The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday night at Heinz Field with both teams needing a win to stay above .500. This game will feature two very experienced quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Hasselbeck, who is 4-0 this season as a starter. The Steelers should win this Sunday night home game and they very well could win it big. Here are five reasons why.
Colts Pieced Together Line – Its already been determined that left tackle Anthony Castonzo and right guard Hugh Thornton will both miss Sunday night’s game due to injuries. That means Joe Reitz and Lance Louis will start in their respective places. Additionally, because Reitz normally plays at right tackle, rookie Denzelle Good will need to start in his place. All of this sets up well for Steelers left defensive Stephon Tuitt, who already has 4.5 sacks on the season despite missing a few games with a sprained knee. Additionally, rookie outside linebacker Bud Dupree and veteran Arthur Moats should both get several cracks at Good Sunday night. Being as the veteran Hasselbeck isn’t the most mobile of quarterbacks at 40 years of age, the Steelers defensive front should have several opportunities at sacks in addition to forcing poor decisions which in turn could produce a few turnovers.
Explosives Allowed – The Colts defense has already given up 47 pass plays of 20 yards or more so far this season and that ties them for last in the league in that stat with the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers offense, on the other hand, has already registered 42 explosive passing plays so far this season and that’s even with Roethlisberger missing four games. While Colts cornerback Vontae Davis does have an impressive resume and tape to match, nobody is going to confuse him with Richard Sherman. Additionally, he’s not expected to follow Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown around Sunday night, so that will result in some great matchups for the offense.
Bradshaw Loss – The Colts lost running back Ahmad Bradshaw for the remainder of the season last weekend to an injury and while it might not seem like a big deal on the surface because of him being a backup, his role in the Colts offense was starting to increase over the course of the last few games. Reliable all-around running backs are hard to find and Bradshaw certainly was one. His loss could result in the Colts having to overuse veteran running back Frank Gore Sunday night and his yard per carry average has been slipping every week since Week 6 of the season.
No Freeman – The Colts also have another significant injury heading into Sunday night’s game as inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman will miss the game due to a hamstring injury. Freeman has easily been the Colts best defensive player so far this season and his 82 total tackles are second-most on the team heading into Week 13. With freeman sidelined, Nate Irving is likely to start in his place and he’s only played 66 defensive snaps all season. Look for the Steelers to run right at Irving in this game.
30 Or Bust – The Steelers offense is really hitting its stride as of late and they have scored 30 or more points in each of their last three games. Being as the Colts have only scored more than 30 points just once so far this season, the Steelers should be able to come away with the home win if they’re able to hit the big 3-0 a fourth time in a row. In reality, this game could quite possibly be over at halftime if the Steelers can get off to a quick start.