When it scheduled a live NFL game in London, the league surely didn’t expect it to be a battle of 0-3 teams. But here we are, with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the “home team” Minnesota Vikings in a game where both teams are looking for their first win. The first three weeks of the NFL season have been full of great stories. Neither the Steelers nor Vikings has been one. The game takes place in early evening in London, so don’t be surprised by the darkness you see on CBS at 1pm Eastern / 10am Pacific or if you watch Steelers vs Vikings online free live streaming using one of several different methods.
The Vikings as the home team must simply be a formality, since Vikings originally came from the EU’s Nordic states. There doesn’t appear to be a homefield advantage, though, as many prognosticators are picking the Steelers to win. Theoretically, any time you have running back Adrian Peterson on your side, a close game can be blown open fast. The problem is that the Vikings only have the 14th-ranked rushing game, and their passing game is a distant 23rd, with Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder only throwing for 691 yards and two TDs this season.
Ponder is out this week with fractured ribs, but Matt Cassel replacing him may not be the best thing for the Vikings as they go up against the fifth-ranked Steelers defense. The last time Cassel led a drive against the Steelers, as the Kansas City Chiefs’ starting QB, the Steelers’ Lawrence Timmons intercepted his pass and returned it to the five yard line, setting up a game-winning field goal that got Cassel benched the next game. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has asked his defensive ends to rush the passer on the edge more than before, so no doubt the Steelers defense will be chomping at the bit to repeat that history. They’d surely like to use their game in London, which millions will view on CBS or watch Steelers vs Vikings online free live streaming, to welcome Cassel to the 2013 season.
Cassel’s seasons-old interception isn’t the only time you’re likely to hear that word, as the Vikings secondary leads the league in them. That means Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will need to play more like his Week 3 self than his Week 2. Last week Roethlisberger had 404 yards, a figure that other starting QBs have been lauded for. A winless record doesn’t do great things for praise.
Yet alongside their interception feat, the Vikings defense ironically leads the league in touchdowns allowed, paving the way for Big Ben to have a solid game for the second week in a row. The Steelers also have the NFL’s ninth-ranked passing game so far this season, and with the Vikings having trouble covering the tight end and vertical threats last week, Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller and Antonio Brown could be in for big days.
The Vikings were among the first teams to show interest in Cassel, and he was on the market for about a day before he agreed to a deal with Minnesota, according to ESPN. Cassel had to know that Ponder’s tenuous status gave him his best chance to play quickly, which he’s getting just four weeks into the 2013 NFL season. It will be interesting to see what he does with the opportunity, which you’ll be able to see if you watch the game on CBS or watch Steelers vs Vikings online free live streaming on CBS’ website or on gameday.