Seahawks vs. Steelers: 5 things to know going into Week 6 matchup

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The Seattle Seahawks are visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, badly needing a victory to stay afloat in the NFC West race, led by the as-yet undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

Here are five big picture things to know about these teams heading into their Week 6 matchup.

Russell Wilson is out for the first time in his career

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For the first time since the 2011 season, the Seahawks will not have Russell Wilson playing at quarterback. After 149 straight starts plus another entire season’s worth of playoff games, Wilson will miss this week and likely a couple more due to a broken middle finger on his throwing hand. Wilson was on a tear to start the 2021 season, posting 10 touchdowns and one INT.

Geno Smith is starting

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With Wilson on the sidelines, Seattle will look to No. 2 QB Geno Smith to take over. He’s been Wilson’s primary backup for the last two and a half years but hasn’t started a game in four and 2014 was the last time he was a full-time QB1. For his career, Smith has a 12-19 record and has averaged 6.8 yards per attempt, completing 57.9% of his passes. The big issue with Smith has been turnovers, as he has an extremely high 4% interception rate.

Ben Roethlisberger's arm is shot

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On the bright side, Pittsburgh isn’t looking so hot at quarterback, either. Now in his 18th season in the NFL, Ben Roethlisberger’s arm strength is a shadow of what it was at his peak. This year he has only been averaging 6.6 air yards per attempt, which is the third-lowest mark among 2021 quarterbacks with at least two starts. His QBR is just 41.7, the lowest of his career aside from the 2019 campaign.

Seattle's defense is historically bad

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Then again, you don’t have to be Joe Montana to run the score up against the Seahawks these days. For the second year in a row, this team is on pace to give up the most yards in a single season. Their opponents are averaging 450.8 yards per game. Seattle has particularly struggled in the second half of games – likely related to ranking last in the league in time of possession.

Pittsburgh's defense is tough

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It seems like the Steelers have had a strong defense for about 50 years straight and this season is no exception to the rule. They have the league’s best edge defender in T.J. Watt and rank fifth in pass rush win rate as a team. They’re also stout against the run, ranking sixth in DVOA.

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