One of the most back-handed compliments a Chargers fan ever gave their quarterback, Philip Rivers was to call him ‘the Tony Romo of the AFC’. Romo, the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) quarterback has been frustratingly inconsistent throughout his career, combining spectacular plays with boneheaded decisions and late-season collapses.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) come to town, the Cowboys will need ‘spectacular play Romo’ to take the field. Both teams are neck deep in the playoff hunt but could be said to be sinking fast. In both divisions, it is still a three team race, with the possibility that anyone could take the divisional crown, secure a wildcard spot or miss the playoffs completely.
A victory by the Cincinnati Bengals over the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night puts added pressure on the Steelers who are still within breathing distance of AFC North leaders, the Baltimore Ravens. In the NFC East, current division leaders, the New York Giants take on likely NFC first-seed, the Atlanta Falcons giving the Cowboys and Redskins a chance to catch-up if New York slips.
After returning from injury last week, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was able to shake off some rust, putting up 285 yards in an embarrassing loss to the San Diego Chargers. With a week more of practice, Roethlisberger should be a bit better. But the real key to the game will be what the Steelers defence can do on third down against Romo, running back DeMarco Murray and the stable of Cowboy’s receivers. Cornerback, Ike Taylor has already been ruled out for the game, Cortez Allen is doubtful and even Keenan Lewis is slowed by injury, although he is probable to play. This begs the question of who exactly will play cornerback for the Steelers.
In the ‘good news’ column for the Steelers is the fact that pass-rushers, Jerome Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are returning to the top form that made them one of the most dangerous defensive tandems in the league. But it will still be a slog for Pittsburgh (favoured by one point), which was unable to stop the Chargers on third and long far too many times last week.
The game can be seen across all of the USA save for Oakland, Denver and their surrounds. It will be shown at 4:25 PM EST on CBS. For other viewers, streaming sites and NFL Gamepass will, of course, be showing the game.