If ever there was a regular season game in which Roethlisberger had equal motivation from past performances as well as the necessity he put the team on his shoulders, it's this one. Roethlisberger has not started off this season in his usual high-level status, but he made better throws against Chicago in Week 3 than he did against Tennessee and Cincinnati. That frustration is going to fuel him in this game.
Minnesota's secondary has been ravaged so far this season, with starting cornerback Chris Cook and safety Jamarca Sanford both out for this game. Expect the Steelers to take advantage of this in a similar fashion to what Cleveland did in Week 3. Whether the Steelers can hold Jared Allen and Brian Robison - the Vikings' defensive ends - at bay long enough for any 7-step drops remains to be seen, but Roethlisberger will attack plenty often with 3-and-5 step drops.
The Steelers' kick return teams have done a decent job so far in 2013, but more to the point, the Vikings have been abysmal. Most of this was set up by Devin Hester's franchise-record performance in Week 2, but the Steelers have done a decent enough job so far this year to feel this is an advantage.
The Vikings will start veteran Matt Cassel at quarterback - in many ways, he's the perfect antidote to the Steelers' takeaway woes. Cassel has six career turnovers in three starts against the Steelers, and has completed less than 50 percent of his passes overall. He's making his first start of the season for the Vikings.
10 Cent Ferrari
Adrian Peterson is without question the most talented running back in the NFL. Minnesota's offensive line is playing poorly enough to waste that weapon - any other running back would fall far behind Peterson's 93 yards a game and 4.1 yards a carry average. Both left tackle Matt Kalil and center John Sullivan were Pro Bowl players last year, and neither look near that level so far this season. It's a game the Steelers can dominate up front, and bottle up the explosive Peterson enough to control the game on defense.
Listen to The Standard is The Standard pregame show:
The Stanard is The Standard - Episode 4
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers vs. Vikings in London: Everything you need to know
- Which Steelers to start/sit in Fantasy Football Week 4
- Steelers defensive key matchup: Vince Williams vs. Adrian Peterson and Jerome Felton
- Steelers offensive key match-up: Adams and Gilbert vs. Allen and Robison
- Vince Williams earning veterans' respect
- Past favors Pittsburgh in Cassel vs. Steelers