Sanders (not injury related) all have either missed or have been limited in practice along with defensive linemen Myron Pryor and Mike Wright, the Patriots defense is definitely not looking to be in the best shape. If this game is going to be anywhere near close, the Patriots defense will need to find a way to stop Roethlisberger and his men.
On the other hand, the Steelers defense looks to capitalize on a weak Tom Brady in this matchup. Since Brady missed practice on Wednesday with a foot injury, linebackers James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons are licking their chops because they know a non-100 percent Brady equals a much weaker offense.
Going into Sunday’s game, Brady’s completion is looking the worst it has since the beginning of 2006. He has completed less than 60 percent of his passes in three consecutive games and with his mysterious foot injury, hopes do not seem to be that high for the quarterback.
And adding the cherry on the hot fudge sundae for the Steelers is the fact that the Patriots kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, is on the injured reserve list. This means they have lost their trusted kicker and will look to veteran Shayne Graham to fill Gostkowski’s golden shoes.
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