Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Washington Redskins (6-2)
Tonight‚Äôs Monday night matchup is between two teams that not only have their eyes on a divisional crown but also have Super Bowl aspirations. The Steelers are coming off of a 21-14 loss to the New York Giants, in a game they controlled the play for the first three quarters. The Steelers will look to rebound from last week‚Äôs loss but they haven‚Äôt had much success against the NFC East this season. The Steelers on 0-2 against the NFC East and 5-0 against the rest. Will ‚ÄúThe Kings of Monday Night‚Äù ( 22-8 since 1992,including 14 straight wins at home) break their trend tonight against the NFC East?
The Redskins have a great running game, but the Steelers have the #1 run defense in the league. The Steelers will key on running back Clinton Portis and make quarterback Jason Campbell beat them. Campbell is a young poised quarterback who hasn‚Äôt thrown a interception thus far. The Steelers will need to pressure Campbell but that won‚Äôt be an easy task. The Redskins have a solid offensive line and the matchup of the game will be James Harrison vs Chris Samuel. The Giants did a extremely good job of limiting Harrison and LaMarr Woodley to 0 sacks.
Pittsburgh‚Äôs keys to the game
1. Protect the quarterback ‚Äì Protecting the quarterback is the Steelers #1 key for just about every game. Roethlisberger was sacked five times last week against the Giants and for the Steelers to be successful tonight they will need to protect Roethlisberger. The Redskins only have 10 sacks this season.
2. Limit Clinton Portis ‚Äì Clinton Portis is the key for the Redskins week in and week out. As good as Jason Campbell has been at protecting the football, Portis is the Skins game changer. The Steelers have been dominant at stopping the run this season and don‚Äôt expect that trend to change tonight,
3. Big Play on Special Teams ‚Äì The Steelers need a big play from their return game. This game could come down to field position.
The Steelers will key on Clinton Portis and take their chances with Jason Campbell. The Steelers offense needs to get going and will hopefully get a boost with Santonio Holmes returning to the lineup. How effective the Steelers running game will be is a question mark. Mewelde Moore is averaging 5.0 yards per carry but Moore may have to take a backseat to Willie Parker who returns to the lineup. Parker has not played since week 3 and is expected to get 12-15 touches depending on the circumstances of the game. The Steelers need to run between the guards where the Redskins are vulnerable.
Pittsburgh 24 ‚Äì 17
Running back Willie Parker and guard Chris Kemoeatu are expected to play