Below are seven matchups or things to look for on Sunday as the Steelers visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Face Me Ike vs Megatron – Ike Taylor has done a stellar job versus opponents number one receiver this season. Last week it was Vincent Jackson, this week Calvin Johnson. If Johnson is shut down, it is a cake walk stopping the running game. If Daunte Culpepper starts at quarterback, he will take some unadvised shots deep for the Lions. Ike might just get a pick or two with those hands of stone.
Rashard vs Mendenhall – Yes, Rashard Mendenhall biggest foe this week his himself. Not every game is going to be as easy as the San Diego game, but a banged up Lions 4-3 front will not hurt. Mendenhall needs to prove that he can continue to run violent, down hill and do the little things as he did last week. The future is now for him as is the starting running back role. Anything less than 100 yards against Detroit will be a let down.
4th Quarter Defense – 60 minutes, not 45 minutes. The defense has got to learn how to finish games. Big plays in big situations. Last season, the Steelers allowed only 75 points in the fourth quarter versus 41 points in just 4 games this season. Those 41 points do not include the strip of Stefan Logan that was returned for a touchdown.
Santonio Holmes vs Tones Hands – Santonio Holmes already has 5 drops this season and is the lowest receiver in completion percentage other than Limas Sweed at 54%. Maybe that wrist is sore, maybe he is just not focusing like he should. It is time for Tone and his hands to get back to being great and on the same team.
Larry Foote vs Offensive Line – An old friend will be staring into the eyes of Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday in the form of Larry Foote. Foote would like to prove to the Steelers that he is not washed up or past his prime. All protection packages must involve knowing where Foote is on the field. Foote is just itching to put his foot up the backside of Big Ben.
Pinball Wizard – The Steelers kept Stefan Logan on the roster for his big play ability in the return game. He has yet to take one to the house in the regular season. The Lions are allowing 29.9 yards per kickoff return and had returned 102 yards for a touchdown this season. Look for the Pinball to bounce around Ford Field on Sunday.
Silverback Sunday – Look for James Harrison to have a monster game on Sunday. The Steelers have seven sacks through four weeks in 2009 after finishing first in the AFC and second in the NFL with 51 sacks in 2008. Harrison could very well have 4 himself on Sunday. The Lions are giving up 2.5 sacks a game and a immobile Culpepper will make for an esasy target.