Essex/Colon vs Kearse/Jones – Tonight will be a great opening test for the right side of the offensive line. Trai Essex steps in at right guard for Darnell Stapleton. Essex should be an upgrade over Stapleton, but Jevon Kearse and Jason Jones are one of the best left side combos in the league.
Joystick & Robo Punter – Stefan Logan gives the Steelers a long needed threat on punt and kick returns. Logan can take one to the house at any given moment with little or no blocking. He proved it in the final pre-season game. Daniel Sepulveda showed during the pre-season why we drafted him. Sepulveda not only kicks with great hang time, but distance as well. Field position could be huge in this battle of two solid defensive teams and the Steelers should have the upper hand.
Big Snack vs Mawae – A true heavy weight battle of veterans. Casey Hampton is in the final year of his contract and can turn heads around the league by stuffing the middle. He does not need pressure on the quarterback as much as he needs to just keep the holes plugged. Kevin Mawae is coming off elbow surgery, but has declared himself ready to go.
Steelers Linebackers vs Chris Johnson – Johnson can turn around a game in an instant. Dangerous through the air or on the ground. Steelers linebackers have to wrap him up in a hurry and account for him on every play. Holding him under 70 total yards is crucial.
Who Wants Number 3 – Limas Sweed and rookie Mike Wallace have battled all Summer for the number 3 receiver position. Sweed will likely get first crack and needs to hold onto everything. He will likely get an opportunity to chip in on two or three crucial plays tonight. He must make each and everyone count.
Short Yardage/Goal Line – Mike Tomlin claims he will leave whichever back is in the game to the short yardage and goal line duties. This needs to improve over last year. If no improvement is made and opportunities are not converted, it could force the Steelers to bring up Isaac Redman from the practice squad or use Frank Summers in the role.
Fox Trot – Keyaron Fox will be tested tonight with the absence of Lawrence Timmons. Fox can make a huge statement tonight. He has played well in pre-season and needs to show he is ready to step in. A solid performance could really go a long way on saving wear and tear on linebackers throughout the season.