Week Three of ‘The Michael Vick Experience’ continues in Pittsburgh as the Steelers host the NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals. No one is scoring points quite like the Cards are so this will be a great challenge for a Steelers’ defense that seems to be getting better each and every week.
What: Arizona Cardinals (4-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Sunday October 18th, 2015 1pm Eastern
TV: FOX Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Pete Schrager 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. Here’s the link!
Key Injuries: PIT QB Ben Roethlisberger Doubtful/Knee, LB Ryan Shazier Doubtful/Shoulder, S Will Allen Doubtful/Ankle… AZ LB Alex Okafor OUT/Calf
What You Need to Know: William Gay played in his 133rd straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… Antonio Brown has now caught a pass in 77 consecutive games… Mike Tomlin is 23-9 in the month of October… Le’Veon Bell eclipsed 100 total yards from scrimmage for the 20th time in his career… Shamarko Thomas recovered the first fumble of his NFL career.
AFC North: Cincinnati (5-0) at Buffalo (3-2), Denver (5-0) at Cleveland (2-3) , Baltimore (1-4) at San Francisco (1-4)
All-Time Series: Steelers lead the all-time series 32-23-3 and hold a 21-8-1 mark at home.
Series Highs Passing: PIT Ben Roethlisberger 361 yards 2011, AZ Charley Johnson 428 yards 1963 Receiving: PIT Buddy Dial 186 yards 1962, AZ Jackie Smith 212 yards 1963 Rushing: PIT Jerome Bettis 142 yards 1997, AZ John David Crow 203 yards 1960
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
Let Loose the Two-Headed Monster. Despite what many Steelers’ fans think, Cards’ QB Carson Palmer hasn’t been that bad against the Steelers in his career. To this point, he’s thrown 20 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. You’d think those numbers were reversed listening to Steelers’ fans sometimes… Regardless, the way you make Palmer uncomfortable in the pocket is to do exactly what he hates; pressure up the middle. That means Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt have to keep doing what they’ve been doing – getting pressure into the lap of the quarterback. If Palmer gets comfortable, he will pick the Steelers’ secondary apart.
Don’t Change a Thing Mike Vick. Think about this for a second; Michael Vick is a Josh Scobee field goal away from being 2-0 as the back-up QB. The reality is that he isn’t but he’s been good enough let’s put it that way. With Antonio Brown’s recent comments about needing Vick to trust him, that scares me. I can see Vick forcing some throws in an effort to get Brown more involved in the passing game. My advice is to ignore the temptation and take what is there. If Vick starts locking on Brown, especially against a really good Arizona secondary, then I fear the turnovers he’s avoided will be coming. Just be you Mike Vick. The new you that is, not the old you.
Make the Cards Lose a Dimension. Arizona is currently the third best team in the league when it comes to running the football. They are averaging almost 135 yards per game. The Steelers currently rank 18th in the NFL in stopping the run and they’ve been at both ends of the spectrum so far in the last two weeks. They gave up almost 200 yards rushing to Baltimore and then shut down the Chargers last Monday night. In order to force the Cardinals into being one-dimensional they have to stop the run especially on first and second down. Keeping the Cards and Carson Palmer from being balanced will be a key in shutting them down.
Game Prediction: Cardinals 22 Steelers 17