Pre-Game Warm Up: Steelers vs Vikings (London)

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Location: London, England;    Stadium: Wembley Stadium;    Weather: 63 degrees, partly cloudy;    Kickoff: 1:00 PM ET;  Line:  Steelers -3;    TV Coverage: CBS;    Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (analyst);    Coaches: Mike Tomlin (Steelers) vs. Leslie Frazier (Bears)

Pittsburgh Steelers: After a bad start to last week’s game, the Steelers buried themselves in a hole that they could not get out of last week against the Chicago Bears, placing them as an 0-3 football team. Head coach Mike Tomlin has never started a season 0-3 in his career and must find his way out if he wants any chance of turning this year around.

The Steelers took off to London on Thursday night. Coach Tomlin continues to stand by his original statement that this is a business trip and nothing more. The Steelers must win, and the only way to do that offensively, is to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Through three games, Roethlisberger is hitting the ground more than any other quarterback in the National Football League. In return, the Steelers have nine turnovers. The big headline for the offense this week is the NFL debut of running back Le’Veon Bell who is finally back from his foot injury. Hopefully Bell can help establish a run game. The Steelers rank near the bottom in running throughout the league.

Defensively, the Steelers must corral the former offensive Most Valuable Player in the league, Adrian Peterson. Peterson is heading into week four just shy of 300 rushing yards, and still has the hopes of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. The defense has yet to force a turnover through three weeks, something coach Tomlin is hoping to see change on Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson will be the key to the Vikings’ offensive attack as he is each week. This week, quarterback Christian Ponder will be sidelined with fractured ribs. The starting quarterback will be former Patriots and Chiefs quarterback, Matt Cassel. Cassel has experience playing the Steelers with both teams but has had no real success.

Defensively, the Vikings must be able to keep pressure on Roethlisberger like the previous three opponents have against the Steelers. If Roethlisberger is given any sort of time, look for it to equal bad news for a Vikings team who are also searching for their first win. Jared Allen and Brian Robinson will be in charge of this duty for the most part on Sunday.

What to look for: 1. How many defenders will the Steelers put in the box? 2. Will the defense finally get a turnover? 3. How will Le’Veon Bell do in his NFL Debut?

Spotlight Player: Linebacker Lawrence Timmons will have one of the toughest jobs in all of the National Football League tomorrow in trying to corral Adrian Peterson. Timmons must be on his game as the middle linebacker.

Injury Report:

Steelers:

09/29/13 CB Cortez Allen ANKLE PROBABLE
09/29/13 RB Le’Veon Bell FOOT PROBABLE
09/29/13 DE Brett Keisel HAMSTRING PROBABLE
09/29/13 NT Steve McLendon HAMSTRING PROBABLE
09/29/13 TE Heath Miller KNEE PROBABLE

Vikings:

09/29/13 RB Matt Asiata HAMSTRING PROBABLE
09/29/13 CB Chris Cook GROIN OUT
09/29/13 RB Rhett Ellison KNEE OUT
09/29/13 LB Erin Henderson HEEL PROBABLE
09/29/13 CB A.J. Jefferson ANKLE PROBABLE  
09/29/13 C Cullen Loeffler NECK PROBABLE
09/29/13 QB Christian Ponder RIB OUT
09/29/13 S Jamarca Sanford HAMSTRING OUT
09/29/13 DT Kevin Williams KNEE PROBABLE

Team Quotes: (Tomlin on Peterson:) “Every time he touches it, he is capable of going the distance. He is an inside runner. He is an outside runner. He’s combative. He has great hands. He is a man for all situations.  “We have a great deal of respect for him and what he is capable of.” (Le’Veon Bell:) “I have to be confident in myself to go out and help the run game,” said Bell. “Whenever my number is called I am going to be ready to provide for my team. I am ready and eager for this week. I am ready for Sunday.”

Tale of The Tape:

Steelers Offense

Game AVG NFL Rank
Total Yards 310.3 27
Passing Yards 258.7 9
Rushing Yards 51.7 30
Points Scored 14 30
Field Goal % 100 10

Steelers Defense

Game AVG NFL Rank
Total Yards 298 5
Passing Yards 182.7 3
Rushing Yards 115.3 23
Points Allowed 25.3 22
Field Goal % 100 30

Vikings Offense

Game AVG NFL Rank
Total Yards 336.3 18
Passing Yards 215.7 23
Rushing Yards 120.7 14
Points Scored 27 7
Field Goal % 100 8
 

Vikings Defense

Game AVG NFL Rank
Total Yards 432.3 29
Passing Yards 318.3 28
Rushing Yards 114 21
Points Allowed 32 30
Field Goal % 100 27

Bottom Line: I may sound like a broken record but the Steelers must hold Adrian Peterson.

Steeler Nation, make sure to check back in after the game to read Steelers N Stuff’s Post Game Huddle. You can only get all of this access here so please spread the word!

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