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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Week Four Pittsburgh Steelers Scouting Report


Photo – Gregory Shamus (Getty Images)

By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
@AjKFAN

Minneapolis, MN – Currently sitting at 0-3 on the season, the Minnesota Vikings have boarded their plane are currently set up about thirty miles outside of London, England as they continue preparations for their week four matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

All-time, these two squads have squared off 15 times with the Vikings holding the slight 8-7 advantage. However, the Steelers have won the most recent three match ups. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has never faced the Steelers while Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger is 1-0 all-time against the purple (18-3 in 2005).

Both team look very different since their last matchup in 2005 including new coaches on each of the sidelines.

SO FAR THIS SEASON:
Both the Steelers and the Vikings will head into Wembley stadium on Sunday winless. Not exactly the international showcase that the NFL was hoping for when they scheduled this meeting last year. Still, both teams seem to have a decent following and enough talent to make this an interesting game.

Week one saw the Steelers drop a stinker 16-9 to Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans. Week two took Pittsburgh on the road to Cincinnati where the Bengals walked away with the 20-10 victory. Finally, week three brought the Steelers home where they were blow out 40-23 at the hands of the Chicago Bears.

STEELERS OFFENSE:
Marred by turnovers, the Steelers offense has been their own worst enemy this season. With four interceptions thrown and five fumbles lost, the Steelers have been shooting themselves in the foot most of the way.

“We’ve turned the ball over,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told me Wednesday afternoon. “Particularly in the red area. Obviously that takes points off the board and people have scored directly as a result of some of those turnovers, putting points directly on the board. You can’t do that in the NFL and expect to be much better than 0-3. That’s the reality of it.”

Ben Roethlisberger is the one of the few players left over from the Steelers’ 2008 Super Bowl victory and is still firmly established as the leader of this team. While the support system around him is a shell of its former self, Roethlisberger still ranks 9th through three games with 858 yards passing, but his four touchdown passes is far below the league leaders.

Roethlisberger is still a fairly mobile quarterback, known to be one of the shiftiest in the league, but offensive line problems couple with a revolving door at RB have left Big Ben on his back far too often. Only three quarterbacks (Eli Manning, Michael Vick and Ryan Tannehill) have been sacked more than Roethlisberger’s 10 times.

Last week, tight end Heath Miller returned to the field and this week, Ben and the Steelers get another weapon as rookie running back Le’Veon Bell returns to the field have missed the first three games of the year with a foot injury. Bell, the Steelers 2nd round draft pick in the 2013 draft, is expected to give Pittsburgh a ground attack that has been lacking early this year.

“We drafted him where we drafted him for obvious reasons,” Tomlin said of Bell’s potential. “We think he’s got talent, we think he can help us and he just needs to go out and do what he’s capable of doing.”

2013 Offensive Statistics (ranking)

Takeaway Diff.
Passing Yards/g
Rushing Yards/g

Points Per Game

-9 (31st)
258 (10th)
51 yards (31st)
14 ppg (30th)

STEELERS DEFENSE:
While the 2013 Steelers defense is a shell of the “Steel Curtain” they are not half bad. It’s a stout passing game with a weakness against the run that may deem favorable for the Vikings and their heavy ground game.

Under the guise of Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 scheme, the Steelers have held stout despite their offense not giving them much help.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu remains the most notable name on the Steelers defense but his 12 tackles and zero interceptions have left a little to be desired. Such is the story for most of the Steelers defenders. They are not flashy (zero turnovers forced, three total sacks) but they get the job done.

2013 Defensive Statistics (rankings)

Yards Per Game
Passing Yards/g
Rushing Yards/g
Points Allowed
Takeaways
298 yards (5th)
182.7 ypg (3rd)
115.3 ypg (22nd)
25.3 ppg (21st)
0 (32nd)

Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN

Read more: http://www.kfan.com/pages/vikingsblog.html#ixzz2g35k0ugy

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