The New Orleans Saints visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13 with both teams in wildly different division races. At 4-7, the Saints are tied with the Atlanta Falcons for first place in the NFC South. Meanwhile, the Steelers are 7-4 and in a three-way tie for last place in the tightly contested AFC North, yet remain just a sliver behind the 7-3-1 Cincinnati Bengals for the top spot in the division. As such, the outcome of the game Sunday could have major playoff implications for both divisions.
The Saints are trying to break their three-game losing skid and, uncharacteristically for them, all three losses were in New Orleans. They have not had much luck away from the Superdome, either, with their lone road win coming against the reeling Carolina Panthers in Week 9. The Saints have also been stung by AFC North foes this season, falling to 0-3 against the division with a loss last week to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers, on the other hand, are winners of four of their last five, the only blemish being an odd 20-13 loss to the two-win New York Jets in Week 10. Though Pittsburgh has been a tough opponent at home, its one defeat at Heinz Field this season was also an inexplicable loss to another two-win team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4.
Offensively, the two teams are nearly identical. Both the Saints and Steelers boast top-five passing attacks led by veteran quarterbacks Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively. New Orleans has the ninth-best rushing game in the NFL while Pittsburgh's ranks 11th. Each offense averages 26.2 points per game.
It's on defense where the teams diverge. The Steelers allow 343.8 yards per game and have a top-10 rushing defense. The Saints, though, yield 377.1 yards per game -- sixth-worst in the league -- including 123.8 yards on the ground. Le'Veon Bell, who ran for 204 yards in Pittsburgh's last game, could be posed for another hugely productive outing, especially since he had a chance to rest up during the Steelers' bye in Week 12.
Still, neither team has been very consistent this season, but perhaps that's fitting given the unpredictability in their respective divisions.
How to Watch
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
When: 1 p.m. ET
Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Donovan McNabb, Charissa Thompson
Pittsburgh is a 4.5-point favorite at home with an over/under of 54.5 points, according to OddsShark.
For complete coverage of the Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles.
To keep up on the Steelers, check out Behind the Steel Curtain.