Here are some key elements to this Sunday's game.
Arguments Against the Giants
This is the sixth time in the past eight years the Giants have been 6-2. In the previous five attempts, they only did better than .500 in the second half of the season once. Two of those seasons, though, they won the Super Bowl.
One could argue that this trend will continue, and the Giants will have another second-half flop. I do not buy this logic. It is too abstract and vague. The Giants are not the same team as in years past, and they appear to be getting more healthy—rather than less healthy—as the season continues.
Also, this is going to be an offensive shootout. Both the Giants and Steelers have lingering reputations as defensive teams. However, both of these teams live and die by their offenses now.
The Steelers are seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game and continue to win and lose based on the performance of their passing attack. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had no trouble moving the ball last week against the Washington Redskins. He completed 73 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Arguments For the Giants
One of the biggest arguments for the Giants is wide receiver depth. Eli Manning has too many targets for the suddenly slow Steelers defense to cover. Rookie Rueben Randle—despite being almost named after a sandwich—is ridiculously effective for a fourth option. He already has two 60-plus-yard receiving games.
Another key point is that the Giants defensive line—which has been adequate so far—is going to get better, not worse. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora have both been terrible in 2012. They both rank well below average so far this season. All the Giants need from them is mediocre play to suddenly be even better than they already have been.
The last reason hardly needs to be said. At age 31, Eli Manning continues to improve. He is playing the best football of his career this season and is currently the No. 2-ranked quarterback in the NFL.
The Steelers are technically first in the NFL in opposing passing yards. However, they have faced only one elite passing attack so far this year—the Denver Broncos. That game was in Week 1—when Peyton Manning was still not back to his form—and the Broncos still gave up 31 points.
The Giants are going to continue their winning ways and go to 7-2 this weekend. The Steelers defense is overmatched, and their offense will not quite be able to keep up.
Expect a high-scoring affair and at least one salsa dance.
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