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Number Crunching: Colts/Steelers Edition

Intro: Our “number crunching” series on debuts this week with a slew of numbers to watch in this Week 13 contest between the Colts and Steelers.


INDIANAPOLIS – Curious on some key numbers ahead of Sunday night's matchup between the Colts (6-5) and Steelers (6-5)?

Here are 10 things to keep an eye on with two teams in the middle of the crowded AFC playoff picture:

2.5The yards per carry for Frank Gore the past four weeks. A combination of a new-look offensive line and playing four of the league's top run defenses has definitely contributed to this number. Gore is banged up right now and now he faces the No. 7 defense in the NFL with a somewhat new backup in Boom Herron.

3The number of receivers Pittsburgh has had reach 175 receiving yards in a game this season. They are the first team in NFL history to have three different players record a 175-yard receiving game in the same season. Antonio Brown (two such games: 17-289, 9-195), Martavis Bryant (6-178), Markus Wheaton (9-201) give the Steelers arguably the most explosive wideout group in the NFL this year.

6.5The number of yards per play the Steelers are averaging in 2015, the most in the NFL. Despite losing All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell and missing Ben Roethlisberger for four games this season, the Steelers offense has remained potent. It's a balanced attack, ranking top ten in passing and rushing.

36/37The first quarter points for the Steelers and Colts, respectively, this season. These teams are averaging a little less than 3.5 points per game in opening quarters in 2015. This is a clear focus for the Colts, something that has plagued them away from home in losses to Buffalo and Carolina.

XLThe roman numeral for the 2006 Super Bowl. A decade ago Matt Hasselbeck's Seahawks and Ben Roethlisberger's Steelers squared off in the Super Bowl. Ironically enough, the Steelers route to that Super Bowl title went through Indianapolis in a Divisional Round upset of the Colts.

50The number of Jerrell Freeman. The Colts mainstay in the middle of their defense hasn't practiced all week with a "grade two" hamstring injury. It's looking like Freeman will miss Sunday nights game but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be a linebacker filling his role. If the Colts go to more nickel/dime looks to stop Pittsburgh's passing attack, then maybe the guy taking Freeman's snaps is a Darius Butler or Clayton Geathers.

64The number of penalties Pittsburgh has committed in 2015, the fewest in the NFL. The Colts have benefited from opposing penalties this season. Opponents have committed a league-high 103 penalties for 922 yards against the Colts this season.

113The number of receiving yards Donte Moncrief had in last year's loss to the Steelers. In 2014, Moncrief's first significant impact in the NFL came in the loss to Pittsburgh, with Reggie Wayne injured. Moncrief has blossomed into a budding star who now leads the Colts in catches (52) this season.

160.4The number of receiving yards Pittsburgh WR-Antonio Brown has averaged with RB-Le'Veon Bell out of the lineup this season. In five games without the All-Pro Bell, the fellow All-Pro in Brown has been otherworldly. No receiver in the NFL has more yards after catch than Brown this season so tackling in space this week has to be atop the priority list.

522The number of passing yards for Ben Roethlisberger in the Steelers win over the Colts last year. That was a franchise record with Big Ben also tossing six touchdowns. Those are numbers Jim Irsay mentioned this offseason in trying to limit the league's top quarterbacks. It was a shootout last year in Pittsburgh and these two offenses come in this week off some pretty impressive performances through the air.

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