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Pittsburgh Steelers "At" Minnesota Vikings: First Quarter Open Thread

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 29 September 2013
Location: London, England
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: Wembley Stadium
DirecTV Ch 707
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 225
Sirius Ch 92
TV Announcers: Jim Nantz
Phil Simms
Know Thy Foe: Behind the Steel Curtain
Line: Pittsburgh -3, O/U 42 (thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 20, Steelers 17
Final Score:

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Well, folks, here we are again. . .our last dose of Minnesota Vikings football for two weeks. Our boys are over on the other side of the big pond "hosting" the Pittsburgh Steelers before they go on a bye week to travel back to the States. One of these two teams is going to leave here feeling better about themselves than they did when they got to the United Kingdom, while the other is going to be looking at an 0-4 record and a long couple of weeks before they take the field again.

So, how can the purple and gold go about securing their first win of 2013?

1) Get Ben Roethlisberger to the ground - The Vikings' dormant pass rush has a pretty good chance to get going today against a Steelers' offensive line that has had issues for a number of seasons now. In past years, getting to Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been easy. . .but taking him down has been hard. Roethlisberger is notorious for being able to bounce off of pressure and extend plays. With the Vikings' issues in the secondary going into this one, if Roethlisberger is able to extend plays for five and six seconds, he's going to find open guys down the field. Jared Allen, Brian Robison, and company are going to have to make sure they get Big Ben to the turf when they have a chance.

2) Take care of the football - The Steelers are the only team in the NFL that has not generated a takeaway in their first three ball games. The Vikings, on the other hand, have given the ball away ten times this season. Christian Ponder (who is reponsible for seven of those turnovers) will not play in this one, but Matt Cassel has a problem with turning the ball over as well, having coughed the ball up 19 times in his eight starts in Kansas City last season. With the Vikings' defensive woes, they can't afford to give Pittsburgh more opportunities to score.

3) Feed the monster - Running back Adrian Peterson has gotten off to a slow start this season, his 78-yard touchdown run in Week 1 against Detroit not withstanding. But the Pittsburgh pass defense is still very good (#3 in the NFL through the first three games), and if the Vikings are going to generate anything through the air, they're going to have to loosen things up first with Peterson and the ground game. If the Vikings want to win this game, it's going to have to be a "grind it out" affair, and that starts with #28.

This game may turn out to be a bit of a slop-fest. . .the folks from Weather Underground are calling for a chance of rain this evening (United Kingdom time). Not sure which team that would favor in this case.

We're a little more than an hour away from kickoff time, ladies and gentlemen! Come on in and join us for all the action of the NFL's International Series!