|Detroit DT Ndomukong Suh kicking|
Houston QB Matt Schaub in the groin
Detroit's defense is nasty but mediocre. It has allowed an average of 24 points per game this season and has only 15 sacks, which is one fewer than the Steelers' own defense.
If there was a day for Ben Roethlisberger and Co. to step up their game and put 30+ points on the board, this is it.
It would help if they could ramp up their 27th-ranked running game. It will be going up against a Detroit run defense that has stepped up its game the past three weeks, allowing a total of just five first downs rushing in those three games (three to Dallas, one to Cincinnati and one to Chicago).
Detroit's offense has the much-ballyhooed trio of QB Matt Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson and RB Reggie Bush, who leads Detroit in all-purpose yards. Last week in Chicago, Bush averaged 7.5 yards-per-carry (14 for 105 yards). The Lions use Bush to exploit space opened by the attention Johnson requires, and Bush is lethal as an open-field runner with ability to maneuver in tight spaces.
|Tight end Brandon Pettigrew|
Even with two rookies (RG Larry Warford and RT LaAdrian Waddle) getting lots of playing time on the right side of the offensive line, Detroit's run the ball well and, just as crucially, has protected Stafford. He's been sacked a league-low 10 times. That's not a good match-up for a Steelers' defense that has only 16 sacks this year.
As noted by Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in a story by the Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, sacking the quarterback would go a long way toward stifling Detroit's passing game. "Get the quarterback on the ground before he can throw it," LeBeau said. "That works pretty well against all passes."
|Dick LeBeau, Detroit Lions CB|
Well, since LeBeau will be on the sidelines today instead of between the lines, it will be incumbent on the players to do the job.
Let's hope the Steelers win and Ben Roethlisberger survives the inevitable late hits, cheap shots and other calamities that await him.