Week 5: Philadelphia Eagles At Pittsburgh Steelers
- QuarterbackThe Eagles steadied themselves in their 19-17 win over the New York Giants. Not only did the Eagles stand up to the defending Super Bowl champions, they kept quarterback Michael Vick upright. When Vick can play without getting wrecked – as he did the week before vs. the Cardinals – he is still a dangerous performer who can shred the defense with his arm strength and athletic ability.Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most dangerous and unique quarterbacks in the league. He uses his mountainous size and strength to throw off potential sackers and he is also quite elusive. Roethlisberger is throwing the ball well and he can hit the deep ball with regularity.
- OffenseThe Eagles have a plethora of weapons to help Vick out. LeSean McCoy is a versatile running back who can run with speed and also get it done between the tackles. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is a big-play threat who can stretch the field. Tight end Brent Celek has dependable hands.The Steelers should get a boost to their running game as Rashard Mendenhall is expected to return against the Eagles. Mendenhall is an especially solid weapon in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Mike Wallace is a big-play wideout who can go downfield and leap over the defense to make big plays. Pittsburgh has an excellent offensive line.
- DefenseThe Eagles are playing much better positional defense than they did a year ago. The run defense has been solid as the Eagles held the Giants to 57 rushing yards. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie looks good in the secondary (interception in fourth quarter vs. Eli Manning).The bye week came at the right time for the Steelers, who were somewhat beaten up and bruised early in the season. Outside linebacker James Harrison couldn’t play against the Raiders due to his knee injury but may return here. Troy Polamalu sets the tone in the secondary and could intimidate Philadelphia’s receivers.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles feel comfortable about their special teams play. Alex Henery made a field goal under pressure to bring the Eagles the winning points against the Giants and he was 4-of-4 in the game. Matt McBriar has a strong leg and can place the ball well as a punter.The Steelers have rarely had extraordinary special teams in the Mike Tomlin era. Placekicker Shaun Suisham is 5-of-5 on his FG attempts this year, but he is not a sure thing. Punter Drew Butler is decent but not special.
The Eagles have managed to defeat two quality teams in Baltimore and the Giants at home, but they have not impressed on the road. The Steelers are coming off an early bye week and should be at their best. It may be too much for the Eagles to overcome even though they have a few edges on the home team.