AFC foe and possible first-round playoff opponent Indianapolis comes to the Steel City for a huge game loaded with playoff implications. Both teams are fighting to stay in the playoff hunt and losses for either could be devastating to their respective chances.
What: Indianapolis Colts (6-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Sunday December 6, 2015 825pm Eastern
Weather: 41 and partly cloudy by kickoff
Line: Steelers -6
TV: NBC Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michelle Tafoya on the sidelines.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Rabble TV: SCB will be calling the game live and interacting with you the fans. Click here to tune in!
Key Injuries: As of Friday PM… Heath Miller/Questionable (ribs), Sean Spence/OUT (hamstring) Ben Roethlisberger/Probable (concussion)
NFL Ranks : Colts 22nd total offense (26th Rushing/14th Passing)/26th total defense (24th Rushing/27th Passing)… Steelers 4th total offense (8th Rushing/6th Passing)/23rd total defense (7th Rushing/30th Passing)
What You Need to Know: The Steelers’ William Gay played in his 138th straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… The Steelers are now 4-2 this season at Heinz Field… Mike Tomlin is now 51-19 all-time at Heinz Field… Lawrence Timmons has played in 79 straight games The longest active streak among all Steelers…
AFC North: Baltimore (4-7) at Miami (4-7), Cincinnati (9-2) at Cleveland (2-9)
What’s at Stake: By the time the Colts kickoff on Sunday night, they’ll know what the Texans have done as they play a crucial game at Buffalo. Currently, the Colts and Texans are tied at 6-5 atop the AFC South. While technically still alive, the Steelers can pretty much kiss the division title goodbye. They’ll also be paying close attention to what happens in Buffalo as well as the Chiefs’ trip to Oakland and the Jets’ game versus the Giants. It really boils down to this for the Steelers; they can only afford one more loss in their last five weeks in order to control their own destiny.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead the all-time series 15-6 and have a 5-0 record versus the Colts in the playoffs. The Steelers have only lost twice to the Colts in Pittsburgh in 16 overall games.
Series Highs Passing: IND Andrew Luck 400 yards 2014, PIT Ben Roethlisberger 522 yards 2014 Rushing: IND Edgerrin James 124 yards 2005, PIT Barry Foster 179 yards 1994 Receiving: IND T.Y. Hilton 155 yards 2014, PIT Louis Lipps 154 yards 1985
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
Duh…. Improve the Pass Defense Look, it’s normal to have a pass defense that ranks a little lower when your defense is good against the run but what we’ve seen recently from the Steelers’ is just plain bad. The poor numbers against the pass are due to a sketchy pass rush and total incompetence in the secondary. The Steelers have no choice but to get better even against 40-year old Matt Hasselbeck who is unbeaten in his four starts this season as the Colts’ signal-caller. Regardless of whether we see more Brandon Boykin or Rob Golden or Doran Grant, we need to see better tackling and more discipline in zone coverage. If those things don’t come together, the season will unravel quickly.
Ahem!!! Balance Todd, Balance! Last week I said one of the keys to beating the Seahawks was to find balance on offense. 55 pass attempts later, the Steelers left Seattle with a loss. While I’ve always been an advocate of throwing early to set up the run later, Haley has to get more touches for DeAngelo Williams in the running game. I’m not suggesting by any stretch that you take the ball out of Ben Roethlisberger’s hands, I’m saying the better the running game the better Big Ben is in the passing game.
Let Your Best Players Win the Game Mike Tomlin. Stop going to the “Todd Haley School of Over-Thinking It” and stick with your best players and best plays. If it’s 4th and 2 and you want to go for it then leave your all-pro QB in the game. If Jarvis Jones is playing well and James Harrison isn’t then let Jones play. We are at a point in the season where your best players have been established and it’s high time to ride them to victory. Don’t get cute anymore Coach. Stick with the people who got you where you are.
Final Prediction: Steelers 32 Colts 23
photo courtesy cbsnews.com