Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 4: Steelers 27 Cardinals 20

It is starting to scare me that the Steelers are starting to gain recognition as a top three team in the NFL. I liked the no respect card they were dealt and now they need to remain focused as new expectations are being placed upon them. On ESPN last night, Sean Salisbury called the Steelers the most balanced team to this point and it was time to start talking about them in the same breath as the Patsy’rots and Colts as the top three teams.

There’s no doubting the dominance the Steelers have exhibited in their first three games. Last week was really the team’s first test and they played great. Holding Frank Gore to less than 50 yards was the key to the game. Most of the yards and points scored by the 49ers were late in the game when the Steelers were already in control.

This week should be interesting. Whisenhunt and Grimm want to win badly to show the Rooney’s that they made a mistake by not hiring them, and Tomlin wants to prove he’s was indeed the right choice. The Cardinals shouldn’t have too much of advantage against the Steelers offense as the playbook is brand new since last year. In a normal situation, this should be an easy win for the Steelers, but it’s going to be tougher game because of this dynamic. I still think the Steelers win, but it will be closer than it really should be.

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 210 yards, 1 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 125 rush yards, 3rec 25 yards, 1 rush TD
Davenport: 45 rush yards, 3 rec 20 yards, 1 rush TD
Ward: May not play
Holmes: 6 rec 90 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 30 yards
Defense: 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 INTs

Friday, September 21, 2007

Week 3: Steelers 27 49ers 17

This game will be the Steelers first real test. Both teams are 2-0 and that will put a little extra pressure on them. The Steelers are better on both sides of the ball, but they must control Frank Gore to win. If Gore gets off to a good start, Alex Smith may have a chance to make some plays. I think the 49ers will score some points, but will falter when they have to rely on Smith. The Steelers offense should be successful against the 49ers defense, allowing them to improve to 3-0.

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 260 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 140 rush yards, 4 rec 25 yards, 1 rush TD
Davenport: 30 rush yards, 3 rec 30 yards
Ward: 8 rec 80 yards
Holmes: 3 rec 60 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 30 yards
Defense: 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 3 INTs

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Nice Win

You can say that the competition so far has not been that great. However, you also cannot deny the fact that the Steelers have dominated. The Browns rebounded big against the Bungles and the Bills had the game against the Broncos won until there were only two seconds left. So, the competition can’t be that awful. The Steelers defense in both games was just dominating with both teams gaining most of their yard when the game was already out of reach.

The defense will get a little more of a test this week when they face one of the best running backs in the league. If they can contain Frank Gore, the 49ers will have to rely on Alex Smith and the Steelers have been feasting on young quarterbacks. I like our chances.

Besides two great performances by the defense, some of the other positives so far are the play of the new offensive line, Willie Parker doing his thing, and Daniel Sepulveda pinning opponents deep inside their own territory. While the offense has performed well, there is room for improvement. Four times within the red zone in the first half against the Bills and only four field goals to show for it. As well as Roethisberger is playing, he can still improve his play. The biggest positives we’re seeing from Ben are his ability to find multiple receivers and that he’s not making big mistakes.

After last season, we can take a little comfort in this 2-0 start. There’s still a lot of football to be played and the Steelers schedule gets tougher with every week. With the way Tomlin has this team prepared and the way they are performing, there’s a feeling of optimism surrounding this team as they continue to build confidence.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 2: Steelers 34 Bills 10

No too bad on the week 1 prediction. I just gave the Browns too many points. In week 2, we’re looking at another Steelers victory. Score will be Steelers 34 Bills 10

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 240 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 120 rush yards, 3 rec 30 yards, 2 rush TDs
Davenport: 40 rush yards, 3 rec 30 yards
Ward: 7 rec 70 yards
Holmes: 4 rec 80 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 20 yards, 1 TD
Defense: 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 INTs

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dirty, Rotten Patriots (Cheaters)

If there were one team in the NFL that I would suspect of being cheaters, it would be the New England Patsy’rots. And, now, the news is out…they are cheaters!!! Let’s hope the NFL throws the book at them and takes away multiple draft picks.

Bill Belichick thinks he’s a football titan, but he is just a bitter, egotistical, over-hyped coach who’s using dirty tactics to win games. After failing miserably in Cleveland, I guess it’s understandable that he needed to be a cheater to advance his career. However, it’s his inflated ego that’s getting him in trouble now, as a team employee blatantly aimed a video camera at the Jets’ coaches from the sideline. Mastermind of the game, I think not, just a cheater.

How long has this been going on? Does it go back to 2001 when the Paty’rots were handed a Super Bowl victory in one of the greatest sports conspiracies in history?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Steelers that Good, Or Browns that Bad?

It was so nice to see a dominating win in Mike Tomlin’s first game, especially against the hated Browns. However, you have to wonder are the Steelers that good, or is Cleveland just that bad. I think it’s a little bit of both.

On offense, the Steelers new offensive line came together quite nicely in this game. Yeah, it was going up against the Browns awful defense, but only one sack, over 200 yards rushing, and four touchdown passes are still quite impressive. Big Ben showed that he was back on track. Although 12 for 23 passing is not great, (there were some drops that could’ve got him close to a 60 percent completion rating) his performance was still very positive. Fast Willie ran for over 100 yards, but two fumbles is troublesome. He needs to take better care of the ball with all the touches he gets.

On defense, there’s not a lot to complain about. Six sacks, five turnovers, 46 rushing yards against, and seven points are some pretty nice statistics. It could’ve even been a shutout too if Farrior makes an easy interception on the Browns touchdown drive. But, is this performance more based on the Steelers execution or the Browns offensive ineptitude. Personally, I think the Steelers defensive will be among the best this year. The Browns were completely overmatched. We may see Brady Quinn when the Steelers next play the Browns.

1-0 is a nice start of course and we need to keep the early wins coming before the schedule gets really tough. Buffalo will present a little more of challenge this upcoming week because they have a better defense than Cleveland. Their offense isn’t much better and the Steelers defense should shine again.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Steelers 31 Browns 13

Here’s my week 1 prediction: Steelers 31 Browns 13

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 250 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 125 yards, 4 rec 45 yards, 1TD
Davenport: 35 yards, 1 TD
Ward: 6 rec 80 yards, 1TD
Holmes: 5 rec 90 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 45 yards
Defense: 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 INTs

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Final AFC Predictions

Back in May, I made my early preseason AFC predictions. Since then, I haven’t made too many changes. The two teams that I am making the biggest changes to are the Broncos and Jaguars. I think Denver is going to be stronger than I first thought and the Jaguars are not going to be as good as I predicted. The Broncos are going to have a very good defense and Jay Cutler will be much improved. I think that puts them in competition with the Chargers for the division. However, I don’t think they will have enough to over take the Chargers, but will get a wildcard spot. With the Jaguars making the change at QB, I think there are too many questions for them to make the playoffs. They will still play solid defense, but will struggle to score.

Here are my predictions:
Patsy’rots – 10-6 wins the division. There’s nobody in this weak division to challenge them
Jets – Either of these three remaining teams can finish in second. I'll pick Jets for 2nd
Dolphins – Not this year, but will be competitive next year with a few moves
Bills – Depends upon how Losman performs

Ravens – Their defense wins games. McNair loses them
Steelers – 10-6 gets them the wildcard or 11-5 wins them the division
Bungles – Still can’t get over the hump. Will score plenty, but will give up as many points
Browns – More talent, but not enough yet

Colts – Lost some key talent, especially on defense, but they win the division
Jaguars – Won’t score enough to win more than 8
Texans – Much improved and will be competitive
Titans – Vince Young does not have enough support

Chargers – Best team in the AFC on both sides of the ball
Broncos – Could challenge for the division, but will settle for wildcard
Chiefs – Larry Johnson or bust
Raiders – Will be better. Defense is pretty good, but do they have any offense

Steelers over Patsy’rots – Some revenge
Broncos over Ravens – Better offense wins a defensive game

Colts over Steelers – 2nd round of playoff = Tomlin success in year 1
Chargers over Broncos – This is the Chargers’ year

Chargers over Colts – Home team advantage gets the Chargers to the Super Bowl

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Cuts: Not Many Surprises

The only real surprises with the Steelers final roster moves were the cuts of both backup centers, Chucky Okobi and Marvin Philip, and that neither Cameron Stephenson or Jason Capizzi made the practice squad. Okobi and Haynes were biggest names to get cut, but neither was a big surprise. Since the team signed Sean Mahan, it was pretty easy to figure out that Okobi’s job was in trouble.

The biggest move by the team was the long term signing of Kendall Simmons. Unless new contracts can get done before Sunday, it looks like Alan Faneca, Clark Haggans, Max Starks, and Dan Kreider will play as Steelers for the last time this season. It would be nice if the team could get something done with Faneca and Haggans, but it seems unlikely. For some reason, Starks has fallen from his starter role and is now a backup. Kreider’s position was in doubt as the final cuts were made, but he did make the team. He’s the best fullback in the league and deserves the spot. Now, depending on how the new offense functions this year, a pure fullback may not have a role on the team next year.

Overall, the 2007 Steelers roster is strong. The team has very good depth at all positions. Hopefully, the offensive line can come together as the team’s success will ride on this group’s performance. This is a playoff team.