For the first time in 12 years the Pittsburgh Steelers head to the Pacific Northwest to play the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams are looking for all-important wins to improve their chances of making the postseason. Here’s what you need to know heading into the game.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Seattle Seahawks (5-5)
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
When: Sunday November 29th, 2015 425pm Eastern
Weather: 43 and partly sunny
Line: Seattle -3.5
TV: CBS Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson 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.
Key Injuries: As of Friday AM… SEA RB Marshawn Lynch OUT… PIT Did Not Practice on Thursday Ryan Shazier (Knee) and Brandon Boykin (ankle)
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: St. Louis (4-6) at Cincinnati (8-2), Baltimore (3-7) at Cleveland (2-8)
What’s at Stake: At 5-5, the defending NFC Champion Seahawks find themselves in a ‘must-win’ situation. With Arizona way out front in the NFC West, the Wild-Card is the only option for Seattle and they suddenly have more teams to compete against with Tampa Bay and Chicago surging. For the Steelers, it would be a third straight win and huge road victory on the West Coast where Mike Tomlin’s teams have not always fared well.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead 9-8 all-time. Pittsburgh is 1-6 all-time in Seattle with their last win there coming in 1983.
Series Highs Passing: SEA Jim Zorn 277 yards 1981, PIT Ben Roethlisberger 298 yards 2011 Rushing: SEA Jon Vaughn 131 yards 1993, PIT Jerome Bettis 138 yards 1998 Receiving: SEA Joey Galloway 138 yards 1998, PIT Mike Wallace 126 yards 2011
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’
Stop. The. Run. Marshawn Lynch had surgery this week and is out but I get the feeling the Steelers would have rather faced him than Thomas Rawls who rushed for over 200 yards last week. Seattle has the number one rush offense in the NFL while the Steelers rank fifth in run defense so something will have to give here. For me, it will start in the middle where Steve McLendon, Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt will need to disrupt the the Seahawks’ offensive line. Allowing the linebackers to get where they need to will be critical in limiting Rawls. With QB Russell Wilson getting hit as often as he has this season it will be critical to put the game in his hands. Stopping the run will do that and force him to throw much more often than the Seahawks want him to be throwing.
Find Your Balance Todd Haley. Despite the .500 record, the Seahawks’ defense still ranks second in the NFL in total defense. They give up less than 100 yards per game rushing and just over 200 yards per game passing. I don’t think Steelers’ Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley can afford to fall in love with the run or the pass. He has to find positive balance with both. That will likely mean putting Ben Roethlisberger in positions where can distribute the ball among many different players.
What Can Brown Do for You? I’m not exactly talking UPS here as you know…. Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown has been red-hot and now faces one of the league’s best defenses against the pass. While I believe Haley will have to find balance for the offense as I pointed out above, I think his most important job may be getting Brown into the right positions to be successful. Look for him to be used both on the right and the left as well in the slot which will force the Seahawks to choose their poison in terms of how to defend him. Brown is most dangerous when he gets a free release and can get across the field on crossing routes that drive cornerbacks and linebackers crazy. Don’t be surprised either if you see Brown returning a punt or two as well as shaky as Jacoby Jones was against Cleveland.
Final Prediction: Seahawks 24 Steelers 19