In a series that Pittsburgh has dominated, the Steelers return to action against the Indianapolis Colts.
This Sunday's game marks the first trip to Lucas Oil Field for the Steelers, and Mike Tomlin's crew will hope to deliver a better result than the franchise's previous first game at an Indianapolis venue. In that 1984 affair at the Hoosier Dome, the Steelers blew a 13-0 fourth quarter lead and lost 17-16.
Much has changed in over 25 years. Heck, so much has changed for the Colts in the last six weeks!
The two teams have split their previous two contests, including an epic 21-18 Steelers upset over Indianapolis (2006) and a Peyton Manning touchdown pass in 2008 to complete a 24-20 comeback victory at Heinz Field.
Unlike those two games, the Steelers defense will not have the stress of playing against the All Pro Manning, whose surgical issues threaten to compromise his season or career.
Yet, for the lucky horseshoe on their helmets and despite this recent misfortune, veteran Kerry Collins gets the start versus a defense against which he has been successful.
Many prognosticators predict a blowout on Sunday Night Football. Still, there are reasons to indicate the contest could be closer than expected.
The Steelers offense has not found cohesion, the defense has not forced a turnover and the running game has been unable to take the pressure off of Ben Roethlisberger— who has been harassed and nearly injured so far this season.
Despite some of their recent deficiencies, the Steelers appear to be clear favorites.... at least on paper.
Considering the matchups, the Men of Steel should be able to secure a comfortable road win in Indiana. Whether or not the competitive phase of this game is over by the final quarter will largely depend on Pittsburgh's own play; if the team can continue to get better and play at their optimum level, few would debate a commanding night for the Black and Gold.
In pursuit of this outcome, here are eight things for Steelers fans to keep an eye on this Sunday Night, a list of items that should determine whether the team makes this game upsetting for the Colts...or just an upset period.