Divisional Round feat. Steelers Versus ?

As much as the rest of the NFL may want to see yet another Steelers vs Ravens blood orgy, I’ve had enough for this season. Let the two hardest-hitting teams in the NFL take out their wrath on others. I’ll take the Ravens over KC and Indy over NY. That will send the Colts to Pittsburgh and the Ravens to Foxborough where they can dutifully soften up the Patriots.

I like the Steelers chances against a very beatable Colts team. And their chances only improve the following week against a Raven-battered Patriots roster.

Against the Colts the Steelers should be able to impose their will on both sides of the ball without revealing too much to the Patriots brain trust. Pass enough to keep that eighth man out of the box and run it down their undersized defense’s collective throats.

This is much more desirable than another brass-knuckle, lead-pipe Ravens affair.

So yeah. Give the Steelers the Colts, the Patriots the Ravens and let’s see what happens in the AFCC.

Heh.

New OT Rules in Effect for Playoffs

From the World Wide Leader:

  • Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner.
  • If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.
  • If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if [the overtime period’s] initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue until a score is made, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

This rule stinks of compromise. I bet there were some owners who wanted no change and some who wanted something as drastic as a switch to the college rules. And they ended up with this debacle.

If I recall, the whole idea was to give each team a chance – to remove “chance” from the equation. But was that necessary considering that the coin-toss winner is 13-15 in the playoffs? It seems like the best team finds a way to win, no matter what.

They wanted to ensure that both teams had a chance to touch the ball, but if the coin-toss winner scores a TD then the game is over and the loser is the loser.

I hope the Steelers make it to the AFCC game in Foxborough, win the coin-toss in OT and run the kickoff back for a TD. Game over. Goodell would be horrified and talking heads would clutter the airwaves with talk of a new OT rule change this off season.

Patriots: Addition by Subtraction

Randy Moss, Uber Loser

Did the Patriots’ offense get better when they traded Randy Moss?  You bet it did.  It was never more evident than in their game Sunday against their trade partner, the Minnesota Vikings.  On a typical passing play, Moss went deep, angling to the left side of the field towards the end zone.  A Patriots DB clearly interfered with Moss who, rather than play through the grab, immediately quit on the play, turned to the ref and made the “throw a flag” motion after putting his hands up as if to say, “WTF, didn’t you see that?”

As expected, the ref tossed a flag which hit the ground about the same time as the pass from Brett Favre.  But guess what?  All Moss had to do was turn around and hold his arms out to catch the ball.  He practically tripped over it as it bounced at his feet near the goal line.  It was a sure TD reception had Moss bothered to look for the ball.  But no, he had to whine and call for a flag as if THAT was his primary responsibility, to run down field and draw flags.

As it turns out, the Vikings got their first-and-goal and eventually scored a touchdown.  But Favre took a vicious helmet shot to the chin and left the game to Tarvaris Jackson.

Nice job Randy.  Your whining in New England got you traded to a loser.  Meanwhile, your old team is taking off with an extra 2011 third round pick in their back pocket.  I don’t think they miss you.

Update Nov 2, 2010

The Minnesota Vikings announced that Randy Moss will be released.

Steelers vs Ravens Prediction

Boy, did I ever get it wrong last week.  Picked the game right, sure.  But I did not give Arians or Charlie Batch the credit they deserved.  Well done, gentlemen!

And now to the Ravens.  We all know how this game will be.  Sometimes past performance is a good indicator and the Steelers/Ravens matchups generally prove it.  Is there any reason to expect a margin greater than three either way? Not so much. From Cowher to Tomlin, from whoever was before Billick to Harbaugh, Kordell to Roethlisberger, vast array of spares to Flacco, these teams hammer at each other.  They knock slobber.  Heck, ask the players.  Terrell Suggs knows it, “I’d be lying if I told you it was just another game.  It’s a little bit more than that.  This is the game on the schedule that we circle and we definitely look forward to.  Maybe because we don’t like these guys. We respect them, but we don’t like them.”   Ray Lewis knows it.  Hines Ward knows it.  You think Rashard Mendenhall didn’t figure it out pretty damn fast? Suffice it to say, everyone knows it. It will be a slug fest and the margin will be three points or less.

Steelers 17 Ravens 16

Steelers vs Buccaneers Prediction

Bucs coach Raheem Morris is paranoid.  He thinks Byron Leftwich knows enough from his season in hell Tampa to help the Steelers.  He said, “Byron knows us well. Byron may have a couple things up his sleeve that he knows that he can use to hurt me.”  Sounds personal.

Coach, you should be worried about  the Black-n-Gold defense doing permanent damage to your quarterback’s psyche.

I’m not expecting much scoring in this game.  First, it’s unlikely that Arians will open up the offense even with a week to work with starter-of-the-moment Charlie Batch.  Expect much 3 yards and a cloud of dust offense from the Steelers.  Maybe the defense and special teams will score a few TDs and make it a blowout.  The Bucs mustered 14 and 20 against the likes of Cleveland and Carolina.  I’d be surprised if they break 10 this week. Therefore, I prognosticate

Steelers 20 Buccaneers 10

Steelers vs Titans Prediction

This is a historically nasty matchup for the Steelers.  Don’t expect it to change this week.  But, since I’m feeling optimistic at the moment and given their almost certain overconfidence after whooping the Raiders I’d like to predict … um …  where did I leave that post it note?

Non Story of the Week feat. Ben Roethlisberger

Will it be four games or six?  We don’t know and Roger Goodell isn’t saying.  As it stands, Roethlisberger will serve a six-game suspension. Goodell stated that he’d consider reducing the count to four based on Roethlisberger’s behavior leading up to the season.

So here we are a few days out from training camp and the Roethlisberger suspension is still old news.  Hey, Goodell will get back to us!  Frankly, six games or four games, the Steelers are in good hands with Leftwich.

And that concludes this week’s “Non Story of the Week”.

AFCN: Two-Team Division

The addition of Terrell Eldorado Owens to the Bengals of Cincinnati officially makes it a contest between two teams. Which two, you ask? HA! The Steelers and the Ravens, of course

Can you even begin to imagine the cancerous locker room situation in Bengalville? How will the mega egos of Ocho Cinco and TO ever manage to co-exist? Will there ever be enough footballs to go around? How can Carson Palmer hope to appease those two?

But wait, there’s more:   The Bengals have already signed Antonio Bryant!  I couldn’t have fabricated a more disastrous scenario for a division rival had I worked all night on it.  OK, that’s a lie.  Still, this is nearly perfection.

Steelers fans everywhere are rubbing their hands together, waiting for the implosion to begin.  Oh, November 8 can’t get here soon enough!

Non Story of the Week feat. Maurkice Pouncey

If you haven’t  heard it by now then here you go:  The Steelers’ first round draft pick,  Maurkice Pouncey, was arrested.  Oh wait, this isn’t  Ravens’ news.  He wasn’t arrested at all!  Heck, he didn’t even do anything illegal. Pouncey was found to have accepted money from an agent prior to finishing his college career.  While this may impact the Florida Gators’ football program, it will have little to no affect on Pouncey.

Think of the money as an advance.

And that concludes this week’s “Non Story of the Week”.

One More Shot for The Fav-ruh?

It turned out that Brett Favre had one heck of a  season for the Vikings.  I was skeptical of his remaining talent after the sorry end to his season with the Jets, but he proved all doubters wrong.

What a season.

What a playoffs.

What a game, the NFC Championship.

And what an off season!  Almost no talk at all of the The Fav-ruh. Scarcely a “Will he?” or “Won’t he?” be back with the Vikings.  It’s been a blessing.  But now training camp nears and that means a decision will arrive in about a month, somewhere towards the end of camp and the beginning of the preseason schedule.

My prediction?  The Fav-ruh will return, but I will once again be skeptical.  While 2009 was the best statistical season of his career (it wasn’t even close) his age remains the primary concern.  When the end nears, an NFL player’s performance tends to drop dramatically.  Think of an anvil and a cliff.

08/03/2010 Update

The Fav-ruh has announced his intention to remain retired, it seems that sore ankle just won’t heal correctly.

Yeah, right. Can you say “Mo money?” Brett Favre can.