Friday, October 26, 2007

Week 8: Steelers 31 Bungles 24

This game is going to be a shootout. The Broncos exposed some holes in the Steelers defense that had started the season off so well. I think the Bungles are going to put up some points, but their defense can’t stop anybody. The Steelers will score some points in this game. The game will probably stay close into the fourth quarter, but the Steelers will show that they are the better team.

Look for a 31-24 Steelers victory.

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 270 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 130 rush yards, 2 rec 20 yards, 2 rush TD
Davenport: 50 rush yards, 3 rec 20 yards
Ward: 6 rec 70 yards, 1 TDHolmes: 7 rec 90 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 40 yards, 1 TD
Defense: 3 sacks, 2 fumble recovery, 1 INTs

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Very Disappointing Loss

Where did the Steelers great defense go? Jay Cutler suddenly became Dan Marino-like and just torched the Steelers D. Cutler never faced much pressure and had way too much time to make things happen. Throughout the season so far, the Steelers have made young QBs look terrible, but not in this game. The Broncos also were down two top receivers. Coming off the bye week, I think we all expected more, especially with Hampton and Polamalu back in the lineup.

Now, with Carson Palmer up next, can the Steelers D get back on track? I think Denver exposed a serious flaw that must be corrected. The Steelers showed they are vulnerable to short, quick passes. This was a problem a few years ago and really doomed our season. With the offensive talent that Cincinnati has, this could be a big problem.

The good news is that Roethlisberger had a very good game. Yes, he was picked off twice and coughed up a fumble for a TD. But, he faced pressure throughout the game and still rallied the team back with a chance to win it in an overtime that the defense failed to get the team to. Tomlin has been criticized for his game plan of throwing first, but it really did work. The offense was successful, despite a terrible performance from the offensive line.

If the Steelers can’t right the defense for the Bungles, Roethlisberger should at least be able to take advantage of a really bad Cincy defense. This game has the potential to be a shootout, which unfortunately can go either way. While I’m worried about the offensive line, I’m much more worried about how the defense responds in this game.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Week 7: Steelers 24 Broncos 13

Thanks goodness for they bye week. Normally, I despise these relatively early bye weeks, especially when the team has some momentum going, but the Steelers needed the time to get healthy. Looks like we’ll see Ward, Holmes, Polamalu, and Hampton back this week, and that will be a huge lift. McFadden remains the only other key player out, but he’s making progress.

When the schedules came out, this looked like it would be a very tough match up for the Steelers. However, the Broncos are having big problems on both sides of the ball. Their defense had the on-paper look as one of the league’s best, but has had no such success. I think Fast Willie will have a big day and that’s just what the Steelers will need to control this game. The Broncos have very solid defensive backs and it could be tough to throw on them at times. If Parker sets the tone, look for Roethlisberger to have success.

The Steelers’ defense should really create some havoc for Jay Cutler. Without his top receiving threat, Javon Walker, it could be a very long day for Cutler. The Steelers’ defense has been confusing quarterbacks all season, whether they are young or seasoned.

My prediction is a Steelers victory 24-13. The Broncos may keep it close for a little while, but the Steelers will take this on.

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 190 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 130 rush yards, 2 rec 20 yards, 1 rush TD
Davenport: 50 rush yards, 3 rec 20 yards
Ward: 4 rec 40 yards
Holmes: 3 rec 50 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 25 yards, 1 TD
Defense: 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 3 INTs

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Time Is on Our Side

More than 40 minutes of possession time is a great statistic to achieve. But, when you break it down by each half, the Steelers’ performance against Seattle was simply amazing. With a 7-0 lead going into the half, the Steelers went on to control the ball for almost 25 minutes to close out the second half. It’s pretty tough for any team to come from behind, regardless of the deficit, if you only have the ball for around five minutes.

Now, this wasn’t against the pathetic offenses of the Browns or Bills, it was against the supposedly offensive talented Seattle Seahawks. And, the Steelers were short-handed on defense without two stars (Polamalu and Hampton) and another critical component (McFadden). The Steelers’ defense has just played great so far and is a big reason the team is 4-1. Even in the loss, the defense only gave up 14 points.

The team has so much depth that it can overcome injuries without losing its focus. The bye week gives the team a chance to get healthy and ready for some tougher games. Ben now needs to get Ward and Holmes back as his primary targets so the offense can get rolling again.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Week 5: Steelers 27 Seahawks 17

Steelers are fighting the injury bug for the first time this year. Ward, Polamalu, Hampton, and McFadden all may not play. Fortunately, the Steelers have enough depth to cover these injuries.

After the team’s first loss last week, Tomlin will have the team prepared and ready to go. There seemed to be a breakdown last week and I think that was a direct result of the Whisenhunt/Grimm factor. This week the team has no excuses. Ben and Willie should get back on track and the defense should remain solid despite those injuries. If we can get into the bye week at 4-1, we’ll be in great shape and that’s got to be the team’s motivation for this game.

Some key stat projections:
Roethlisberger: 240 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Parker: 110 rush yards, 4 rec 40 yards, 1 rush TD
Davenport: 35 rush yards, 3 rec 20 yards
Ward: May not play
Holmes: 7 rec 110 yards, 1 TD
Miller: 4 rec 40 yards, 1 TD
Defense: 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INTs

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tough Loss, Sour Taste

Well, it proved to be the trap game that probably all of us envisioned in the backs of our heads. The fact was the Steelers just did not elevate their game to compete against an opponent that was more motivated to win. For Whisenhunt and Grimm, this was their Super Bowl and the Cardinals responded for them.

The Steelers were not awful, but just couldn’t get things going when they really needed to. Add two bad mistakes to that and the game was over. The punt return for a TD should never have happened, but a bad penalty by Carey Davis gave the Cardinals another chance. And with the Steelers first and goal at the Cardinals’ 4 yard line, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have at least scored 3 points. Ben’s interception was a bad play. He tried to force it into Miller and didn’t see the linebacker break on the ball.

This is a bump in the road loss and one that I don’t think really shocks any Steeler fan. Tomlin will have the team ready to go against Seattle. While Seattle will be the best team the Steelers have played to date, the team should get back into the win column before the bye week and some difficult games ahead.

4-1 going into the bye week break will be very nice, especially with what’s going on in the AFC North. Cleveland beating Baltimore was huge, and Cincinnati having all sorts of problems only helps the Steelers cause. There’s still a lot of football to be played, but the Steelers are looking like the team to beat in their division.