The Pittsburgh Steelers annihilated the Cleveland Browns Sunday with the score of 41-9. The debacle disguised as an NFL game, played at “the mistake by the lake” insured the Steelers Nation that their squad would have a week “bye” to lick their wounds and to get healthy and prepare for their next opponent. It also gave the boys’ from Cleveland a few hours “bye” in order to fire their head coach, Eric Mangini barely before the players cleaned out their lockers for the season.
The Steelers are now the No. 2 seed in the AFC, after winning the AFC North crown. The New England Patriots are the No. 1 seed and have been for what seems to be almost the entire NFL 2010 season. As far as the Patriots go; they appear to be very, very, frightening. No team, absolutely no team should have a desire to travel to Foxboro to face the Patriots under any weather conditions rain, snow, sleet or shine.
That being said let me make myself perfectly clear. The Steelers may not be as frightening as the “Pats” but the Black and Gold have become a very dangerous football squad and with a little bit of rest and recuperation can only become a more daunting task for any opponent a week from this coming Saturday, whoever that opponent happens to be.
Please indulge the “Aubster” and kick it with me for a few moments.
The wild card round begins on Saturday for the NFC and AFC. Being that the Steelers perform in the AFC and for the sake of saving me a bit of time, energy and money, let’s focus on the AFC. On Saturday night at Indy, the Jets get ready to face-off against the Colts. Is it me or are there a few folks down in Pittsburgh’s’ south side ‘n’ at, bringing out their newly re-mastered digital copies of the ‘Ole Blues Eyes’ classic; ‘New York, New York’? Why are they wearing out their CD player with that legendary Frank Sinatra tune? Well it is certainly not because they want to relocate to Gotham City. Could it be that they would rather see their beloved Steelers face a quarterback (Mark Sanchez) with a grand total of 3 playoff games under his belt, as opposed to lining up against a team and a quarterback, (Peyton Manning) that has made the playoffs almost since the Y2K debacle didn’t happen shortly after the new millennium began. How bout dem Jets, Steelers Nation?
Sorry Steeler-ites, I think that the Colts are going to use a few triple wide receiver sets on the right side and disguise the tight end in the slot and put one receiver on the left side to keep the “other” Jets corner honest and busy for a few moments like; all night. Hey, Darelle Revis cannot cover two receivers at the same time, can he? Plus the Indy running attack seems to be getting some juice, just at the right time. (Advantage Colts -7)
On Sunday, the flesh eating B-more Ravens mosey on out to the plains of the Midwest with their 5th ranked rushing defense to face the vegan-like Kansas City Chiefs who happen to be the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL. Throw in a little home field advantage and it looks like a possible squeaker, ya think? Not really but stop the presses anyhow, folks. The Chiefs are No. 30 in passing offense. The Ravens have the No. 21 pass defense. Baltimore is nine rungs higher on the passing defense ladder than KC when KC passes and Baltimore defends the pass, (hello Ed Reed) as opposed to the Ravens being only four steps lower than KC when the Chiefs are running the ball and the Ravens are defending the run. Naw, naw, watch Ngata, hey, hey Chiefs, goodbye. (Advantage Baltimore -6)
Leave no doubt about it. If the Steelers face either the Ravens or Jets in the divisional round, the Steelers have the capability to defeat either in a close game. However, no matter what folks may think, say or feel about the year Peyton Manning had in 2010 no one wants to face ‘Air Peyton’. This is a new year, with a new set of downs and a new ballgame. Monsieur Manning always seems to ratchet up his game to A+ during the postseason.
Don’t get silly, “Willy.” The Steelers lost to the Patriots 39-26 in a game that was far more lopsided than the score indicates. The Saints laid a 20-10 spanking on them down in the ‘Big Easy’ that beat down was ‘u-gly!’ The Black and Gold defeated the Falcons 15-9, barely escaping from Atlanta. They lost to the Jets at Heinz Field in a game that would have allowed them to claim the AFC North with a victory against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz and eliminating of all of the drama leading into their season ending contest against the Browns. Of the five teams that Pittsburgh faced that made the NFL postseason, Pittsburgh lost to three of those teams and beat the other two teams by a total of nine points. The Steelers No. 14 ranked offense has a week off to figure out how to catch up with their No. 2 ranked defense. If that happens, the $900 R/T airfare to Dallas (excluding hotel fees) will be well worth it. I am going to take my bye, until next week, peace.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)