Week 15: Steelers Key Matchup
Steelers WR Santonio Holmes vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson
STEELERS — WR SANTONIO HOLMES
In his fourth year, Santonio Holmes has transitioned into the leader of the Steelers' wideouts, taking that role away from future Hall of Famer Hines Ward. Holmes, the Super Bowl XLIII MVP has been targeted by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a team-high 113 times. He passed 1,000 yards in a season for the first time last week; his total of 1,080 leads the team and ranks third in the NFL. Holmes' 70 receptions are also a career best. Holmes set a career high in receiving yards a few weeks back when he hauled in eight passes for 149 yards in a loss to Oakland. Holmes has eight games with at least 80 yards receiving.
PACKERS — CB CHARLES WOODSON
The 33-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner has found the fountain of youth in Green Bay and is being talked about as a serious candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson has done it all this year. He is second in the league with eight interceptions, including two he returned for scores. He has forced four fumbles and has two sacks. His five sacks since 2008 lead all NFL defensive backs (safeties and corners). His 61 total tackles are already more than he accumulated all last of season. What has made Woodson so dominant this year has been his versatility — he has played corner, safety and linebacker .
If there's one knock on Woodson, it's that he tends to struggle with quick players. Holmes could be the Steelers' quickest receiver — if he can get a free release off the line of scrimmage. If he can do that, he could make some plays against Woodson. However, the way Woodson has been playing, it might be tough to get anything accomplished against him. He has shut down some good receivers, such as Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Baltimore's Derrick Mason, and some elite tight ends, such as San Francisco's Vernon Davis and Dallas' Jason Witten. Woodson has found new life in Green Bay since coming over from Oakland. He has 27 picks in 59 games with the Packers and only 17 in 106 with the Raiders.