At 10-3, the Steelers are not only trying to win their division, but are vying for the top seed in the AFC (four teams, including their division rival Baltimore Ravens, share a 10-3 record). Pittsburgh must win the rest of their games if they want to secure a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The 10-3 49ers have already won their division, but still need to beat out the New Orleans Saints for the second seed in the NFC. They too are in a situation where they need to win the remainder of their games to secure a first-round bye.
These two teams are almost identical if not for one position: quarterback. Alex Smith is having his best season as a pro, yet the 49ers offense has yet to take off.
On the other hand, Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league for the last eight years. Something that makes Roethlisberger special is his ability to play while injured. He is facing another test this week with a sprained ankle.
Given his history, Roethlisberger will likely make the start.
This promises to be a low scoring, defensive game. As long as Roethlisberger is able to play four quarters of football, the Steelers should pull through with the victory.
The following 49ers must step up on Monday Night if San Francisco is to prove me wrong.