Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sunday update

The Steelers moved into first place in the most important defensive statistic Sunday when Tennessee got blitzed by the Jets and now lead the league in scoring defense.

They lost their lead to Philadelphia in sacks and now trail the Eagles by two in that category, but lead the league in pass, rush and total defense in addition to scoring.

© Baltimore isn't going away and the Steelers are going to have to keep the pedal to the metal the rest of the way.

I still think they need to go at least 2-2 in their next four games - and 3-2 - overall to win the division. That would force Baltimore to go 4-1 in games at Cincinnati and Dallas, and at home against the Redskins, Steelers and Jaguars.

If that happens and the Ravens beat the Steelers in Baltimore, the two teams would be tied atop the division having split their two meetings and both owning 5-1 records in the AFC North.

The third tiebreaker is record against common opponents.

If that's the case, everything could hinge on what the Steelers do against Tennessee and/or Dallas.

The Ravens lost to the Titans, while a victory by the Steelers would cancel out Sunday's win by Baltimore over Philadelphia, a team the Steelers lost to.

If the Steelers beat the Cowboys at home and the Ravens lose in Dalllas, that would also cancel out the Philadelphia loss.

The fourth tiebreaker is conference record and if the two teams finish tied and if the Ravens go 2-2 against the NFC East, while the Steelers go 1-3 – losing to Dallas – Pittsburgh would win the division based on a better record within the AFC, 10-3 compared to Baltimore's 9-4.

The fifth tiebreaker is strength of victory and it's likely the Steelers would have the Ravens there if they go 2-2 in the next four weeks.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Baltimore will lose at least 2 of their games

Titans game is less scary after that loss to the jets

Hey dale, any update on keisel?

Dale Lolley said...

Likely out four weeks with a sprain.

Anonymous said...

Tennessee was the most overrated 10-0 team I have ever witnessed. The Jets blow out was no surprise.
Even though this is the NFL, there are teams (watching from Direct TV total package so I watch games of every team at times) that are just full of mistakes. They look good in the context of playing each other. Tennessee and Carolina are two of the most overrated schedules and teams. San Diego is better than their record, but the rest of their division is horrid.

Look at some of the surprise teams like Atlanta. What happens if you stuff the run again Atlanta for example? Redskins were another of these paper tigers.
The playoffs will weed out the weak in the conferences and if Big Ben can keep from turning it over, we will be there for the Championship game. The defense is amazing and deserves the ranking. More amazing is that they did against the toughest schedule.

Dale Lolley said...

I've been saying the Titans are overrated all season. Stop their running game and take care of the football and they're in trouble.
That 10-0 record was built on some slop. But the road to the SB in the AFC still goes through there for now and it's tough to win on the road in the playoffs.
The Steelers have to be concerned with the Jets, who have a soft schedule the rest of the way
The No. 3 seed in the AFC will get the No. 6 seed in the opening round, which could be Steelers-Ravens part three or Steelers-New England part II.
If I were the Steelers, I'd take my chances with Matt Cassell at Heinz Field.
Indianapolis is the team that is lurking. The Colts will beat the AFC West champ and I look for them to beat the Titans in round 2.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself. There's a whole lot of football left to be played.

Patrick said...

I'm not sold on the Jets, but its more a gut feeling. They are playing great D and have playmakers, but for some reason I think the Steelers would dominate them. With all due respect to Favre, he's not the brightest and the Steelers D should cause him a lot of problems.

Steelers need to finish 3-2 down the stretch and I think NE will be the hardest game. Obviously Baltimore is not easy, but I'm worried about this week. As Dale noted, the Steelers blitz is susceptible to a spread em out and throw short offense. Thats no secret to Bill Belichek who has been doing it to the Steelers since 2001. NE will put up points and the burden will be on Ben and the O to match it and take care of the ball.

Should be a great game, I'm already pumped for it and I absolutely despised the Steelers efforts against them last year. You would think they have a chip on their shoulders coming into this one.

Stigmata said...

They resigned Berger.

http://postgazette.com/pg/08329/930397-66.stm

kelly said...

So, are Berger's hammy's fully healed??

I guess they didn't think too much of that kid they brought in a few weeks ago... What was his name? Schmitt?

Anonymous said...

Better out 4 weeks than the whole season

datruth4life said...

Dale,

Any chance that Gary Russell becomes more involved in the offense going fwd? I mean him possibly getting 10 carries a game to go along with his returning, short-yardage and goal line stuff.

He is a grinder and these upcoming games along with the change in weather is meant for mudders and grinders. We have a QB who is a good mudder, so you need a RB who is a good mudder as well.

People keep listing Russell as 215, but that was his weight the summer he signed with the Steelers as a rookie free agent. He is now at 225 lbs. (Jim Wexell said Russell told him at the beginning of the season that he had bulked up to 225 lbs) & could be pushing the scales at 230 lbs from the way he looks.

With that weight and at 5'10, he reminds me of a slightly slower Barry Foster. Going fwd, a backfield of FWP, M. Moore, G. Russell and R. Mendenhall looks pretty good. McHugh is a keeper over Carey Davis as a blocking FB and receiving option.

Thoughts?

Stigmata said...

I agree...and I like our backfield. Russell could probably use some more work, he seems to push the pile better than anyone we have.

Has anyone heard how Mendenhall is healing up?

Dale Lolley said...

Mendenhall is healing fine. He's been around the complex working out and such.
Russell will be the short-yardage guy until he proves he can't do it. I don't know that he's slower than Barry Foster. He just doesn't have Foster's forward lean. Barry was always falling forward. That's what made him special.
But I see the comparison.
Berger's hamstrings must be healed or they wouldn't have brought him back.
The difference between him and the kid was probably his experience as a holder.
That's the thing that's always overlooked. That's why Gardocki kept making the team even though he wasn't as good a punter as some of the others they brought in.

kelly said...

I've said since last year I'd love to see Russell get some more playing time. He's a hard runner and has looked good when given the chance. I think he'd be a real asset in the rough weather. He played college ball at Minnesota, so this weather should suit him.

JD said...

college ball in Minnesota is dome ball, but I see your point. I would also like to see him get going a little more.

Patrick said...

this is speculating, but I don't know how Russell is in pass protection or hand out of the backfield. If he's no good then he's going to have to stick to short yardage or otherwise teams would know when we plan on running or passing.

If he is good at both of those, then I'm all for him getting a lot more reps.

This is a moot point if Parker can't go this week. Russell will be involved by default, we have no one else to spell Moore.

The Mendenhall injury becomes more significant as the season wears on. Tough luck with the injuries this year.