Giants vs. Steelers: NFL Week 9 Preview

By Jeff Shull

Game Details

Weather: High 49, Low 35, 10 percent chance of rain, winds at 10 mph
Network: CBS
Kickoff Time: 4:25 EST
Location: MetLife Stadium

Stats That Matter

Pittsburgh Steelers

Point Differential: +23 (10th)
Yards per game: 369.9 (10th). Yards allowed per game: 274.1 (2nd)
Passing yards per game: 272.6 (7th). Passing yards allowed per game: 182.6 (1st)
Rushing yards per game: 97.3 (21st): Rushing yards allowed per game 91.6 (9th)
Turnover Differential: +1 (13th)
Sacks: 12 (24th). Sacks allowed: 14 (10th)
Offensive 3rd down efficiency: 52% (1st)
Defensive 3rd down efficiency: 44% (28th)

New York Giants

Point Differential: +73 (4th)
Yards per game: 396.8 (4th). Yards allowed per game: 386.5 (24th)
Passing yards per game: 282.1 (6th). Passing yards allowed per game: 273.5 (26th)
Rushing yards per game: 114.6 (12th). Rushing yards allowed per game 113 (19th)
Turnover Differential: +13 (1st)
Sacks: 21 (7th). Sacks allowed: 7 (1st)
Offensive 3rd down efficiency: 39% (18th)
Defensive 3rd down efficiency: 36% (11th)


This seems to be setting up as one of those classic offense versus defense matchups. The Giants were part of a similar game earlier this season against the San Francisco 49ers. It seemed like the 49ers were the overwhelming favorites on paper, but the Giants proved the old adage of “that’s why they play the games” rings true.

One of the best ways to build a winning team is to build within the trenches and have an opportunistic defense. These qualities are often overlooked by fans but the elite teams show a concerted effort to improve their roster in this regard. You can say the Giants are elite in both of those categories. Their pass rushers are some of the best in the NFL and their offensive line has allowed a league-low seven sacks.

Also, the defense has forced a league-high 24 turnovers and 14 in the last three games. However, they are facing an offense that has only turned the ball over six times all season long. Something will have to give. The Giants have struggled against decent offenses this season and the yardage numbers on defense reflect that. However, in the only stat that truly matters (points), they are a top 10 unit.

That is due to the turnovers and a certain stinginess in the red zone. The defense will have their hands full with the Steelers weapons. Heath Miller is having a Pro Bowl season and Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown form a solid tandem at wide receiver. They have no shortage of weapons, and after the 437 yard performance by Tony Romo last weekend, the secondary has been put on notice.

Eli Manning and the offense have a daunting task on their hands against the league’s top pass defense. They struggled against the Dallas Cowboys last week, and Eli has only thrown one touchdown pass in the past two games combined. He has to play better.

The Steelers are starting to find a run game which could be a problem for the Giants. Jonathan Dwyer has back-to-back 100-yard performances which is opening up the offense for Ben Roethlisberger.

This will be a close game and the weather will be a factor. Cold and windy is not conducive to the Giants offense, but they should do enough to get it done.

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