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Five key matchups in the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts Week 13 game

The Pittsburgh Steelers play the Indianapolis Colts in a primetime game on Sunday night. What are some of the most anticipated matchups?

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The Pittsburgh Steelers face an AFC rival in the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. After the Steelers loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12, the team cannot afford a loss to an AFC competitor if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Colts got off to a slow start, but have managed to recover, winning their last three games to arrive at a 6-5 record.

Here are five key matchups to keep an eye on in Week 13:

Key Matchup #1: Matt Hasselbeck vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers Secondary

Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck might be old, but he's not washed up. Just last week, he threw for 315 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, that has allowed an average of 241.4 yards per game (14th in the league). The Steelers are third-worst in the league in pass yards allowed, averaging 283.6 yards allowed per game. While the Steelers horrible pass defense is due in part to the front seven, the secondary was outrageously ineffective last week against the Seahawks. Will they regroup, or allow Hasselbeck to look like a future Hall of Famer?

Key Matchup #2: Ben Roethlisberger vs. His Body

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leads one of the best offenses in the entire league. He needs to be on the field to do that. So far this season, he has had an injured knee, hurt foot, and concussion-like symptoms. Roethlisberger needs to stay healthy during the game in order to make an impact-- obviously. Part of Roethlisberger's health depends on his offensive line, which has done an admirable job protecting him this season without center Maurkice Pouncey and tackle Kelvin Beachum.

Key Matchup #3: Mike Tomlin vs. Chuck Pagano

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has taken a lot of heat from the fan base recently, criticized for decisions involving play calling, clock management, and personnel decisions. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was rumored to be on the chopping block earlier this season after a slew of embarrassing losses. Tomlin's aggressive play-calling is often brilliant, but sometimes backfires.

Nothing Tomlin has done compares to this heavily-criticized play from Chuck Pagano:

At this point in the season, both head coaches need to orchestrate a sensible, smart game.

Key Matchup #4: Steelers receivers vs. CB Vontae Davis & the Colts Secondary

The Steelers have a glut of talented wide receivers. Antonio Brown was the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November. Behind him on the depth chart are Markus Wheaton, who had a phenomenal performance in Week 12, and Martavis Bryant. Tight end Heath Miller is sidelined with an injury, but Big Ben still has plenty of weapons to choose from.

The biggest threat to the Steelers wide receiver corps on Sunday is Colts cornerback Vontae Davis. Of Davis Brown said via ESPN, "He's their guy. He's aggressive, real physical. You know what he's going to do down the field. Real combative. He's coming off in run plays and short passes. Good tackler. Veteran cornerback. He's a good player." If Davis does shut down Brown, Wheaton and Bryant will still be a challenge for the rest of the Colts secondary. Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams of the Colts could help shut down the Steelers passing game, but that is highly unlikely given the productivity of Big Ben and his army of receivers.

Key Matchup #5: Both Teams vs. the Officials

Of course the Steelers offsensive line versus the Colts defensive front will be a key battle, as will the Colts offensive line versus the Steelers defensive front. There are also individual matchups that could prove exciting. If the refs, however, fail to call a pass interference on a cornerback who knocks down a wide receiver, or calls a personal foul on a linebacker who neutralizes a quarterback, then certain matchups are rendered irrelevant.

If the officials make absurd mistakes, let's hope they are equally distributed among the two teams.