Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Players to Watch in Week 4
5 Players to Watch in Week 4
I’m sure the people of London didn’t expect to have two winless teams coming to play in Wembley Stadium this Sunday, but unfortunately, that’s the reality of this Week 4 battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings. The Steelers and Vikings are both 0-3, and are looking for their first win of the 2013 NFL regular season.
Even though these two teams have goose eggs in their win columns, there are still some players and key matchups worth watching.
The main attraction of this game is Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The reigning league MVP should get a heavy workload against Pittsburgh’s front seven, especially with the rib injury that will sideline Minnesota’s starting quarterback Christian Ponder. The Vikings will start backup quarterback Matt Cassel.
For the Steelers, as usual, all eyes will be on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In Pittsburgh’s Week 3 loss, Roethlisberger had over 400 yards passing. Even though Minnesota is tied for first in the league in interceptions, they are ranked 28th in the NFL in pass defense, giving up an average of 315.7 yards per game.
One of the very few positive things Steelers fans have to watch is the play of safety Troy Polamalu, who seems to be back to his old self. We’ll definitely be watching him to see if he can return his ball-hawking ways against the Vikes and get Pittsburgh their first turnover of the year on defense.
Though great attention will be geared towards the Steelers’ marquee players, there are five more that will be vital to the team’s potential success against Minnesota in merry old England.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
5. Cortez Allen
Cornerback Cortez Allen will be seeing his first game action since getting injured in the first half of the season opener. We’ll find out if he can hit the ground running after missing the last two games.
4. Heath Miller
The presence of tight end Heath Miller will be essential to not only the Steelers’ passing game, but also to their running game. Miller could be a mismatch against some of Minnesota’s second-string defensive backs, and his ability to stretch the field should make it a bit easier for Pittsburgh’s struggling running game.
3. Mike Adams
In last week’s loss, left tackle Mike Adams was occasionally replaced by Kelvin Beachum in order to get some better protection around Roethlisberger in the passing game. This week, Adams will be matched up against Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, and will have his hands full all game (assuming that he isn’t replaced by Beachum again).
2. Kion Wilson
Steelers inside linebacker Kion Wilson will be key in trying to contain Peterson on runs in the middle of the field. Wilson has been rotating with rookie Vince Williams. Wilson needs to show some improvement in his play, because Williams is breathing down his neck for his starting position.
1. Le'Veon Bell
Finally, Steeler Nation will be able to see the start of the Le’Veon Bell era. Though he might not start, he should see some significant playing time, and hopefully will have some success against the Vikings’ 21st ranked run defense.