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Giants – Steelers Preview: Diary of a Giants Fan

After one of the wildest wins you’ll ever see, the Giants head home to host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

I’ve had the better part of a week to review, reflect, and reconcile all that was.  And in that time, I’ve come up with this: I don’t know what in the hell happened last week.  But it was a win – there but by the grace of half a glove size – and we’ll take it.  Now attention turns to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a battle for which CBS should be forced to dial down their picture resolution to 1960′s, grainy, everything-tinted-with-beige levels.

When you think Steelers-Giants, you think defense and hard-nosed running games.  Chuck Knoll and Frank Gifford.  Sub-zero temperatures and no sleeves – the way men do it.  Teams who pass the ball only after three yards and a pile of dust became half a yard and a pile of dust on first and second down.

And yet, a quick look at each of these teams paints a different picture.  We’re all familiar with the work of Manning, Cruz and Nicks, but the Steelers have been throwing the ball all over the yard early this season – Roethlisberger very quietly putting together a quality season.  With the Giants secondary having displayed the single greatest bit of corps incompetence last week in allowing Dez Bryant to get behind them in a Hail Mary situation, expect that trend to continue.

Outside of Big Ben, the Steelers have been spinning their wheels through the first eight weeks of the season, with notable injures on both sides of the ball, inconsistent play, and two bad losses keeping them at only 4-3.  Two straight wins have the Steelers building some momentum, and with the Steelers enjoying a favorable matchup with the Giants secondary, I expect nothing more than another viciously tense, double-dose-of-blood-pressure-meds-type of game.

In their favor, I expect the Giants to be able to move the ball through the air – particularly with shampoo-phile Troy Polamalu already ruled out, and other members of the Steelers’ back seven missing practice this week.  In a related point, I believe in Eli Manning.

The question of who wins, I believe, will come down, as it so often does, to the Giant pass rush.  Roethlisberger can make plays with his legs, but not in the break-contain-and-run-away-from-everyone-way that has so often killed a Giant front four that refuses to keep a quarterback hemmed in.  I’m not convinced Big Ben could run away from Linval Joseph; I certainly don’t think he can from guys like Tuck and JPP.  If the front four can swarm Roethlisberger and take pressure off of a secondary that – aside from Stevie Brown – was terrifying last week.

In the end, I expect the Giant D-Line to get after Roethlisberger, especially late in the game.  Herzlich steps in nicely for the injured Chase Blackburn to contain a largely between-the-tackles Steeler running game, and Eli Manning leads the Giant offense to victory.  I believe in Eli Manning.  It’ll be a tough, physical battle, but Giants 27-24.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates throughout the week – including the game wrap-up – and like the Cover 2 Facebook page for podcasts and show updates.  And as always, Go Giants!

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