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Steeler matchup a great test

I don't know about you guys, but I am really looking forward to the New York Giants game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Critics might say the Giants have built their NFC-best 5-1 record by fattening up on largely mediocre competition, and that's tough to argue with.

That ends Sunday, though. Beginning with the Steelers, the Giants are entering a brutal stretch.

The next 8 games? At Pittsburgh; vs. Dallas; at Philadelphia; vs. Baltimore; at Arizona; at Washington; vs. Philadelphia; at Dallas. Nothing easy about that stretch at all. I would be ecstatic with 5-3 during that span.

The matchup with Pittsburgh will tell us a lot about this team. Just look at this.

  • The best team in the NFC (the 5-1 Giants) against the 5-1 Steelers, who might very well be the best team in the AFC when it's all said and done.
  • The Giants enter the game with the league's second-ranked offense in terms of total yards. The Steelers boast the NFL's top-rated defense.
  • Break that down a little further. The Giants, with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw, are the league's top-ranked rushing team. The Steelers have the No. 2 ranked rushing defense in the league.
  • Eli Manning, former Steeler Plaxico Burress and the rest of the Giants highly-regarded receiving corps against the Steelers, the top-ranked pass defense in the league.
  • Ben Roethlisberger against the Giants secondary -- a matchup Steeler fans think favors them.
  • Here's a stat that favors the Giants. They are second in the league with 21 quarterback sacks, while the Steelers porous offensive line has given up 19 and had all kinds of trouble protecting Roethlisberger.
  • Everyone connected with the Giants had to be disappointed with their Monday night performance in Cleveland. Going into Pittsburgh to face an even better Steeler team will be a great test of the Giants poise and resolve.
  • Eli vs. Ben. It's always entertaining to compare these two (something we will do in concert with Behind the Steel Curtain tomorrow). NOTE: Save your comments on that topic for tomorrow's debate.

So, yes. I am fired up for Sunday. I can't wait for it to get here.