Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday – November 13 – 3:25 pm
Heinz Field – Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania
Records Before the Game
Dallas Cowboys (7-1, 4-0 Away)
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4, 3-1 Home)
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
WR Antonio Brown – It doesn’t matter if Antonio Brown is coming off of a career game or a season low, he must occupy the top members of the opposing secondary. With no Mo Claiborne for the Cowboys, it’s going to be Brandon Carr on Brown, though Brown moves around a lot, so he’ll get time across from every possible option the Cowboys will have available. Brown is one of the top two most dangerous wide receivers in the NFL, with the way the Steelers move him around to create mismatches, and then when he gets the ball in space. He must always be accounted for or else Big Ben is going to light up Heinz Field, and it’ll be a struggle to catch up. What an awful pun.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
DT Tyrone Crawford – Big Ben might be in the lineup, but he’s not the best Ben available. He will be more one-hundred percent than last week against the Ravens, but still not the ideal one-hundred. Even still, this is Ben Roethlisberger, so getting him to the ground is still a task and a half. Getting pressure in the face of a hampered veteran quarterback is the key. Tyrone Crawford needs to attack either the injured Maurkice Pouncey, who had surgery on Monday to repair a dislocated thumb, or the void where he’ll be sorely missed. Either way, Crawford must force Ben to move and shuffle within the pocket, and create a general state of unrest.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Steelers’ linebackers – The Steelers have brought along some very capable linebackers over the past few years. Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier have really been talent focal points on a rebuilding side of the ball for the Steelers. They’ll have their hands full, trying to derail the Cowboys’ rushing attack and trying to re-route Jason Witten, who the Browns decided the best defense for, was to just release him on his own recognizance. The Steelers have a weapon in the waiting, in rookie Tyler Matakevich, who was my sleeper defender in this past draft. Though the edge goes to Dallas in terms of what is likely to happen in the game, the Steelers aren’t likely to give any ground with their linebackers.
Which group will give the Steelers fits?
The Cowboys’ wide receivers – The Steelers’ cornerbacks are led by William Gay, a savvy veteran who knows how to force a receiver out of a play, but behind him are a lot of youth and inexperienced players. The way that Dak Prescott protects the ball, and really chooses his targets and opportunities to strike extremely well, the chance that Dak with eight-ball himself is pretty darn unlikely. The way that Dez can dominate on the outside, the way that Cole Beasley can route somebody up, and the way that Terrance Williams and Brice Butler seem to interject themselves at opportune moments in a game, the Cowboys have the precision on their side. Especially, if the safeties have to keep their eyes in the backfield.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Attack Big Ben on defense, and get him moving awkwardly, get him wasting time not finding Antonio Brown downfield. Keep a lid on Le’Veon Bell cracking off big plays. The way that people could simply look at last week’s Ravens game, they could expect a landslide win against a reeling opponent. A win like this, over the Cowboys would shut a lot of pundits down and get Pittsburgh back on playoff track. The Cowboys are going to have to put the Steelers down, because they won’t be an easy out.
Prediction: Dallas 30 – Pittsburgh 28