Respect. The Steelers craved it for weeks. Many of the players will publicly tell you that only after the huge win last week did media outlets consider this team Super Bowl worthy. But, I think privately they will tell you, this team has had respect from the other NFL teams since winning at a hungry, desperate Cleveland.
This issue of respect turns out to be the prime factor this Sunday. Only, this time as per the holidays, it is better to give than receive. Pittsburgh has the respect. Detroit doesn�t. And history mandates that those who have gained respect must now respect all others to remain on top. Once a team ignores this rule, they fall victim to scares, upsets and sometimes blowouts. Anyone that needs an example need only be reminded of Baltimore�s attitude last week.
It�s becoming holiday season and the Steelers must give respect to Detroit, but that�s where the giving must end.
Now, Keys to the Game:
Steelers LB�s vs. Mike McMahon�s
Legs: Typically, the Steelers defense has been susceptible to a QB with
good mobility. The last thing this defense wants to do is allow McMahon to
take off for some easy first downs. I�m not saying we need a shadow for this
McMahon, but it will be good for the LB Corps to respect his
Blitz, Blitz, Blitz: The Steelers
need to blitz repeatedly to confuse this rookie QB. If they don�t come after
him fiercely, I�d be really surprised. Look for them to unleash a few goodies
this week that might show up late in the playoffs.
Steelers Offense vs. The Red Zone: This would be a prime game
to continue the touchdown production from last week or more importantly,
touchdown production that occurs while in the red zone. The Steelers
reached the red zone 4 times last week and the results:1 TD, 2 FG and 1 Missed
FG. Average numbers against a bend/don�t break type of defense, but awfully
pathetic numbers against a bend/always break Lions defense. Remember
this ratio: 1:2. One touchdown for every two trips to the
red zone. That should be a reasonable, achievable and necessary goal for this
Thoughts to keep in mind while going to the fridge for a beer.
Anyone that wants a good example of �Billy
Ball� needs to look at Herman Edwards and the Jets.
Factoid of the week: if Seattle wins out
the rest of their schedule, Baltimore must win out also to make the
I�m going to put my Strong-as-Steel Playoff
Picks below. With three weeks left and a strong lack of premiere match-ups the
rest of the way, I think we can begin to assume the teams sticking around for
You know, I�m noticing teams aren�t taking
shots at the Rams wide outs at the line of scrimmage. They seem to run
unimpeded where they want, when they want. If I were a defensive coordinator,
I play them aggressively and brutally. What�s the worse they could do? Score a
touchdown? They�d do that regardless.
I told you. I told you. I told you. The
Miami Dolphins aren�t anything special.
I think it�s a safe assumption that the
Rams will get home field advantage. That�s too bad too because only one
of the two teams that have a shot at beating them will make the playoffs (New
Orleans or Tampa Bay)
Here�s my take on Bettis� injury: I
think the coaching staff is telling the truth that it�s not a Fred
Taylor-type injury. BUT! I think they are concerned that it will become
a Fred Taylor-type injury if he�s rushed back without properly letting it
heal. Remember in Taylor�s injury the muscle tendon actually separated from
the bone. So don�t expect to see the Bus until at least next week. And even
then it will be a limited role.
Just a thought on the pathetic displays by
New Orleans and Cleveland fans last week: Is it any wonder that these two
teams and fans have never seen ultimate victory?
A note on Mill�s Loose Slag Article:
I disagree with Mill on the Offensive line. Come on Mill, how on earth would a
team that�s 11-2 be that strong with half of the offensive line giving
pathetic displays? I know your articles are on the shock value side. with
well-analyzed material and solid synopsis, but you really lost me on the
Tylski/Ross/Smith analysis. I think your searching for something that�s not
there. The special teams and lack of Porter/Gildon production? Now there�s
something to pick on.
* Last Week�s "Missed Prime Opportunity" score: Pittsburgh 3 Baltimore 5
Note: Team gains a point with each "prime opportunity" they miss.
*-- A "Missed Prime Opportunity" is one in when a team fails to score while in scoring range or doesn�t take advantage of major swings in momentum (i.e. major penalties/turnovers/settling for field goals in successive series/inability to seal a game with first downs). These are killer because a team only gets so many. A great example is the Giants vs. Eagles on Monday night this year. Although thoroughly ass whipping the Eagles in every category, the Giants inability to capitalize on Prime Opportunities causes the Eagles to take the lead with less than 2 minutes left. This gave the Giants at least 4 MPO�s in the first half. Those MPO�s came back to haunt the Giants. The Eagles cause Kerry Collins (The most overrated QB in the NFL) to fumble leading to an improbable Eagles victory in New York.
STRONG-AS-STEEL PLAYOFF PICKS: (In order of Seeding)
Division Winners AFC NFC
Wild Cards New England San Francisco
Not much surprise here�
Steelers 24 Lions 10
Written by JB IN THE BIG STEEL APPLE