Monday, January 5, 2009

My Kind Of Football

Dolphin sushi, a dish served in finer Baltimore restaurants.

There have been rumors that Bill Parcells may leave the Dolphins so as to possibly take on another hopeless case franchise. If he does, do you know what his new nickname would be?

Dolphin-free Tuna.

Parcells found out yesterday that his team maybe isn't as good as he originally thought going into the playoffs, after it was turned into sushi by a legitimate playoff team, the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens, as we all know, are the Steelers biggest and most intense rival. The two teams played a game for the ages a few weeks ago that the Steelers won...certainly one of our most satisfying conquests since our last SuperBowl victory. But really folks, as fans of Steelers-style football --that tough, hard-hitting, sometimes-brutal play-- who imitates the Steelers brand of football better than the Ravens? No one! Remember, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Face it, if you didn't hate them so much, or if our town didn't have a franchise of our own, you'd love this team!

They're based on defense which is what our team has always been known for, and they have a collection of hard-nosed players that any Steeler fan would love to have for themselves because we love this type of football.
The stars may be lining up for a third game against the Ravens this year, and that's not really a good thing. The Steelers should be able to handle San Diego at home. It will be very tough because the Chargers are playing well right now, but we should prevail. But I'm especially interested in seeing the Titans-Ravens game on Saturday. If the Ravens win, which I feel is eminently possible, then this would set up a cataclysmic showdown at Heinz Field which would be the closest thing to a SuperBowl game ever being played in Pittsburgh.

Above: All-world free safety, Ed Reed. Below team leader, Ray Lewis.

But just to show you how well the stars are lining up, even if the Titans win, we get to play them on the road where we were lit up just a few weeks ago in a very poor effort by the black & gold. We will have plenty of motivation going into this contest.

After having lost as many AFC championship games at home as we have, I'm almost pulling for the Titans to beat the Ravens. I really don't want to play them again, not after having beaten them twice already this year. What are the chances for pulling off a hat trick against a team that's as tough as they are?

I know, the fans deserve to have the game in Pittsburgh and it's good for the local economy too. But I really can't say that our chances of making it to the SuperBowl would be any better playing at home against the Ravens than they would be against the Titans on the road. That may sound heretical, but I truly believe it.

That's because playing the Ravens is the closest thing the Steelers will ever find to playing a mirror image of themselves and that could never be a good thing. All you had to do was watch yesterday's game and imagine the Ravens players wearing black & gold. They do a mean Steelers imitation, just ask Ted Ginn Jr. who was de-cleated a'la Hines Ward-style yesterday during an Ed Reed interception return.

The interesting part about the NFL playoffs is that you don't have to beat everyone to win the SuperBowl, just the team you're called upon to go up against on a particular week. We've already seen the Dolphins, Colts, Vikings and Falcons fall by the wayside in week one. Now there are eight contenders left, and only three games required to win it all.

Here are my AFC playoff predictions: Steelers 16-10 over San Diego in another very tough game. Baltimore will prevail 21-17 over Tennessee in a fantastic game.

The following week the Steelers will defeat the Ravens 14-13 in Pittsburgh largely because the Ravens were so beaten up from the Titans game the week before.

In the NFC, the Eagles are going to upset the Giants in New York 27-21.
In the other matchup, the Cardinals will lose to the Carolina Panthers, 35-28

In the NFC Championship, the Eagles will lose on a last second field goal to Carolina, once again missing out on a chance at an all-Pennsylvania Superbowl , 23-21.
So in yer basic SuperBowl, look at having yer Stillers facing the Panthers and carting home Trophy number VI. This is going to be another extremely difficult game with the defense prevailing once again 10-9 in one of the most tense SuperBowls ever played. The offense will not score a touchdown in this game. James Harrison will cause a fumble and return it for the winning score becoming MVP in the process.
So there you have it. No surprise, if the Steelers are to win SuperBowl XLIII, they will win it with their great defense.
Notice that I'm expecting that the Steelers over the next three games are expected to score 16, 14 and 10 points (for a total of 40) with seven of those being scored by the defense. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for their offense, but it is a belief that the best defense in the league will get it done three more times allowing just 32 points over those same three games.
Mike Tomlin will get his first ring and it will have only taken him two years! Fasten your chinstrap granny, the train's about to leave the station!