It's unfortunate that Holmes is out because (as I mentioned on another thread) I really saw this game as his coming out party this year. I was expecting a 100+ YD/2 TD type of game. Ross has been getting killed by the NY media for his recent performances. Braylon Edwards just killed him repeatedly and last week against the Niners, O'Sullivan went after him early and often and if IIRC, Ross' man (Josh Morgan??!!) scored the lone receiving TD on a long bomb.
Even with Holmes out, my biggest concern for this game is not Pittsburgh's offense vs. New York's defense. If, if, if BA can continue to be somewhat unpredictable and pass to set up the run, I think the offense will do just fine. In fact, (and this is going to be very different from what many are going to say leading up to this game), I'm not overly concerned about NY's ability to rush the QB at all. As I've suggested before, the Giants don't use a lot of trickery in their blitzing. Nowhere near the level of what you see from a Pittsburgh or Philly. For the most part, they rely on their front four to bring pressure with a LB here and there that's usually easy to pick out. And, with a really banged up LB core, I'd suspect that Spaguolo won't get too fancy. I could be wrong there, as he's very good at adjusting and forcing the opposition to react to them, but I really expect them to think that they'll be able to get to BR with minimal effort.
If that's the case (and again, we don't see those long-developing-30-yards-down-the-field type plays), I think the line will be just fine. These guys have gotten killed by many as being a horrible group, but a lot of the games that I've watched and re-watched didn't show linemen getting beat one-on-one very often. Sure, there was a play here and there, but the majority was missed assignments. Seriously, down their #1 WR and their #1 and #2 RBs, I still see the offense being able to move the ball on this group.
What does worry me is the team's strength...the defense...going up against NYs offense.
Take the Plax coming back to Pittsburgh revenge angle out, I think the Steelers will have a hard time with keeping their three headed RB monster in check. I'll be very surprised if NY does not hit the century mark this week. Jacobs is a monster. And, if NY commits to the run and sticks with it, I think Pittsburgh will have a long day. Plus, a little success will really open things up downfield for their WR group. It isn't any kind of revelation, but I think Pittsburgh needs to get NY out of their gameplan and it could easily snowball for them. Get up early and force them to abandon the run some; force Eli to make some plays and I think he crumbles. They've said that Diehl will play for the Giants so that gives them a little continuity there, but I think NY will have a harder time dealing with Pittsburgh's defensive looks than Pittsburgh will have with NY's defense. Also, Eli has shown, repeatedly, that if you knock him around some, he gets rattled. Enter...stage left and right...Mr. #56 and #92.
Should be a good game and in a way, I kinda hope that it's not a blowout for Pittsburgh. I'd like a closer, hard hitting type game because if the Steelers win convincingly...say, 30-14 or 31-17, everybody's gonna hop on the bandwagon and toot that horn. I think we all know how Steeler teams react to that kind of fanfare. They'll be spending the next month trying to deflate their collective skulls. Plus, we don't want 'em peaking too soon, eh? Wait a couple months for that...