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Behind Enemy Lines: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Giants Beat’s, Scott Thompson, goes Behind Enemy Lines to talk to Steel City Insider’s publisher, Jim Wexell to get the in Week 13

            In order to keep their win streak going, the New York Giants must go through the Pittsburgh Steelers’  on their own turf at Heinz Field. The Steelers are always a tough opponent and they currently hold their own win streak as they have won two straight.

            To learn more about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ plans to stop the New York Giants this Sunday, The Giants Beat’s, Scott Thompson goes Behind Enemy Lines to talk to Steel City Insider’s publisher, Jim Wexell on the Steelers’ biggest threats to the Giants and what he thinks the result will be after 60 minutes:

ST: Let's talk Antonio Brown. Big Ben said the team spoke to him about his TD celebrations and how he needs to cut it out. Do you think he is a distraction to his team because of this or no?

JW: This has become a big story in Pittsburgh and to be honest it's one I've ignored, so I hope I can help you out here with what I do know. I do know he should stop getting penalties after scoring touchdowns. Whatever the rule is, learn it, stop it, get over it because no one cares about your celebration. Is it a distraction? No, unless Antonio makes it one. 

ST: Ben Roethlisberger is a nuisance for any opposing team, but when he is at Heinz Field, it is a whole other animal to tame. His stats show a 99.5 passer rating along with averaging almost four TDs a game when at home. Why do you think he is so good in Pittsburgh?

JW: I think it has to do with crowd noise and the O-line for the most part. A pass rush on the road is always fierce. But let's also break it down: The Steelers are perpetually jinxed at Philadelphia and that game/loss was a classic letdown scenario following the two games that opened the season: A Monday night season opener and a home opener against the hated Bengals. In the second road loss this season, Ben injured his knee right before halftime against an underrated Miami defense and limped through the second half, and it must also be mentioned the Steelers had lost their starting No. 2 WR, Sammie Coates, who was filling in for an injured Markus Wheaton, who was filling in for a suspended Martavis Bryant. The third road loss, at Baltimore's underrated defense, saw the same problems at WR (not to mention TE) and Ben returning from his knee surgery after an awful week of limping around the practice field and receiving minimal reps. Ben finally got healthy for the Nos. 4-5 road games -- played 4 days apart -- and put together decent games against poor defenses while still without a legit No. 2 WR, but with the TE, Ladarius Green, finally off the PUP list and finally progressing. It's more a matter of circumstance than "road" games, although road games are obviously more difficult in terms of stopping pass rushes.

ST: The final star of the Big Three in Pittsburgh is RB Le'Veon Bell who has been great all season (when healthy). In the past two contests, he ripped apart the Browns and Colts for over 250 yards total. However, those run defenses don't compare to the Giants who are ranked fifth in the league. Considering this fact, do you think the Steelers still stick to giving Bell a large workload?

JW: Absolutely, but now there are more choices for Ben as Coates returns to health as the No. 2 (his broken fingers on his left hand are healing) and the TE Green has become a more viable threat. Ben can spread it around. Also, DeAngelo Williams will be back soon, so that would allow Le'Veon to line up in the slot more often to help the thin WR corps.

ST: Flipping to the other side of the ball, the Steelers defense has not been too good this season, especially in the secondary. They are currently ranked 22nd when defending the pass, and the Giants come in with a wide receiver tandem similar in skill to the Steelers' threats. Do you see them having trouble defending the pass this week?

Again, ABSOLUTELY. Rookie CB Artie Burns gives the Steelers size and ball skills they haven't had over there, but at times he's a train wreck with his technique and assignments. Ross Cockrell was discarded by the Bills two Augusts back and is becoming a nice reclamation project as the other starter. He's smart and rangy with decent ball skills. Will Gay is a veteran slot guy, and the No. 4, Justin Gilbert, hasn't been used much but provides some depth. It's a better set of corners then they had last year, and as Burns and Cockrell continue to progress it will get better. But any week Beckham and Co. come to town is a potential for disaster. Second-round pick Sean Davis is finally at home at SS as opposed to the slot corner spot he manned early on and is improving at a fast rate. Mike Mitchell is a good FS.

 ST: The Giants have tons riding on this game as it would be a statement to beat a great team in the Steelers on their home turf. This will certainly prompt them to come extra prepared and fired up on Sunday. So, what is your prediction for this matchup? Do the Steelers close the door on the G-Men? Why?

JW: I figure it will be a high-scoring game, for one. I'm sure both teams will be at an emotional pitch. I figure the Steelers will squeak it out but I'm certainly not going to bet on it.

 


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