When the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) travel to New Jersey to play the New York Giants (6-2) on Sunday, these two Super Bowl contenders will be battling for more than just a single win; they will be fighting for NFL respect.
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Each of these teams is heralded as one of the best in their respective conference, so the winner will not only help their own franchise look better, but prove the supremacy of the NFC or AFC.
While there are plenty of Week 9 matchups that will have fans glued to the TV, this battle between New York and Pittsburgh will be the most intense we see on Sunday.
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Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, November 4 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: Online at NFL Audio Pass
Steelers’ Key to Victory: Defense, Defense, Defense
Despite missing star safety Troy Polamalu for most of the season and facing intense scrutiny from every angle, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is so much better than they are given credit for.
Not only are the Steelers the ninth-best in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed per game (91.6), they are ranked No. 1 in the NFL when it comes to shutting down their opponent's passing attack, allowing just 182.6 yards per game.
Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and the Giants' offense will be throwing everything they have at Pittsburgh in Week 9, so if there were ever a time for the Steelers to rally around each other and stand tough, it would be now.
Giants’ Key to Victory: Eli Manning and the Pass Attack
While the Giants have been much more dependent on their rushing attack over the last four seasons, Eli Manning has stepped up and showed that even when the running backs get shut down, New York still has a chance to win.
The Steelers will be playing fierce Sunday afternoon, so if they stifle New York’s plans to rush the ball consistently, the focus will be on Manning and if he can put the team on his shoulders once again to carry them to a clutch victory.
New York is ranked sixth in the NFL with an average of 282.1 yards passing per game, and will need all of its talent playing on the same page if they want a chance to steal the victory at home.
With Pittsburgh playing so well, though, Manning will have to be almost perfect.
Prediction: New York Giants 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Despite Pittsburgh’s tough defense giving the Giants everything they can handle, New York and star QB Eli Manning will steal the show at the end of the game and win for the people in the Northeast.
While it can’t be measured, the Steelers will be not only facing off with the Giants Sunday, but the fact that New York will be playing for every local fan that has been victimized by superstorm Sandy.
Just like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the people of New York will help will their team to victory.
Although the score will be close, there will never be a doubt that the Giants walk away with this win.
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