Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pre-game commentary 

Don't get me wrong: I'm still psyched about the Steeler game today. But I've been a little subdued this week.

I suppose it's partly because of the 9 seasons out of the last 13 that have ended with usually-painful losses in the playoffs, and dashed hopes. But mostly it's because the task ahead this year is just so daunting, it's silly to get my expectations up this early. That said, my anticipation is building as the game draws nearer.

I was going to make my prediction about a final score, but I really have no clue. I will say that I think it's a little insane that the Steelers were 3-point favorites over the Bengals at home... lost that game...and then are favored to beat them on the road! Sports Guy mentioned this in his column this week, along with his feelings that the whole "Bengals are struggling" thing is largely overblown and that the Steelers really haven't done much:
The oldest rule in the book. If you're going against a good team at home, you better have a really good reason. I'm not crazy about this Bengals team, but what have the Steelers done, really? They lost to the Pats at home, lost to Jacksonville at home, got killed by Indy on the road, lost to Cincy five weeks ago... what am I missing here? Just because they beat the Browns by 41 points, I'm supposed to take them as a road favorite against an 11-5 team? No thanks.
I think the Steelers can definitely win, but the offensive line has got to show up, and the defense has to make big plays and create a couple of turnovers. The old adage that your weaknesses are exposed in the playoffs is a valid one. And one weakness has been the inconsistency of the running game and the offensive line.

As far as the other expert picks: 6 of 7 ESPN pickers chose the Steelers, while the CNN/SI crowd was split 3-3.

Let's get that Steeler Nation positive energy rolling!

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