Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Most Difficult Season" ???

In depth analysis from "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold"

While we are still knee deep in what has been universally regarded as this most difficult of seasons for the Steelers, I thought it would be interesting to review each game’s results along with analyzing the current records of the past opposition.

WEEK 1 Steelers beat up on a weak Houston Texans team by a 38-17 score.

Texans current record 6-7 .462

WEEK 2 Steelers edge Cleveland, a team that has gone on to have a terrible season, by a 10-6 score at the “Mistake by the Lake”.

Browns current record 4-9 .308

WEEK 3 Steelers play their worst game of the year (to this day) and get hammered by the Eagles 15-6 (It was worse than that).

Eagles current record 7-5-1 .577

WEEK 4 Steelers edge the Baltimorons in O.T. by a 23- 20 score. Both teams immediately begin game-planning rematch in week 14.

Ravens current record 9-4 .692
WEEK 5 Steelers beat a Jacksonville team 26-21 on the road that has always given them fits.

Jaguars current record 4-9 .308


WEEK 7 Almost another bye. Steelers crush hapless Bungles 38-10 in Cinci. Steeler fans took over Paul Brown Stadium.

Bengals current record 1-11-1 .115

WEEK 8 Steelers lose a tough game they could have won against the New York Giants, last year's SuperBowl champs.

Giants current record 11-2 .846

WEEK 9 Steelers overwhelm the Redskins in D.C., 23-6, begin Skins current tailspin.

Redskins current record
7-6 .538

WEEK 10 Steelers lose another winnable game at home versus Payton’s Colts

Colts current record
9-4 .692

WEEK 11 Steelers eke out a very tough win against the

Chargers current record
5-8 .385

WEEK 12 The Steelers hold off a game, but injury-riddled Bengals team that is going through a season that is bad even by their
standards, 27-10

Bengals current record 1-11-1 .115

WEEK 13 In one of the most satisfying wins ever, the Steelers pummel the New England Cheatriots, in Foxboro no less, by a 33-10 score.
Patriots current record 8-5 .615

WEEK 14 As if beating New England the week before wasn’t enough, the Steelers mount a dramatic fourth quarter comeback to beat the Dallas Cryboys 20-13.

Cowboys current record 8-5 .615

Of course the “hits” just keep on comin’ in this most challenging NFL season since the mid-40s (or so everyone would have you believe) as the Steelers this week invade Baltimoron Field in a battle for AFC North supremacy.

Ravens current record 9-4 .692

After Baltimore comes the AFC conference-leading Tenness Titans, they of a 12-1 record (.923) followed by what will in all likelihood be Romeo Crennell's last game as coach of the Browns (at Heinz (a.k.a.Hines) Field. If the Steelers beat the Ravens and the Titans slip up at Houston, this would set up a week 16 battle in Tennessee for the conference lead. The Steelers, if they were to win that game would have the top spot based on head-to-head play. Of course it goes without saying that this is a tall order.

It’s now time to break out the old adding machine. In this exercise we are going to combine the collective records of all of the teams the Steelers have played this year. For argument’s sake, we’ll pretend that the Bengals are the Lions or the Rams (zero wins and two wins compared to Cinci’s one win) for the second time that we already played them this year.

So far, during this 2008 season, the Steelers’ opposition is sporting an 86-80-2 combined record when you eliminate the games involving the Steelers or a .511 winning percentage. I’m sure that virtually anyone would have guessed (this writer included) that that percentage would have been much higher. The Bengals’ one win season in two contests against Pittsburgh isn’t helping this report any, that’s for sure. A .511 percentage is good for third place in most divisional races right now. However, if we add in the current records of the final three teams, minus Steeler contests, the record now swells to 111-92-2 or .541% or roughly still a third place finish in most divisions.
So are the Steelers playing a schedule that in the off-season was gauged to be one of the toughest ever in league history, or has the opposition actually not been as formidable as was originally thought? In this case, the numbers aren’t lying. The Steelers’ opposition hasn’t held up its’ end of the bargain when facing other opponents. Sorry Steeler fans, our team’s good, but no matter how I manipulate the numbers it still appears that maybe the opposition has been helping that image along a little more than we realized this year. But so what, as long we get into the SuperBowl!

If nothing else, all of this research also shows that you can't gauge this year's schedule difficulty based on last year's results around the NFL.

I'll be looking forward to your comments.

The Steelers had a ball beating Bill Belicheat this year, but it won't bring back two blemished AFC Championships and two more SuperBowls that the Black & Gold could have very well been in.