The Steelers' playoff hopes really lay in next week’s game versus the Bengals, but that doesn’t make the game against the Dallas Cowboys any less important.
Here are some matchups to look out for as the Steelers try to get back on the winning track after losing to the San Diego Chargers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted David DeCastro in the first round of this year’s draft, and he has missed every game this season due to a knee injury suffered in the preseason.
DeCastro will get his chance to play in his first game against the Cowboys with Willie Colon being ruled out with his own knee injury.
After the terrible performance against the Chargers last week, the Steelers need DeCastro to come in and be the immediate upgrade we all thought he would be when he was drafted.
The Cowboys are deciding on who will be their starting RT between Doug Free and Jermey Parnell. Either way, the Steelers need to get to Tony Romo.
James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have basically been nonexistent this season; however, hopefully having them both on the field together makes a difference.
Woodley is returning from injury this week, and with all the injuries to the secondary, the defense would really benefit from the highly paid pass-rushers to wreak havoc this week.
Ike Taylor is still out this week, and it looks like Cortez Allen is going to miss the game as well with a groin injury.
That means Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian and Robert Golden have a great opportunity to show they deserve more playing time going forward.
Brown and Victorian did not have great games versus the Chargers, and it will be interesting to see how they respond against the Cowboys receivers.
Another player I’m interested in seeing is undrafted rookie Robert Golden, who has barely seen the field this year and will get some time in the slot with all the injuries.
Even with a big game statistically versus the Chargers, Mike Wallace amassed most of that with the game out of reach and dropped key passes.
Wallace himself has pointed to a lack of focus on his part, which you can see here, and attributes some of his inconsistencies to Todd Haley’s offense.
Whoever Wallace wants to blame, the Steelers need him to just catch the passes that are thrown to him whether that is one or 10.
Troy Polamalu has missed almost every game this season due to a calf injury, and when he has been on the field, he’s has made little to no impact.
Steelers fans are used to seeing Troy fly all over the field and just terrorize the opposing offense while creating turnovers as well.
Lately Troy has been flying all over the field but not making plays and getting beat more and more in pass coverage.
For Troy to play like the great player that he has been, he needs to trust that he isn’t going to get hurt again and play with the reckless abandonment that forces quarterbacks to know where he is at all times.
Ben Roethlisberger made his triumphed return last week, and everyone around him promptly played like it was a preseason game.
That is not to say that Ben played a perfect game, because he didn’t, but the offensive line looked like it was content with just showing up.
The offensive line could get a boost from rookie David DeCastro; however, the Steelers will not win this game if Ben is carrying DeMarcus Ware on his back the entire game.