Before we get into what is big this week, lets look at the statistical breakdown of the game:
Passing: Roethlisberger: 26/33, 333 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 29 car, 165 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Ward: 8 rec, 113 yards
Passing: Stafford: 24/36, 296 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Smith: 19 car, 30 yards
Receiving: Johnson: 8 rec, 133 yards
Offense (rank in NFL)
Pittsburgh: 383.8 yards/game (6th)
Detroit: 318.8 yards/game (20th)
Pittsburgh: 278.8 yards/game (3rd)
Detroit: 217.3 yards/game (17th)
Pittsburgh: 105 yards/game (16th)
Detroit: 101.5 yards/game (18th)
Pittsburgh: 21.3 points/game (15th)
Detroit: 20.8 points/game (17th)
Pittsburgh: 279.8 yards/game (5th)
Detroit: 322 yards/game (14th)
Pittsburgh: 61.5 yards/game (3rd)
Detroit: 121.3 yards/game (20th)
Pittsburgh: 218.3 yards/game (15th)
Detroit: 240.3 yards/game (25th)
Pittsburgh: 19.5 points/game (t-11th)
Detroit: 33.5 points/game (32nd)
Looking at this game from a purely statistical basis it looks as if the Steelers should really have this one in the bag. Our offense can score points and their defense is worst in the league at stopping teams from getting into their end zone. Too bad those statistics don't win games.
Ben Roethlisberger will be a huge part in this game. He is in the top five in almost every major statistical QB category and is even in the top five of ALL fantasy players in scoring (I would know, he is on my team). He is doing everything he can to give this team the chance to win.
The offensive line has been just out of their mind this season so far. Sure, Ben has been sacked 10 times this season, but a lot of those sacks are on Ben holding the ball too long. Look, I am not saying this is a really bad thing because the good outweighs the bad in that department but you can't look at sacks and just assume that they are on the offensive line, because they are not. The line might not seem like they have a big chore against the Lions this week they still have to treat it like it is a top defense. That is how you stay sharp, and that is how you dominate teams you are supposed to. As we will talk later, Larry Foote will be ready to play against the Steelers and should know a little bit of inside information so the Steelers are still going to need to be on their A game in order to keep Ben clean and go into next week only giving up the 10 sacks.
Rashard Mendenhall could have a chance to have another big day for the Steelers. It looks as if Willie is not going to be playing with the turf toe so that will give Rashard another chance to make an impression for the team. Detroit is a little banged up on their defensive line so this could be a perfect opportunity for the Steelers to continue their flow from last week. Mendenhall gashed the Chargers for 165 yards on 29 carries. What most people don't talk about is his blitz pick up and his blocking last week. He was finally not missing block and knocking some defenders on their butts. If he comes with the attitude that he did last week I can see a big week for both himself, and the Steelers offense. Just heard the word that Willie Parker is out of the lineup for Sunday so that will mean another 20 or so carries for Rashard. Get it done.
On the defensive end Ike Taylor has been as shut down as it gets for a cornerback. If he could catch he would be a pro bowler for the past few seasons. He does the "you can't see me" thing sometimes, well sometimes I think that he has such tight coverage that the QB's can't see them and that is why they throw his way. Either that or they do see him and know he can't catch so they figure why not throw it since they know its not a turnover. Whatev. But when looking at the Loins he has a tall task. Calvin Johnson. Finally a first round pick that worked out for that franchise. He is big, tall, and can make great catches, this will be one of the biggest tasks for Ike Taylor so far this season.
If, and when, the Steelers get a couple possession lead I really want to see the defense get after it and shut down a team. Sure it's a weak team but you have to start somewhere. I know you don't take teams lightly but we should win this week and next week. No doubt. The defense needs to be lock down and not allow 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Looking at the other things in this game there really isn't much to talk about. I think Ben is going to have a big day against a not so great secondary and Rashard should find holes. Matt Stafford is out of the game so we will get the wiley vet in Daunte Culpepper. I don't know how I feel about that. To be honest I would much rather play against Stafford than Daunte. But whatev. Steelers win 35-17.