PITTSBURGH STEELERS VS. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013
4:25 p.m.; CBS
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RB EDDIE LACY
He's No. 1 in the NFL in rushing over the last 10 games with 977 yards. Lacy has 1,028 rushing yards for the season, which is No. 1 among rookies and No. 7 among all players. He's also in sight of John Brockington's franchise record for rookie rushers (1,105 yards in 1971) and has tied Brockington's mark for 100-yard games by a rookie (four). Officially, Lacy has played in 13 games but he missed one entirely and the majority of another with a concussion.
LB CLAY MATTHEWS
He ranks seventh in the NFL since entering the league in 2009 with 49 sacks, the fifth-highest total in Packers history. Matthews' 6.5 sacks this season tie for the team lead in Green Bay with DT Mike Daniels. He's the first player in Packers history to earn Pro Bowl recognition in each of his first four seasons (2009-12) and the only player in Green Bay annals to score a defensive TD in each of his first three seasons. Matthews was a first-team All-Pro and finished as the runner-up to Troy Polamalu for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
ABOUT THE PACKERS
At 7-6-1 Green Bay can win the NFC North with season-ending victories over Pittsburgh and at Chicago. The Packers rallied from a 26-3 halftime deficit to win, 37-36, last Sunday in Dallas, which matched the largest comeback in franchise history. Green Bay beat Atlanta, 22-21, on Dec. 8 at Lambeau, which extended its winning streak in regular season home games after Dec. 1 to 13 in a row. The Packers started 5-2 before losing QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone). Green Bay is 2-1-1 since Matt Flynn replaced Scott Tolzien at quarterback in the second half on Nov. 24 against Minnesota (26-26 tie). The Packers went 0-4-1 beginning with the Nov. 4 game against Chicago that cost them Rodgers prior to the win over Atlanta.
THE PACKERS' OFFENSE
Green Bay is No. 4 in total offense (seventh rushing, seventh passing). The Packers have rushed for at least 180 yards in five games and have had at least one 100-yard receiver in eight games (WRs Jarrett Boykin, Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson have reached triple figures). Green Bay is No. 4 in the NFL with 65 plays of 20-plus yards and is tied for No. 1 with four runs of 50-plus yards. Nelson is No. 2 in the NFL with 15 catches of at least 25 yards. Flynn became the first quarterback in Green Bay history to throw four TD passes in a second half when he did so in Dallas. The Packers have converted 14 of 28 third downs over the last two games. Green Bay is one of only two teams (Philadelphia) in the top 10 in rushing and passing offense.
THE PACKERS' DEFENSE
Green Bay is No. 26 in total defense (25th rushing, 22nd passing). The Packers have 15 sacks over their last five games and are tied for No. 5 in the league with 42 sacks overall (13 players have at least one). Green Bay has produced eight takeaways in its last three games. DE/LB Mike Neal has a sack in four of the last five games. LB A.J. Hawk leads the team with 138 tackles. CB Tramon Williams has three interceptions in his last five games.
THE PACKERS' SPECIAL TEAMS
Rookie CB Micah Hyde had a 93-yard punt return for a TD against Minnesota and is No. 2 in the NFL in punt returns (13.3 yards per). K Mason Crosby is 30-for-34 on field goals, including two 57-yard efforts this season. P Tim Masthay is No. 1 in franchise history (minimum 150 punts) with a 44.4-yard gross average and No. 1 in the NFL this season in net punting average (40.3). Green Bay is No. 32 in the NFL in kickoff return average (18.8) and No. 30 in opponents' kickoff return average (27.1).