- Pressure Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers offensive line does not do a great job protecting Big Ben, and the Giants have the personnel to take advantage of this fact. If Justin Tuck, Fred Robbins, and Co. can get to Roethlisberger often and early they will be able to force turnovers.
It also helps that the Giants line will be facing the Steelers third-string running back Mewelde Moore. Moore had a big day against Cincinnati last week (two rushing TDs, one receiving TD, and 160 yards rushing); however, the Bengals defense is no where near as talented as the Giants.
- Control the line of scrimmage offensively. The Steelers have one of the best defenses against the run in the league—allowing only 69.7 yards per game and only 2.94 yards per carry. Additionally, the Steelers lead the league in sacks with 25.
Therefore, the Giants offensive line must open up holes for Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw to run through. Also, the line must keep Eli Manning on his feet and in the pocket, so he can go through his reads and make good decisions. When Manning is hurried and leaves the pocket he does not always make the best decisions down field.
- Convert on third-downs. The Giants struggled last week against the 49ers on third down—converting on only four of 14 opportunities. Much of the problem was caused by the Giants backing themselves up into third and longs with costly penalties.
If the offensive line keeps Eli on his feet, and the Giants avoid needless penalties, Manning should be able to find his favorite target on third down—Steve Smith.
- Open up the run with the pass. I know this sounds funny, but against a team that is as good as the Steelers against the run, sometimes the opposite is true. The Giants should take advantage of their depth at wide receiver and use Burress and Domenik Hixon at the same time. This will force the Steelers to back up off of the line.
If the Giants can find Plaxico or Hixon deep downfield, this will force the Steelers to soften up close to the line and allow the Giants to have more running room.
- Limit penalties. In a game that will probably be a low-scoring, control-the-clock, type of game, it is imperative the Giants do not make it harder on themselves with penalties. Too many penalties on offense will make it nearly impossible to convert against the stout, No.1 ranked, Steelers defense. Too many penalties on defense will keep the defensive unit on the field—wearing them down.
Prediction – Giants go to Pittsburgh and pull out a hard fought, physical win 17-13.