TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Detroit Lions At Pittsburgh Steelers

Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers
(credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Matthew Stafford is still going to make some errors that hurt the Lions in crucial situations and he clearly has some work to do. However, Stafford is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the NFL and he continues to improve his performance in crucial games. Stafford threw three TD passes in the Lions' 21-19 road victory over the Bears that gave them sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
The Steelers probably are not going to have a chance to play postseason football, but they are playing much better now than they did at the start of the season. Ben Roethlisberger has become a dependable quarterback once again as he played confident football in the Steelers’ 23-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Roethlisberger completed 18-of-30 passes for 204 yards with a TD in that game.
Offense
Winner The Lions are a very difficult team for opponents to defend because of the versatility. Running back Reggie Bush is coming off a 105-yard rushing game against the Bears, his second 100-yard effort against Detroit’s division rivals. The Lions must get the ball to Calvin Johnson, who should have his way with the slowish Pittsburgh secondary.
The Steelers have enough of a running game to cause some problems for the Lions. Rookie Le’Veon Bell is a power back who can run between the tackles. He’s not a star but he is effective. Antonio Brown is a big-play receiver who caught six passes for 104 yards against the Bills. Wideout Jerricho Cotchery is a TD threat for Mike Tomlin’s offense.
Defense
The Lions struggle to play consistently on defense, but that unit came up with the play of the game in the win over the Bears when Nick Fairley smashed Matt Forte on the two-point conversion attempt that would have sent the game into overtime if it had been successful. Ndamukong Suh’s explosive quickness could be a problem for the Steelers. The Detroit front four is solid.
Winner The Steelers have been fairly effective on defense in several games, but this unit does not resemble previous versions. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau can still outscheme most opposing offensive coordinators, but the Steelers lack the speed on the back end to stay with faster wide receivers. That should play to the Lions’ advantage.
Special Teams
The Lions have been ordinary in their special teams coverage, but they have not given up any TD returns on kickoffs or punts. Micheal Spurlock is a solid return man for the Lions. Veteran placekicker David Akers has a strong leg, but he is not dependable because his FG attempts tend to drift.
Winner The Steelers have done a decent job in the punt and kickoff coverage, and they are waiting for Brown to give them a game-changing return as a result of his explosive speed. The Steelers have been quite pleased with placekicker Shaun Suisham, who has made 19-of-21 FG attempts.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images) (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

While the edges on this game are even, the Lions' edges at quarterback and offense are much bigger than the Steelers’ edges on defense and special teams. If the Lions don’t panic playing on the road against a traditionally strong home team, they should have a good chance to win this game.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Minnesota Vikings

    The Vikings defense has annihilated every opponent so far. Can they do it to the explosive Giants offense this week?

  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Chiefs and Steelers battle it out in a match-up of AFC playoff contenders.

  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At San Francisco 49ers

    The Cowboys have been rolling with rookie QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. They look to continue that momentum this week.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS New York

CAMPAIGN 2016
1010 WINS Special
WCBS 880 Breakfast

Listen Live