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Friday, January 21, 2011

Who I like, AFC Championship version

The Steelers are 7-1 in their past eight games, constituting half of an NFL season.

That one loss came at the hands of their opponent in today’s AFC Championship game, the New York Jets, who defeated the Steelers 22-17 Dec. 19 at Heinz Field.

So why are the Steelers favored by 31⁄2 points to defeat the Jets today and advance to the Super Bowl?

Quite frankly, they are a better football team.

As Steelers fans know all too well, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should start buying plane tickets to Dallas for the Super Bowl. The Steelers were bigger favorites in 1994 and 2001, only to lose to San Diego and New England, respectively.
Upsets happen. They just haven’t happened as often of late.

The favorite has won seven of the past eight AFC Championship games, with the only upset coming when the Steelers upset the Broncos, who were 3-point favorites, in Denver to advance to Super Bowl XL.

Yes, the Jets beat the Steelers earlier this season. But strong safety Troy Polamalu and tight end Heath Miller did not play for Pittsburgh in that game.

Having those two players in the lineup will help make a difference for the Steelers today.

Take Pittsburgh to win, 24-17


Robbie said...

Right, the Steelers are better. All the media types picking the Jets are playing the "team of destiny" angle, which is just hocus-pocus.

My keys to victory:

1. Don't turn the ball over.

2. Stop the run.

3. Pressure Sanchez.

4. No special teams disasters.

In the week 15 match-up, the Steelers accomplished number 1, didn't do a good enough job at numbers 2 and 3, and failed horrifically at number 4.

I know this sounds paranoid, but my biggest concern is the lengths to which Goodell might go to screw over the Steelers. The longer the Steelers let the Jets hang around, the more of a chance Hochuli will have to affect the outcome.

Dale Lolley said...

Goodell isn't trying to screw the Steelers, Robbie. That's ridiculous.

Greg Mercer said...

did Will Allen play any key role on the various kick and coverage units?

never want to lose a vet, but Worlids be able to fill his shoes?

joe said...

dan rooney " not in favor of an 18 game season, i would rather not have the money "
thank you sir.
godell may not be out to screw the steelers, but his actions have led the refs to throw more wrong penalties against our defense, that some worry about more of that is warranted to most of us. just like everyone can see they don't call shots to the head on br.

Anonymous said...

With as much as the Jets like to run and with Keller in the offense, does it make more sense to go heavy nickel with Mundy as the extra DB? Especially if McFadden can't go?

Love Madison on STs, but really don't want to see him on D. And it looks like Tomlin has all but given up on Lewis. What's Butler's story? I know he's a rook and all, but can he really be that bad/lost as to be a worse option than either Madison or Lewis? Is he getting any reps outside the scout team?

Vaflyer said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I am excited...yet nervous. It is a weird emotion right now for me. I want them so badly to win, but I don't want to get crushed if they lose. I keep having to tell myself, those other upsets were under Cowher. This is a different era...a different coach...a different QB. We need Troy and Ben to show up in a big way, but there is a part of me that thinks this may come down to LB play. Woodley and Harrison. If they can make havoc for Sanchez, the CBs will be better and Troy will have an opportunity to make some plays.

IMO, we have the better QB and the better defense, that alone should equal victory but we shall see.

Anonymous said...

I aint no OC but a slow developing draw play in our in zone should be taken out of the playbook and definitely not manifest itself tmrw.

Garry said...

J-E-T-S jets jets jets!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey seems the Jets trash talk has been gaining some steam...has this reached the players yet and if so do you think this will benefit since we all know how this teams responds when it feels disrespected?

Steve-O said...

Something that's gone unnoticed for a while now is that the Steelers Offensive Coordinator, Bruce Arians, hasn't been the subject of much ridicule lately. Sure there's a play here and there that we complain about but Arians has done a solid job of calling plays. Coincidently the offensive line has played pretty solid, even with multiple replacements. I've always felt Arians has been unfairly blamed for the shortcomings of the offense when we all know it starts with protection. If Arians can call a good game in the AFC Championship/Superbowl the debate will be over.

adamg said...

Arians doesn't coach the OL, Sean Kugler does and he's gotten his fair share of kudos for his good work with an OL that has been mostly patchwork all season.

Let me put the game in this perspective: I don't think the Jets will win two games in the same season at Heinz Field.

Anonymous said...

I have never had a problem with arians, other than the eagles and browns games (everyone knows which).

I do have a problem with his calling reverses. We just suck at it! take them off the playbook or practice them till they are perfect at it

Yet in all the randle el pass plays we have no problem executing them, lol

Dale Lolley said...

The Jets saved the trash talk for late in the week. Players haven't been available since Thursday, so I don't know what they think of it.
I'm sure they don't care, though.

Vaflyer said...

I agree for the most part that the players don't care, at least our players don't care, about the trash talk for the most part.

That being of "dealing with Ward" and "we have a plan to take care of him" etc. aren't things that players typically overlook. I said it another place...yeah, you may have a plan, but I wouldn't want to execute that plan and have Harrison know it was what I'm saying.

Dale Lolley said...

How's the "we're out to get Hines" talk worked for the Ravens? That seems to come up every year.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl. Makes NO difference who plays or how doesn't play.
Ryan can go back to sucking toes!!

Two weeks it will be the Packers ans Steelers in Dalles. Final score to that one will be 24-17.
I'm not saying who will have the 27 or who will have the 17.

Anonymous said...

Dale, I think your last comment has a typo. Did you mean that the Steelers would score 24 points in the first half, 17 in the second half? What a game so far!