The NFC’s top team comes into Heinz Field for a huge inter-conference game as the Dallas Cowboys play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What: Dallas Cowboys (7-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Sunday November 13th 2016 425pm ET Kickoff
Weather: 54 and sunny, winds to 10 MPH
Line: Steelers -2.5
TV: FOX Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews on the sidelines
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Key Injuries: PIT: OUT: DeAngelo Williams (knee), Darrius Heyward-Bey (ankle), Markus Wheaton (Shoulder), Jordan Dangerfield (groin) DAL: OUT: Morris Claiborne (groin), Barry Church (forearm)
2016 NFL Ranks: Cowboys’ Offense: Overall 6th Rushing 2nd Passing 22nd . Cowboys’ Defense: Overall 9th Rushing 4th Passing 14th … Steelers’ Offense: Overall 18th Rushing 26th Passing 11th . Steelers’ Defense: Overall 19th Rushing 11th Passing 20th (Stats updated prior to TNF)
AFC North Rankings: Baltimore 5-4, Pittsburgh 4-4, Cincinnati 3-4-1, Cleveland 0-10
What You Need to Know: The Steelers have lost three-straight games… Ben Roethlisberger is 31-14 all-time versus NFC opponents… He is 18-4 at home… James Harrison needs one sack to pass Jason Gildon for the Steelers’ all-time sack record (77)…
What’s at Stake: With the Ravens’ win over Cleveland Thursday night, the Steelers need a win to keep pace. The Cowboys need a win to keep their two game lead over the New York Giants.
All-Time Series: Cowboys lead 15-13, Steelers lead 8-6 at home.
Series Highs: Passing: DAL Danny White 347 yards 1982 PIT Ed Brown 377 yards 1963 Rushing: DAL Emmitt Smith 171 yards 1994 PIT Franco Harris 179 yards 1977 Receiving: DAL Bob Hayes 170 yards 1967 PIT Buddy Dial 162 yards 1963
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
Berry Them on Special Teams. A week after two special teams’ gaffes cost the Steelers any chance of winning in Baltimore, Danny Smith needs to shore up his unit. One way of doing this starts with Jordan Berry. He has knocked 15 of his 39 punts this season inside the 20 yard line. Only once has he had a touchback too. Making any team go the length of the field in the NFL is important but the Cowboys have only started inside their own 20 yard line 12 times this season. Only Philadelphia has had less with 11. The Steelers’ defense could have a great advantage if Berry is able to pin the Cowboys deep on Sunday.
The Number is 20. The formula is very simple for the Steelers when it comes to success vs failure. If they score 20 points or more they 4-0 on the season. When they score less than 20 they are 0-4. The easy path to this is play great defense and play equally as well on offense. In my mind, the offense has to be the catalyst. Big Ben and company have to get out early and often. If they struggle then we could be looking at another game that doesn’t go in the Steelers’ favor.
Tackle, Tackle and Tackle Some More. The Steelers have struggled to tackle well this season especially on the road. Now they’re at home and tackling is as important as ever. Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t go down easy but he has fumbled three times so squaring him up and preventing him from yards after contact is important. The same could be said for Dez Bryant as well. His catches must be limited to catches without plays afterward but the bottom line is the Steelers have to tackle well all game long.
Prediction (5-3 on the season)
I was unfortunately right about last week so I am hoping to continue my streak but this time on the positive side. The Steelers’ players seem to understand how serious this game is given their record and recent losing streak. They’ve been pretty consistently good in the second half of recent seasons and this game could be the beginning of another positive second half. I don’t think it will be pretty but I think the Steelers find a way on Sunday.
Steelers 25 Cowboys 21