Justin K. Aller
Playing on the road is a daunting task, and playing the defending champs on their turf is substantially tougher. But the Steelers have just enough advantages over the Giants to make Neal Coolong think Pittsburgh can pull off its second straight road win.
Jonathan Dwyer is not top to bottom a better runner than Isaac Redman
Dwyer's two-game run of success won't continue this afternoon when the Steelers take on the Giants in Week 9. A quadriceps injury will keep his meteoric rise in check for at least one week. Redman gets the start, a position he held at the start of this season.
The difference here is the Steelers offensive line, not the change in running backs. Redman had won the confidence of the coaching staff over Dwyer heading into the season, so if Dwyer can run as successfully as he has, so can Redman. If the Steelers can run the ball as successfully as they have the last two weeks, the Steelers can beat the Giants.
Todd Haley's offense will win the time of possession battle
We could go for days on Ben Roethlisberger vs. Eli Manning. Let's talk leaders of the respective offenses. The Steelers, under Haley, have improved bit by bit, and are poised for a breakout game. Facing an opportunistic defense that makes big plays more than it prevents opponents from scoring, a ball-controlled offense is just what Dr. Haley will be ordering.
And it's the Steelers' biggest strength on offense.
What's Steelers TE Heath Miller going to do to a safety in coverage?
Expect the Giants to march three safeties on the field for much of their nickel downs. In doing that, they're daring Roethlisberger to find Miller off the line. His combination of size and speed are going to be too much for any of the three safeties the Giants will trot out there.
They'll likely have to go over-under with a linebacker and a safety, particularly in mid-range situations (second and six, third and five, etc.). That opens up the weak side (typically wide receiver Antonio Brown, and he's a killer in space).
The Giants cause and commit lots of turnovers. The Steelers don't cause or commit many turnovers. It's sort of fire vs. ice, but the Steelers' ability to maintain possession filters down to benefit their defense. With the amount of turnovers the Giants commit, they turn it over pretty frequently. If the ball is not turned over, who has the advantage? The team used to generating its own time of possession, or the one that's used to taking the ball away to set up points? Advantage, Steelers.
Mike Adams can establish the right edge
The more I've watched Adams, the more impressed I am with him as a run blocker. It's a key match-up in this game; Adams vs. DE Justin Tuck for the offensive right edge. Tuck is one of the best 4-3 defensive ends in the game against the run. He's tough, strong and quick. So is Adams. The Steelers will look to their bread-and-butter, power running behind left guard Willie Colon pulling to the right side. If Adams can stick on his block, the Giants linebackers will be isolated more than Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will want.