QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. QB Cam Newton
The success of the offense tonight will depend on the performance at the quarterback position for each team. Ben Roethlisberger enters week three ranked fourth in the NFL with 582 passing yards. Roethlisberger has only faced the Panthers twice in his career (winning each game) and threw for 320 yards and one touchdown, and he added one rushing touchdown in his most recent matchup in 2010. Cam Newton is one of the best athletes at the quarterback position and is a threat in the passing and running game. Last season, Newton amassed 3,379 yards passing and threw 24 touchdowns. He also added 585 yards on the ground with six rushing touchdowns. The Steelers defense will look to contain the versatile Newton tonight.
RB Le'Veon Bell vs. RBs Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams
Le'Veon Bell has shown that he will be one of the stables of the Steelers' offense this season. Through two games, Bell has generated 304 yards of total offense. His 168 rushing yards are tied for fourth in the league and his 136 receiving yards register as the third-best among running backs. Earlier this week, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin stated that Carolina has one of the most impressive running back groups in the NFL. Stewart and Williams split carries coming out of the backfield and have combined for at least 1,000 yards rushing in each season they have played together (2008-13). Combined with the blocking and running abilities of fullback Mike Tolbert and the elusive Newton, the Steelers face a formidable rushing attack.
LB Lawrence Timmons vs. LB Luke Kuechly
This evening's game features two of the most productive linebackers in the league in Timmons and Kuechly. According to team stats, each player ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in total tackles in 2013 (Timmons, 155 and Kuechly, 176). Timmons has led the Steelers in tackles in each of the past two seasons and currently leads the team with 21 tackles (16 solo) through two games. Kuechly has finished as the Panthers' leading tackler in each of his first two years as a pro and was named to his first career Pro Bowl after the 2013 season. His 19 tackles (12 solo) rank second on the team.