The Pittsburgh Steelers may be coming into this game just one game above .500—to be entirely accurate, with a winning percentage of .545—and the New York Giants may be 8-3 in comparison (a winning percentage of .727), but they are doing anything but taking this team lightly, especially when it comes to traveling to their stadium. Dom Rinelli notes that the Steelers have won their past six home games in December.
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are, understandably, especially worried about Pittsburgh’s offense, which boasts no less than five players who have been named to the Pro Bowl within the past two seasons, including their ‘Killer Bs’ at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.
Previewing his opponent, McAdoo said that the Giants are “playing one of the premiere offenses in the league”, and noted that Ben Roethlisberger “looks like he’s back to full strength” since he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss a game, and which he had to play through for a game or two before he got back on track offensively.
He also said that the Steelers “have a wealth of playmakers”, and included lineman Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro in that list as “among the best in the league at their positions”. Getting right tackle Marcus Gilbert back up and running at at least close to full capacity has also helped the Steelers’ line solidify in the past two games, during which they have not allowed a sack, nor turned the ball over.
When asked how he would handle Pittsburgh’s weapons, defensive coordinator Spagnuolo’s response was, “good luck picking your poison”. Aside from Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are rightfully regarded as elite talents, of course, with emerging or re-emerging weapons elsewhere on offense.
“They have skill all over the place”, as Spagnuolo put is about Pittsburgh’s offense. “You try to take one thing away and they will open up a hole somewhere else. But they have been good for a long time. The quarterback makes it all go”. Adding Brown and Bell to the mix, he summarized it all by saying, “it is going to make it difficult for our guys”.
Giants safety Landon Collins said that he has been watching Roethlisberger avoiding pass rushers “since I was a kid”—Collins, of course, being a second-year player, and Roethlisberger in his 13th season. “You could be on his ankle and he could still make a throw out of the pocket down field. Just his arm strength and ability to keep his eyes downfield even though he’s under attack”.
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, one of those rushes who will be trying to bring him down, said that people don’t understand “that’s it’s tough to affect Big Ben when you do hit him”. He added that the Giants need to be able to get to him with “at least two or three guys on him” to assure that they can stop him. “The same thing with Bell”, he added.