The Pittsburgh Steelers' backs are against the wall, in terms of their place in the AFC Playoff Picture. At 6-5 there is little to no margin of error for the boys in the black and gold unis, and the Indianapolis Colts come to Heinz Field in a prime time matchup with huge playoff implications involved.
The Steelers haven't played particularly well against AFC competition this year, and their poor AFC record is what has them in the 8th position in the AFC Playoff race, rather than as high as 5th. A win over the Andrew Luck-less Colts would go a long way in helping the Steelers' playoff hopes with 5 games remaining in the season.
However, just because Luck isn't in the lineup doesn't mean this Colts offense hasn't been doing just fine with Matt Hasselbeck under center. In fact, they are coming off back-to-back wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers where they have score 24 and 25 points in consecutive games.
Hasselbeck has his share of weapons in Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, and against the porous Steelers secondary, this could have the making of a shootout.
On the other hand, the Steelers offense could do something they haven't done in their franchise history, and that is score 30 or more points in 4 consecutive football games. With Ben Roethlisberger under center, and all his weapons at his disposal, this is a top tier unit. Roethlisberger will be throwing the ball often to the likes of Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant and even DeAngelo Williams out of the backfield. The Steelers offense is cruising, and has feasted on the best-of-the best in recent weeks.
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As for me, I have a feeling this game is going to be a shootout. Hasselbeck still has the capability to pick apart a secondary as poor as Pittsburgh's. Despite their shortcomings, Mike Tomlin's failures to make changes in the back half of the defense could play a huge role in the outcome of the game. However, when all is said and done, the Steelers offense will simply be too much for the Colts' defense, and the Steelers will come out of Week 13 with their 7th win of the season, poised for the final push to the postseason.
Jeff Hartman's Prediction (BTSC Editor):