The Pittsburgh Steelers are 3-2 after a dramatic comeback win on Monday Night Football. They'll face another stiff test when the 4-1 Arizona Cardinals come to Heinz Field on Sunday.
The Cardinals have staked a claim as one of the best teams in football this season. After getting tripped up by the St. Louis Rams in Week 4, Arizona got right back to its dominant ways, destroying the Detroit Lions at Ford Field, 42-17. It's the third time this season the Cardinals have scored 40 or more points.
Arizona's success starts with three veterans who have found the Fountain of Youth. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is having his best season in years, racking up 35 catches for 490 yards and leading the league with six receiving touchdowns. The 35-year-old is on pace to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2011.
In the running game, Chris Johnson is looking rejuvenated after several underwhelming years with the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. Since being signed off the street at the end of training camp, Johnson has rushed for 405 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. It's his highest per-carry average since the historic 2009 season, when he reached 2,000 rushing yards and set the single-season record for yards from scrimmage (2,509).
The third impressive veteran is at quarterback. Carson Palmer is healthy and playing the best football of his career. Palmer shredded the Lions while barely breaking a sweat, completing 11 of 14 passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions. With the sixth-ranked offense in yards per game and ninth-best defense in yards allowed, the Cardinals are one of the most complete teams in football.
The Steelers will try to avoid a letdown after Monday night's big win over the San Diego Chargers. With Mike Vick still filling in for Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers were down 20-17 with under three minutes to go. However, Vick drove the offense down the field (after sputtering for the first three quarters) and got the Steelers to the 1-yard line with five seconds left. Le'Veon Bell dove into the end zone on a Wildcat run and Pittsburgh escaped with a 3-2 record, its playoff hopes alive and well.
Roethlisberger is still recovering from an MCL sprain and is expected to miss this week's game, although he expressed a desire to come back. It seems more likely that the Steelers will hold him out for at least one more week. In the meantime, Vick will start, so fans can expect more up-and-down performances like the one he had on Monday night.
Vick is getting a reinforcement on offense, though. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been activated to the roster after serving a four-game suspension and sitting out Week 5 with a minor knee issue. Bryant will bring some much-needed size and presence to the red zone offense, and is an upgrade over one-dimensional speedster Markus Wheaton. The offense still belongs to Bell and Antonio Brown, but Bryant's addition should give opposing defenses something else to think about.
Pittsburgh's defense remains a question mark, ranking 15th in rushing yards and 20th in passing yards allowed per game. The early line on this game favors the Cardinals by 3 points (according to OddsShark), but if Arizona's offense gets off to another hot start, Vick and company could have a much harder time getting an opportunity for last-minute heroics this week.
How to watch
When: 1 p.m. ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Peter Schrager
Online: NFL Game Pass