Week 15: Pittsburgh Steelers At Dallas Cowboys

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
Winner The Steelers have struggled with their consistency in recent weeks, losing to the Browns and Chargers while beating the Ravens with an undermanned team. Look for Ben Roethlisberger to be much closer to top form against the Cowboys after getting back in the lineup last week vs. San Diego. His ability to make plays after getting hit could be the difference in this game.
Tony Romo responded to heavy pressure in Week 14 vs. the Bengals when he rallied the Cowboys from a 9-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Romo is playing much better football and he is always going to give his teammates a catchable ball to go after. He has completed 66.3 percent of his passes and he has thrown for 3,928 yards this season.
Winner The Steelers are going to use a power running game to augment Roethlisberger’s passing attack. While Rashard Mendenhall is buried deep in Mike Tomlin’s doghouse – he has been a healthy scratch two weeks in a row – Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman attack opposing tacklers and pick up key yards. Mike Wallace is an explosive, big-play receiver and tight end Heath Miller will catch anything he can touch.
Dez Bryant had really picked it up in recent weeks after a difficult first half of the season, but he may not be able to play this week after suffering a broken finger vs. the Bengals. If he can’t play, the Cowboys will have a problem. Running back DeMarco Murray has not played a lot this season due to injuries, but his presence makes the Cowboys more difficult to defend.
Winner The Steelers have the top-ranked defense in the league and they are capable of shutting down explosive offensive teams. Inside linebacker Larry Foote is one of the best players on this stellar unit. He leads the team with 91 tackles and he also has four sacks. Fellow linebacker Lawrence Timmons is also a solid tackler who can go sideline-to-sideline to make plays.
The Cowboys have plenty of speed on defense and Roethlisberger will have a problem if the Pittsburgh offensive line can’t slow down outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. He is the team leader with 11.0 sacks and he has also forced four fumbles. Anthony Spencer has 8.5 sacks and a team-high 76 tackles along with three passes defensed.
Special Teams
The Steelers have had an inconsistent year on special teams. They have done a solid job on kickoff returns, but they have been hurt badly by their punt coverage teams. Tomlin has to be thrilled with the performance of placekicker Shaun Suisham, who has made 25-of-26 FG attempts and has not missed a kick of less than 50 yards.
Winner The Cowboys have held their own on kickoff and punt returns, but they have gotten stellar work from placekicker Dan Bailey, who has made 25-of-27 field goal attempts. Bailey has made 2-of-4 FG attempts from 50 yards and beyond.

The Winner Is

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers
Winner Steelers
3 out of 4

The Steelers have played up or down to their competition throughout the season. They had a miserable effort against the soiled Chargers in Week 14, and there’s every reason to think they will bounce back against the Cowboys. Romo will be under pressure against the top-ranked Steelers’ defense.


  1. Mike Vick #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Philip Rivers  of the San Diego Chargers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At San Diego Chargers

    The high-powered Pittsburgh offense was a bit out of sync against the Ravens in Week Four without Ben Roethlisberger, but it seemed like Mike Vick was pretty close to finding success.

  2. Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Giants quarterback Eli Manning. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At New York Giants

    Colin Kaepernick is under extreme pressure to produce at a high level. That has not been happening, and the 49ers are in danger of seeing their season fall apart.

  3. Peyton Manning (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders passes against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Raiders 52-0.
    Week 5 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Oakland Raiders

    Peyton Manning appears to have come to terms with the deficiencies in his game at this point. He can no longer whistle the ball downfield at the last minute, and some medium-range passes are difficult as well.

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