Sunday December 7, 2008
4:15 PM EST
The last time these two teams met was October of 2004 and Big Ben was just a rookie and was throwing the ball to Ward and Burress, and handing it off to Duece Stately and the Bus. The Cowboys had Vinnie Testaverde under center and throwing to Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn and handing it off to Eddie George. Big Ben was 21 of 25 for almost 200 yards and 2 TD's and the Steelers overcame a 10 point deficit in the fourth quarter and won the game, 24-20, with a Bettis TD with a minute to go. A lot has changed in 4 years though, especially on the Cowboys side. Not very many of the Cowboys were on the roster when the Steelers went to Dallas and laid a beat down on them, so they can't claim the revenge card! This game is a matter of both teams fighting to either make or maintain their spot in the playoffs. Yes there is plenty of history between these two teams that most of the players probably barely remember because they were either too young or not even born yet.
The Cowboys are a completely different team with Romo in the lineup and have proved that since his return from a broken finger. They do a good job of racking up yards and points but the defense does an equally good job of letting teams hang around and rack up yards of their own. The Cowboys defense does do a great job in getting to the quarterback as they are ranked second behind the Steelers with 40 sacks. This does not bode well for the Steelers as they have been know to let Big Ben get sacked a few times... actually a lot! Ben has been sacked 16 times by NFC East opponents and missed the entire second half of one of those games. Granted Ben has only been sacked once in the last two games, but that could be related to the teams they were playing.
The Steelers defense is going to need to contain Owens and Williams as they did last week against Moss and Welker. Teams have not been successful at all running or passing on the Steelers defense so the key to this game is going to be how many turnovers can the Steelers force and how is the offense going to handle the pressure? We all know what the defense is capable of because they have been getting it done every week! It's the Steelers offense that needs to step up to the plate now and show the Nation what they can do. Besides, if there was ever a time for an offense to start to peak, it's right now!
Right now it's looking like it's going to be cold and snowy... not sure how the Cowboys will respond to those weather conditions but it definitely works in the Steelers favor. Other keys to a Steelers win are:
- Protect Ben the few times he is asked to pass it.
- Establish the running game that has been mediocre all year.
- Eliminate offensive turnovers and capitalize on the ones forced by the defense.
Join us this Sunday afternoon as we talk about the game and cheer our Steelers to a victory!