NFL Predictions Week 3: Who Will Put Up Monster Numbers on Sunday Night Football

Hal NicholsCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2011

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 9:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to pass down the field during the game against the Indianapolis Colts on November 9, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Week 3 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts must have NFL schedule makers scratching their heads. During any given season over the past decade this would be a marquee matchup against two AFC heavyweights. 

This season however, with the injury to Peyton Manning and the beatdown suffered by the Steelers at the hands of the Ravens in Week 1, the sparkle to this clash has been seriously diminished. 

The Steelers' season so far has been a tale of two blowouts. They were on the receiving end against the Ravens in Week 1 before bouncing back to dish one out to the Seahawks in Week 2. 

Fortunately for Steelers fans, the Colts without Manning are far more Seahawk than Raven. This should serve as a second consecutive bounce-back game for the Steelers and give several players a chance to put up huge numbers. 

Rashard Mendenhall will likely put up his best outing of the season tonight. The Colts have been terrible against the run thus far, giving up an average of more than 135 yards per game on the ground. 

While Mendenhall hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this season, the undersized Colts defense should present him with an opportunity to grind them down as the game goes on. This will be exacerbated by the fact that the anemic Colts offense likely will not be able to stay on the field. 

The Steelers defense is also likely to put up some huge numbers tonight. Against a vastly more mobile Tarvaris Jackson, the Steelers racked up five sacks last week. Kerry Collins makes marble statues look quick, so unless the Colts offensive line steps up in a big way, expect lots of sacks, which will also means lots of fumbles. 

The Steelers defense will also put up some monstrously low numbers, as in yards and points allowed. Pittsburgh’s defense may not quite be what it used to be, but it’s still plenty good enough to overwhelm the hapless Colts. 

Mike Wallace is also primed for a big night tonight. With both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis less that 100 percent, Ben Roethlisberger is likely to have plenty of time to throw. That spells big trouble for a Colts secondary which is simply not good enough to keep a receiver as big and fast as Mike Wallace under wraps for too long.  

For those same reasons, expect Ben Roethlisberger to have a big night as well if the Colts pass rush isn't up to their typical standards.