Despite Hurricane Sandy hitting the New York-New Jersey area earlier this week, the Giants (6-2) and the Steelers (4-3) will still face off at 4:25 p.m. Sunday in MetLife Stadium.
It’s a match-up of two traditional powerhouses, with the Giants and Steelers having made a combined five appearances in the Super Bowl since 2006.
Pittsburgh has won the most Super Bowl championships with 6 — one for the other ring finger, and New York has — of course — two in the past five years.
A smaller rivalry exists between the two quarterbacks. Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger were taken in the 2005 NFL Draft. Manning was the No. 1 overall selection coming out of Ole Miss, while Big Ben fell to No. 11 after a remarkable campaign at Miami (Ohio).
The rivalry also included Philip Rivers, who went fourth overall to New York before being traded for Manning to the Chargers. Big Ben was the first to capture the Lombardi Trophy, though now both the Steelers and G-Men have won it twice since.
In a series that began in 1933, the Giants own the edge against their neighbors from the Steel City by a count of 49-29-3. In New York, the Giants are 24-15, though they also have been just as successful at a visitor.
Pittsburgh is 3-6 when facing the defending Super Bowl champs since 2000. The last time they were successful came in the year following Super Bowl XXXVIII, when they topped the Patriots in 2005.
Tale of the Tape
Pittsburgh has been a Jekyll and Hyde type of team this year. There were concerns stemming from the off-season because of wide receiver Mike Wallace’s holdout. There is a plethora of injuries along the offensive line. And the team has lost its top two running backs to injury, though former Georga Tech star Jonathan Dwyer has filled in admirably, topping the century mark in back-to-back games.
That’s just on the offense.
Troy Polamalu will miss yet another game Sunday, and the All-Pro safety has been on the sidelines more than he has been on the field this season.
Still, Pittsburgh has posted impressive numbers.
Offense: The Steelers own the NFL’s 10th-ranked offense, averaging 370 yards per contest. They have concerted 52 percent of third-downs, the best mark in the league, and they are No. 2 in terms of time of possession.
Roethligberger has only thrown three interceptions, compared to 14 touchdowns, and owns the second-best passer rating (101.0) in the AFC.
In the red zone, the Steelers have converted 24-26 opportunities. Giants fans, you may be more comfortable with “green zone.”
The Steelers have scored 14 touchdowns and 10 field goals in the red zone this year; the only missed opportunities included taking a knee and running out the clock against Cincinnati and Washington, respectively.
Defense: These are not your father’s Steelers, but they still own some pretty impressive marks.
Pittsburgh owns the second-best defense in the league in terms of yardage, allowing only 274 yards per game, and they allow just 21 points per game.
They have held opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 183 yards through the air and shut down the running game, allowing fewer than 92 yards on the ground.
Overall, the team has forced seven forced fumbles, tied for seventh in the league.
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