Steelers-Giants Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 31, 2012
Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger will be forever linked as multiple Super Bowl winners after being selected in the 2004 draft. The star quarterbacks have split their first two matchups heading into Sunday, when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit a New York Giants team looking to win its fifth straight. These traditional franchises have each won two Super Bowls since New York (6-2) traded for Manning on draft day in 2004 and Pittsburgh (4-3) selected Roethlisberger at No. 11. Although there are numerous statistics associated with these potential Hall of Famers, the most important may be Manning's 8-3 postseason mark and Roethlisberger's 10-4 record. "The big thing is I think it's a fair assessment to call both of them winners," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Both guys have been to the big dance and delivered. That's what this profession is about. That's what that position, particularly, is about." These teams met in the quarterbacks' rookie seasons, with Pittsburgh coming back to win 33-30 at Giants Stadium during its 15-1 campaign. Their other matchup was in 2008, when Manning rallied the Giants to a 21-14 victory at Heinz Field in a season in which the Steelers went on to win their most recent title. This is the first time quarterbacks in opposite conferences with multiple championships are meeting in a regular-season game since Joe Montana's 49ers beat Jim Plunkett's Los Angeles Raiders in 1985. Roethlisberger and Manning won't meet again for another four years unless they go head-to-head first in a Super Bowl. "He's obviously a great player and it would be fun to play him (more), but I think you lose the fact that it's not him versus me," Roethlisberger said. "It's their team versus our team and I think he'll tell you the same thing." Manning will be up against the NFL's top-rated pass defense in a Steelers unit that is yielding 182.6 passing yards per game. That's despite a pass rush that has produced a meager 12 sacks and the fact that star safety Troy Polamalu is set to miss his fourth straight game with a strained right calf. "They do a good job against the passing game in general, so we've got to make sure we're sharp in our protections, picking up the different blitzes and their looks and having time to get open," Manning said. Pittsburgh's defense has been helped by first-year coordinator Todd Haley's offense that is holding onto the ball for more than 34 minutes a game for the league's second-best mark. Roethlisberger, who has been sacked just 13 times, has guided a unit that leads the league in third-down conversions at 51.9 percent thanks to his NFL-best 117.1 passer rating on third downs. "Much has been said about the way in which they've directed and changed their offense over there," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He has been well protected, he has not been hit nearly as much, nor is he forcing anything." Running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) have both missed Pittsburgh's last two games, although there's a chance each could return Sunday. The Steelers have still been productive on the ground in their consecutive victories, with unheralded Jonathan Dwyer amassing 229 yards rushing. Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark returned to practice after leaving last week's 27-12 win over Washington with a concussion. One glaring difference between these teams is New York's NFL-best 24 takeaways compared to seven for the Steelers that tie them for the second fewest. Giants safety Stevie Brown, the NFC defensive player of the week, has three of his five interceptions over the last two weeks. New York's pass rush is also heating up with 13 sacks over its last three games after totaling eight in its first five. The Giants are in a familiar position, having started 6-2 for the sixth time in nine seasons under Coughlin. They have never improved to 7-2 in those campaigns, losing four times at home. New York is 1-7 in game No. 9 under Coughlin. "We're very happy to be 6-2," said Coughlin, whose team won 29-24 at Dallas last Sunday. "We have a long way to go. We have a lot of work to do to be the team that we want to be." Pittsburgh is 13-3 in regular-season games against NFC foes since losing to New York four years ago. Manning is 11-5 as a starter at home against the AFC. "Obviously we are playing the defending world champs in their place," Tomlin said. "That is varsity ball, as we say in our business."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

Geno Smith ‘kind of pissed off’ about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bell admits he knew about missed drug test, lied to media

Report: Chargers rookie Joey Bosa to hold out of camp

Doc Rivers blames ‘bloggers’ for Blake Griffin trade rumors

Jason Peters: Eagles practiced too much under Chip Kelly

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

Eight most overpaid offensive players in NFL

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker