Affiliate – SBR Forum – In a rare matchup between two of the NFL’s marquee franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants will tangle for the first time in more than four years Sunday at MetLife Stadium. According to this week’s NFL odds, the Giants (6-2) are a 3.5-point home favorite against the Steelers (4-3). The over/under for this potential Super Bowl preview was pegged at 47.5 points.
After an inconsistent start to the season, the Steelers have seemingly righted the ship with back-to-back wins coming on the road against the Bengals and at home against the Redskins last week. Pittsburgh has been led by a resurgent running game to go along with the NFL’s second-ranked defense.
This week Pittsburgh faces a Giants team that is riding a four-game winning streak of its own. New York continued its roll last week by surviving a late Dallas Cowboys comeback attempt that came up just short.
The Steelers stout defense looked particularly good last week against a dangerous Redskins team. It limited dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin III to just 16 of 34 passing for 177 yards and just eight yards rushing on six carries.
Pittsburgh now boasts the NFL’s best pass defense at just 182.6 yards a game allowed through the air. It will need to live up to that billing against the Giants to contain the prolific Eli Manning and the league’s fourth-best offense.
The Steelers have also gotten much better production from its running game after a slow start to the season. Running back Jonathan Dwyer, who was third on the depth chart at the start of the year, has been impressive filling in for regular starter Rashard Mendenhall. The third-year back out of Georgia Tech has run for over 100 yards each of the last two weeks, which has alleviated much of the pressure from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Mendenhall may also return this week from an Achilles injury to add depth at the running back position.
This is one of the featured games of Week Nine and it could go either way. The Steelers have the defense to keep this one close, however, and their supporters have to like that the line is more than a field goal. Look for the Steelers to threaten a straight-up win and keep this one within the 3.5-point spread.