Giants vs. Steelers game day preview: Giants enter the danger zone

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The New York Giants begin the second half of their season today when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The New York Giants enter the danger zone Sunday afternoon. That isn't because of how difficult it might or might not be to get to MetLife Stadium due to the after-effects of Sandy, rather it is because the second half of the season begins this afternoon.

The Giants are 1-7 under Tom Coughlin in Game 9 of the NFL season, and every Giants' fan knows the second halves of seasons have been much more adventurous than the first halves. Will that trend continue? We begin finding out today against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Basic Stuff

What: Giants (6-2) vs. Steelers (4-3)
When: 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
Line: Giants -3.5

[Giants vs. Steelers historical perspective]

Key Players

Giants

1. Eli Manning: The Steelers' defense has been stingy as it is second in the league in yards per game allowed. The pass defense is allowing only 182.6 yards per game, best in the league.

2. Hakeem Nicks: Will this be the week that Nicks plays like Nicks?

3. Mark Herzlich: Many Giants' fans have wanted to see Herzlich in place of Chase Blackburn. Today, you get your wish.

Steelers

1. Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben vs. Eli is always fun. Roethlisberger is completing 66.8 percent of his throws.

2. Heath Miller: The Giants gave up 18 receptions to Dallas tight end Jason Witten a week ago. Miller has 35 receptions this season. The Giants will use the three-safety look with Kenny Phillips back this week. Can they keep Miller under control?

3. Isaac Redman: He is Pittsburgh's third running back, and he gets the nod this week due to injuries. The Steelers are controlling the ball for 34 minutes per game, so the Giants have to shut Redman and the running attack down.

[Behind The Steel Curtain | Reasons the Steelers will win]

Storylines

Whenever these two teams meet there is the Eli vs. Big Ben angle to consider. There is also the history between two of the league's original franchises. There is the fact that, per STATS Inc., the Giants are 1-7 under Tom Coughlin in Game 9.

The big story, though, is of course the fact there is a game at MetLife Sunday following Superstorm Sandy that still has much of the New Jersey area without power. We know the Steelers are traveling to and from the game today, something NFL teams rarely do nowadays.

[What to watch | Scouting Report]

Team Comparison
Pittsburgh New York
23.9 Points 29.3
272.6 Pass Yds 282.1
97.3 Rush Yds 114.6
7 Takeaways 24
Predictions

Mike Farley, Big Blue View: Giants 22, Steelers 19

Jared Smith, SB Nation New York: Steelers 27, Giants 24

[Experts' picks | SB Nation picks every game]

Quotable

"We had some people in [my] building complaining about having to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. I had to to tell them, 'Come on, really? You got to walk up six flights of stairs; there are other people that have a lot of worse things going on in their lives right now than having to walk up the stairs. You are in good situation right now, the only thing we don't have here is power.' It's all about perspective."

-- Martellus Bennett

Injury Report

Name Position Injury Practice Status Game Status
PIT
Troy Polamalu S Calf Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Isaac Redman RB Ankle Full Participation in Practice Probable
Brandon Johnson LB Hamstring Full Participation in Practice Probable
Rashard Mendenhall RB Achilles Did Not Participate In Practice Doubtful
Stevenson Sylvester LB Hamstring Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Marcus Gilbert T Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Out
LaMarr Woodley LB Hamstring Full Participation in Practice Probable
Baron Batch RB Shin Full Participation in Practice Probable
Jonathan Dwyer RB Quadricep Did Not Participate In Practice Doubtful
Ryan Clark S Concussion Full Participation in Practice Probable
NYG
Bear Pascoe TE Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Ahmad Bradshaw RB Foot Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Chase Blackburn LB Hamstring Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Kenny Phillips S Knee Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Rocky Bernard DT Quadricep Full Participation in Practice Probable
Antrel Rolle S Concussion Full Participation in Practice Probable
Keith Rivers LB Calf Limited Participation in Practice Doubtful
Victor Cruz WR Calf Full Participation in Practice Probable
David Baas C Ankle Full Participation in Practice Probable
Jacquian Williams LB Knee Did Not Participate In Practice Out

-- From NFL.com on Friday

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