The winners of three of the past four Super Bowls meet on Sunday at the Meadowlands, as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New York Giants.
It’s a rare matchup between quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls.
In the past 20 seasons, the only such meetings have been between Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, who have met twice since Roethlisberger won his second ring at the end of the 2008 season.
Brady (3), Roethlisberger (2) and Eli Manning (2) are the only active QBs to win multiple Super Bowls as starters.
Here are THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS for the inter-conference showdown between the defending Super Bowl champion Giants and the Steelers.
- Roethlisberger will continue to out-play Manning
Quick, which QB would you rather have on the field for your team this weekend:
QB No. 1: 283.9 passing YPG, 66.8% completion rate, 14 TDs, 3 INTs, 101.4 rating
QB No. 2: 287.6 passing YPG, 62.6% completion rate, 12 TDs, 8 INTs, 89.1 rating
Of course you’d want the first QB – who happens to be Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh QB is flat-out out-playing his New York counterpart this season.
Manning has played 32 quarters of football in 2012. In one quarter against Tampa Bay, Manning threw for 243 yards. In the other 31 quarters, he has averaged 66.4 passing yards. Those 243 yards in the fourth quarter against Tampa were more than he passed for in three entire games this season (including last week’s 192-yard output vs. Dallas).
Manning has thrown an INT in five of the eight games this season, including a pair of games with multiple INTs.
Roethlisberger’s Y/A is a lower-than-normal 7.4 this season (he was at 8.0 for his career coming into this season), but his accuracy is well above his career number.
His turnovers are way down, and he’s also taking fewer sacks. And as noted in last week’s STATS MAN column, Roethlisberger and the Steelers lead the league in converting third downs into first downs.
Roethlisberger will be making just his third trip to the Meadowlands, and first since 2007. He beat Manning and the Giants as a rookie in 2004, and lost to the Jets in ’07.
- The Giants will be out-gained in offensive yards for the 5th time in nine games
In eight games this season, the Giants have out-gained their opponent four times, and have been on the short end of the yardage battle four times. The best game for the Giants in that regard was a +297 game against Tampa Bay in Week 2 (the game in which Manning passed for 510 yards).
On the other end of the spectrum, New York has allowed an average of 114 more yards in each of the past two games (against Washington and Dallas).
The Giants have been getting away with allowing so many yards by intercepting a league-high 16 passes, and by having an offense that is fourth in the league in YPG (396.8).
After the Week 1 loss to Peyton Manning and Denver, the Steelers have out-gained their opponents in every game. Pittsburgh has averaged 384.2 YPG in the past six games.
On Sunday, the Steelers will out-gain their opponent for the seventh consecutive game.
- Loss will start midseason struggles for Giants
Tom Coughlin’s 2011 Giants team lost four straight games from Weeks 10-13, getting outscored by an average of about 33-23. Of course, they recovered to win in the final two weeks of the regular season to slip into the playoffs, and the rest was history.
The Giants this season have seemingly gotten every break (most recently, with Dez Bryant’s hand landing on the end line, denying the Cowboys a win last week).
New York appears to play better when its back is to the wall (re: the Giants have trouble living with prosperity), and after the Steelers, the Giants meet Cincinnati, Green Bay and Washington. The Giants will enter their Week 14 game against New Orleans with a record no better than 7-5.
It starts with a Black & Gold win on Sunday…Steelers 30, Giants 23