Sunday Night Football features two of the NFL’s most storied franchises, the Chicago Bears at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are popularly portrayed by their dominant defenses, with a history of dominating linebackers.
The 2013 version of the Steelers vs. Bears defense also features preeminent secondary personnel. The Bears have two of the league’s top playmakers at cornerback. Tim Jennings and Charles “Peanut” Tillman combined for 13 interceptions and nine forced fumbles last season.
Their ability to create turnovers has already resurrected their team from certain defeat twice this season: Tillman’s two interceptions of Andy Dalton in Week 1 and Jennings’ two forced fumbles and interception against the Vikings in Week 2.
After recording just 10 INTs in 2013, the Steelers spent all offseason focusing on turnovers. They have yet to record even one this season. They hope to mimic the Bears’ success against quarterback Jay Cutler. Safety Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark know Cutler is prone to an errant pass or two.
Steelers efensive coordinator Dick Lebeau may keep them in coverage not only to help out with the Bears top two receiving threats, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Martellus Bennett, but also in an effort to improve their sagging turnover ratio. And with the way the Steelers are playing on offense, a few turnovers may provide a much needed boost to the scoreboard.
Unfortunately for the Steelers defense, cornerback Cortez Allen will not play again this week (ankle). Safety Shamarko Thomas will likely be the nickel corner with William Gay matching up against second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Taylor will be left to battle Brandon Marshall in a game that could potentially pave his way to his first Pro Bowl. Taylor was sensational against A.J. Green last week (six catches, 41 yards, zero TDs). If he can keep Marshall under 50 yards, stone hands or not, he deserves a Pro Bowl pass.
Heck the Steelers may even pull off the victory if Taylor is successful. Well, that and if the offense figures out how to sustain a scoring drive.