Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Who Has Advantage?
Lions vs. Steelers: Who Has the Advantage?
This coming Sunday, the Detroit Lions will travel to Heinz Field in hopes to extend their two-game winning streak when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both the Lions (6-3) and Steelers (3-6) will be entering Week 11 of the 2013 NFL regular season on opposite ends of the spectrum. Detroit is currently in first place of the NFC North, while Pittsburgh finds themselves at the very bottom of the AFC North. However, both teams are 3-2 in their last five games.
With only a one-game lead in their division, the Lions will need this win in order to guarantee that they will remain atop the NFC North for at least another week. As for the Steelers, a win over Detroit, and a loss by the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals will help them get one step closer to getting back in the hunt for the AFC North crown.
On the surface, things seem to be well for the Lions, but the same probably can’t be said for Pittsburgh. Over the past week, there have been rumors that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants out of the Steel City. Roethlisberger has denied saying anything of that nature. Hopefully for Big Ben and for Pittsburgh, the off-the-field distractions won’t have a negative effect on their performance on Sunday.
The last time these two teams met was in 2009. It was clear that the Steelers, who won the Super Bowl the previous year, had the advantage over the Lions in their 28-20 victory. Let’s take a look and see if things have changed over the past four years.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
Steelers Pass Offense vs. Lions Pass Defense
Believe it or not, the Lions have fewer sacks on the season than the Steelers do. Pittsburgh’s 11th ranked passing attack should be able to handle Detroit’s 27th ranked pass defense. With Roethlisberger having one of the best receivers in the league in Antonio Brown at his disposal, along with Jerricho Cotchery’s midseason emergence, the Steelers should make a lot of noise through the air.
Steelers Run Offense vs. Lions Run Defense
Detroit has arguably the best interior defensive line in the NFL with defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. These two behemoths are the reason why the Lions have the eighth-best run defense in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s running game, which only averages 80.6 yards per game, will be in for a long day at home.
Lions Pass Offense vs. Steelers Pass Defense
Of all of the matchups in this game, this one will be the most intriguing. Detroit’s third-ranked passing attack is led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson. On the other side, Pittsburgh is allowing an average of 201.3 passing yards per game (tied for fourth in the NFL). However, the Steelers have had a couple of rough outings when covering big tight ends. Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew could be another added to this list. And we can’t forget Detroit’s second-leading receiver running back Reggie Bush, and the fact that the Lions have surrendered the fewest sacks in the league.
Lions Run Offense vs. Steelers Run Defense
The matchup between Detroit’s 21st ranked run offense and Pittsburgh’s 29th ranked run defense looks to be a tossup. Bush has only topped 100 yards rushing twice this season, which was against the same team. The Steelers are coming off a game where they held seventh-ranked running game under the century mark.
The usually reliable David Akers has missed four field goals thus far this season for the Lions. With the exception of one game, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham has been “Mr. Clutch.” Brown had a couple of long returns in the punt game last week, and as a team, the Steelers are averaging 13.7 yards per punt return.
As mentioned before, both teams have won three of their last five games. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz seems to have had control of his team from the start of the season, while Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is finally getting a hold of his. The recent off-the-field distractions could give Tomlin one more unnecessary thing to worry about this week.
This is definitely a must-win for both teams. It appears that this game will be won by the team that is more productive in the aerial attack. Pittsburgh’s home-field advantage will help keep this game close, but Megatron and the rest of the Lions should be enough to come away with another road victory.
Prediction: Lions 27, Steelers 23