WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-4)
at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-3)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Pittsburgh -4.5, Total: 47.5
The Steelers try to win two straight games for the first time all season when they host the Redskins on Sunday.
Robert Griffin III gets another major test. The Steelers match up fairly well with RG3, as their zone blitz scheme will allow linebackers and safeties to more effectively spy on Griffin. Their pass rush was much improved with OLBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley healthy and back in the lineup. S Troy Polamalu (calf) will be out for this game though. The ‘Skins continue to get burned by their atrocious defense, specifically the secondary. They’re allowing 328.4 passing yards per game (no team has ever allowed 300+ over a full season) and surrendered a 77-yard TD pass with 1:13 left in a loss to the Giants last week.
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Griffin ranks third in the NFL in passer rating (101.8), but he's thrown just 3 TD and 2 INT in the past four games. He will not have the services of starting TE Fred Davis, who is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon, and top WR Pierre Garcon, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury. TE Logan Paulsen led the team with 76 receiving yards in last week's loss to the Giants, followed closely by WRs Leonard Hankerson (70 rec yds) and Santana Moss (67 rec yds, 2 TD). One player who has been rock-solid all season is rookie RB Alfred Morris (658 rush yds, 3rd in NFL). He's rushed for more than 110 yards in three of the past four games, including 120 in New York last week. However, the Steelers have allowed only one team to reach 100 rushing yards all season (Oakland in Week 3). Defensively, Washington has allowed at least 293 passing yards in every game and 325+ yards in each of the past three contests. On the bright side, its run defense has been stingy all season, allowing just 85 rushing YPG (7th in NFL). But it could be missing top LB London Fletcher, who is questionable with a hamstring injury. The Redskins continue to make big plays though, with 16 forced turnovers in their seven games.
Roethlisberger ranks fifth in the NFL in passer rating (98.6) and has won 11 of his past 12 home starts dating back to last season. He and top WR Mike Wallace still don't seem to be on the same page. Despite 27 targets over the past three weeks, Wallace has just 163 receiving yards, with more than half of that (82) coming from one catch. WR teammate Antonio Brown has been much more consistent, catching seven passes in four of the past five games. With RBs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles, doubtful) and Isaac Redman (ankle, questionable) both injured, Jonathan Dwyer will get the start at running back. He had a huge game in Cincinnati last Sunday night, rumbling for 122 yards on just 17 carries (7.2 YPC). Pittsburgh ranks second in the NFL in passing defense (185 YPG), but could be missing another safety in addition to Polamalu, as Will Allen is nursing an ankle injury. The Steelers have forced multiple turnovers in a game just once all season, as their seven takeaways is tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL.