NFL Preseason Preview - Pittsburgh (0-0) at NY Giants (1-0) (ET)
08/07/2014 8:39 AM
08/07/2014 8:43 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Giants extended postseason resumes at MetLife Stadium on Saturday when Tom Coughlin and Co. welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Garden State.
The Giants got the jump on everyone last week by kicking off the 2014 NFL season with a 17-13 win over the Buffalo Bills in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
Rookie running back Andre Williams ran for 48 yards and a touchdown in the win while Giants starting quarterback Eli Manning played three series with limited success.
The veteran signal caller and his teammates went three-and-out on their first drive and Manning was strip-sacked on the opening play of the second, before New York went 80 yards on 12 plays on its third trek, culminating in Williams' 3-yard TD run.
Manning finished 6-of-7 for 43 yards for the Giants, who went 7-9 last season after starting 0-6. Manning's backup, Ryan Nassib, completed 7-of-12 passes for 139 yards and threw the go-ahead 73-yard TD pass to Corey Washington early in the fourth to give the Giants the 17-13 edge which turned out to be the final margin.
Williams' strong play was a positive development for New York, especially after it was revealed that former first-round pick David Wilson was advised by doctors to no longer play football due to neck problems.
Wilson, 23, left practice last week with a burner and was sent to a hospital for tests on his surgically repaired neck. On Monday morning, Wilson met with the doctor who performed his surgery in January to fuse vertebrae and repair a herniated disk, and was given the bad news.
"At a young age I had a dream to play in the NFL," Wilson said in an emotional press conference on Wednesday. "I did that, I played in the NFL and I scored touchdowns and I broke tackles and I broke and set records. I practiced with my teammates, got to play for coach Coughlin, got drafted by the Giants. So at no point should anybody feel like this is over because in life everything has obstacles."
Williams is now fighting with offseason free-agent acquisition Rashad Jennings for the Giants' starting running back job. Jennings totaled 23 yards on seven carries against the Bills.
The Steelers, who own a record six Super Bowl titles, aren't used to mediocrity but that's exactly what they have been over the past two seasons, posting a 16-16 mark over that span.
The expiration date on Ben Roethlisberger's shelf life as a top-tier NFL quarterback is rapidly approaching, so the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin must pull out all the stops in order to take advantage of the 32-year-old's remaining prime.
Two of Big Ben's main targets -- Emmanuel Sanders (Denver) and Jerricho Cotchery (Carolina) -- moved on in the offseason, putting more pressure on talented second-year man Markus Wheaton as well as former Drew Brees-favorite Lance Moore.
Defensively, Pittsburgh went all in on the front seven during the draft, snaring Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier at No. 15 overall, and following that up with Notre Dame five-technique Stephon Tuitt, a potential value in the second round.
"I think Ryan�s going to start, and I could see Tuitt playing an awful lot of snaps," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told Steelers.com. "I don't know when but we're expecting some pretty good things from those guys."
The Steelers and Giants have spilt 26 prior meetings in the postseason.