Monday, January 31, 2011

Troy Polamalu - 2010 AP Defensive Player of the Year

In what was another season where Troy was hampered by injuries it didn't matter in the end. On Monday night on the NFL Network the All-World Steelers safety was named the 2010 AP Defensive player of the year, garnering 17 of the possible 50 votes. Polamalu was the first Steeler to win the award since 2008 when James Harrison took home the honor. Consequently that was the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl.



Clay Matthews received 15 votes and James Harrison received eight votes to round out the top three vote getter's. Not too bad when you have two of your defensive players in the top three of the DPOY voting.

Polamalu finished the season with 63 tackles, one sack, five tackle for loss, seven interceptions and a touchdown scored. The seven interceptions was good for second in the NFL.

More than the stats can tell Troy was just an unreal monster this year. You could say that Troy won at least three games for this football team during the year and probably made the play of the year when he strip sacked Joe Flacco to set up the Steelers game winning touchdown in a week 13.



Not bad.

I don't think that people can say that Troy does not deserve this award because he is the best defensive player in the game. A well deserved honor for a truly remarkable player.

Here are some more highlights of Troy this season.









Congrats Troy. Lets get seven.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Steelers Super Bowl Links And Notes

It has been a little slow on the blog this week. Well with actually having a real job and being busy there hasn't been too much time for me to do much of anything. That changes today. We are a little over a week away from the big game and I am not sure if you feel it or not but everyone is starting to get that itch.

You kinda feel like the game should be tomorrow, but it's not. Another week of listening to the same hack writers talk about Ben as if he was the only one who got accused (yes, accused, not arrested or convicted) of sexual assult. I mean, I guess it all works out since Ben is the only professional football player. Oh wait, what is this. Um, no, that never happened, right?

Whatever. Here is some good stuff you may, or may not, have missed during the week.

-James Walker had a bunch of good stuff. This is featuring LaMarr Woodley. [AFC North Blog]

-The Steelers had some sort of rally at Heinz Field. Not sure what it was for. [Trib]

-Maurkice Pouncey also has a break in his ankle. Scouts Inc. takes a look. [AFC North Blog]

-The guys over at Steelers Lounge points out how big of a moron Marshall Faulk has been when evaluating the Steelers over the past couple of weeks. [Steelers Lounge]

-Although most were giving Doug Legursky good grades for his play JJ went and broke down the game for the offensive line would disagree. [Steelers Lounge]

-Bam takes a look at if the Green Bay offense can be stopped. [Blitzburgh Blog]

-Cotter looks at the Power of Seven. [OFTOT]

-Free Steelers tatoo's? [PSAMP]

-Remember what happened the last time the Packers and Steelers played? I do.


More to come later in the week. Here We Go.

PirateFest Notes and Pirates Links

I know we are in the dead of Super Bowl time here in Pittsburgh, but as you know here at TRBB we focus on a vast number of Pittsburgh sports. Pirate Fest opened up the other day back in Pittsburgh and there was a ton of good stuff that was going on there, plus some other interesting stuff that has been going on with the Pirates.

I found it very exciting and promising that the Pirates actually asked some bloggers to sit down with some players and organizational members. This is the way sports is going right now and it is exciting that some of the blogs that I follow (and you should too) and respect got a chance to have some Q&A time with some members of the organization.

This will be kind of a link dump, but there is a ton of good stuff here.

-Tim from Pirates Prospects points out that Latin free agent pick up Luis Herdia is going to be starting in the Golf Coast League this summer. Interesting move for the 16 year old.

-Speaking of Tim, if you are a Pirates fan and want to be in the know about the minor league system you have to go purchase his Prospect Guide he released a few weeks ago. I got mine last week and it is hard to keep your hands off of.

-Matt over at Pittsburgh Lumber Co. is also going to be coming out with a PDF book. This is not out yet, but for the price it should be a must buy. [PLC]

-Pat breaks down the Pirates signing of Joe Beimel the other day [WHYGAVS]

-Pat also put together a nice peace detailing how teams with really bad records deal with success [WHYGAVS]

-Charlie from Bus Dugout put together a nice post about the talks he has with Paul Maholm, Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly. [Bucs Dugout]

-The boys at Pirates Prospects had some wrap up also as Kevin was there to talk to the trio. [Pirates Prospects]

Make sure everyone is checking Tom from Rum Bunter and Kristy from Pirates Booty as they were both also there and got the opportunity to talk to Maholm, Huntington and Coonelly.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Simply Super. Steelers 24, Jets 19



Dominate and then hold your breath. That is what last night felt like. After watching the Packers and Bears struggle it out in the first game some of you might have been thinking what I was thinking: “Well since this one is close the Steelers might be set up for a not so stressful game.” Not so much. It was setting up to be like that in the first half and then things were getting to heart attack mode in the second half before the defense, and Ben Roethlisberger, stepped up when they need to most.

The Steelers are going to the Super Bowl, again. This will be the Steelers third trip to the big game in the last seven years. As Steelers fans we are truly spoiled with a great franchise that gives us the opportunity to see a Super Bowl almost every two or three years. With that being said that does not take away from the feeling that I got when the clock hit zero. Despite the success that the Steelers had during my lifetime I want it just as bad as I wanted that fifth and sixth Super Bowl Championships.

Bask in the glory Pittsburgh. You deserve it.



Oh yea.



Tomlin’s speech there might have cured cancer.

Post Game Thoughts:

-The first half was about as dominant half of football as you get. Outside of Markice Pouncey getting hurt I really can’t think of anything that went bad. Rashard Mendenhall was in beast mode and the defense was as stout as you expected against a team that was trying to run the football. For some reason Rex Ryan won the toss and deferred. Turned out to be fatal. Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall took the offense 66 yards on 15 plays and ate up over nine minutes and Mendenhall cashed in with a one yard run. It was all down hill from there for the Jets as they were just terrible. If you don’t believe me take a look at these first half stats:



Unreal. The Steelers gave up a late field goal, but going into the half up 24-3 is never a bad thing in the AFC Championship game. Ever.

-Rashard Mendenhall must have read what Peter King said. For those of you that are unfamiliar Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning QB last week that Rashard Mendenhall was not a “big game back”. I guess Mendenhall read what Peter had to say and decided to go full on beast mode on the Jets and literally beat them by himself. This could sum up Mendenhall in the first half:



What a game.

Mendenhall toted the rock 27 times for 121 yards and a touchdown and also caught two passes for 32 yards. Not too bad for a guy that isn’t good in big games. Mendenhall also ripped off this run for 35 yards:



What a game.

-If you solely looked at Ben Roethilisberger’s stat line then you would have no idea how the Steelers won the football game. 10/19, 133 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT. Good thing that stats don’t mean everything. The picks that Ben threw weren’t terrible, one a bad bounce off Rashard Mendenhall hand and right into the hands of a Jets defender. The other pick was a deep ball that wasn’t very well thrown, but it was essentially a punt. What Ben did do was score on a beautiful bootleg play to make the score 17-0 and cash in one a couple of even bigger pass plays to Heath Miller and Antonio Brown to end the game. If stat lines won and lost football games then the Steelers might not have won, but the intangables that Ben brings to the table makes this football team so much better. On the first drive he used his legs on a third and 12 to move the chains and he got outside of the pocket on the third down at the two minute warning to clinch the game. People are going to rag on him for his statline, but Ben excelled at all the little things it takes to win football games. He is now 10-2 all-time in the playoffs. I’ll take that every day of the week.

-Much like Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller had a pretty quite night in fantasy football. Only three catches for 38 yards, but he was much more than that. The first time around Heath wasn’t in the fold the first time against the Jets and it hurt. Not only Miller is a great pass catcher but he is an excellent blocker as well. While most tight ends in the league are either very good receivers or very good blockers Miller is a perfect mix of both and that was on full display against the Jets. On one Rashard Mendenhall run Miller was able to drive his block eight yards down the field for a pancake. He was doing it all night folks. On the receiving end Ben found Heath for the first third down conversion. It wasn’t the best throw by Ben but Heath was able to grab it off is back hip and move the chains. He makes all the difference in a football game.

-If there was one thing that the Steelers didn’t need was another offensive lineman hurt. Maurkice Pouncey went down with a high ankle sprain on the first series and you had to be worried that things were going to start to go down hill really quick. In stepped Doug Legursky and he did a pretty nice job filling in. DL is not nearly as athletic as Pouncey, but he is a much better center than a guard. Sure there were two fumbled snapped, one cost the Steelers two points, but I can’t imagine him getting any work with Ben during the week. Very admirable job filling in though and when you are down as many offensive lineman as the Steelers are and you can get production like that out of a backup guard/center you will take it. In the game Kemo was the only starter left form the beginning of the season in there. That brings me to my next point:

-The big uglies did a great job, especially in the first half, of making holes and absolutely dominating the Jets front seven. The Steelers pounded the rock on Sunday 43 times for 166 yards which equals almost four yards per carry. You are going to win a lot of football games, especially in the playoffs. Sure, Mendenhall was breaking a lot of tackles and mustering a lot of his yards after contact but the line was getting some holes so big that Jerome Bettis could run through them. Ben was kept relatively clean as he was only sacked twice and both were on the same drive. It happens.

-Despite the Jets getting back into the ballgame I think the defense played pretty well last night. The Jets scored 19 points. Two of them via a safety and another seven because Ike Taylor fell in the middle of a route for the Holmes touchdown. Now, I am not saying that the Jets were not going to score on that drive, but kind of a freaky play when your DB slips and falls in the middle of a route leaving a receiver wide open. Sure they played soft to give up a field goal at the end of the half, but what do you want them to do? Lets not forget this is the same defense that forced a defensive touchdown that turned out to be the game winner. Also the Steelers run defense was just stout as you can be. The goal line stand was big and although they gave up the touchdown to pull the game within five the defense didn’t give up the big play and forced the Jets to use a ton of clock. Vintage Steelers defense. Last year this was an easy loss in this situation.

-Gotta give my props to the Jets. After giving up a strip sack touchdown it would have very easy to just pack it in and lose 34-10, but they didn’t. That is the reason they were in the AFC Championship game and they fought back to make this game somewhat interesting. The problem for the Jets was that this was actually a good defense. I am still not a Mark Sanchez fan but outside of the fumble he really didn’t do anything to kill them and converted a few passes, it just wasn’t enough. Good heart, but with no running game they really didn’t have much to work with.

-Mike Tomlin. Coach of the Year. I don’t care what you say. Starting the season without Ben Roethlisberger, losing almost every single starting offensive lineman, losing your punter and kicker midseason, not having Troy for a chunk of time and after some picked this team to get only seven or eight wins all he does is win another AFC Championship and win 12 regular season games. He is a cool cat and has the pulse of this team. I would be shocked if he doesn’t receive this award.

-Some post game interviews:



-The Steelers will match up against the Packers in the Super Bowl. Since I live about 90 minutes outside of Green Bay and right in the thick of Wisconsin this should be an interesting couple of weeks. Not going to talk about the Packers now, I will have plenty of time to do that. Soak this in.



Leave it in the comments with anything I missed.

Penguins Game Day 50 - vs. New York Islanders

 New York Islanders

7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Pens need a big win here before the All-Star break.

No Bing or Geno. They will also not participate in the All-Star game.

All-Star games are widly overrated. Turn them all into skills competition and I will watch.

That's all I got.

The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Chris Kunitz - Mark Letestu - Pascal Dupuis
Mike Rupp - Maxime Talbot - Chris Conner
Craig Adams - Dustin Jeffrey - Arron Asham

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy

Goaltener
Marc-Andre Fleury


For the Islanders

Forwards
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Rob Schremp - Josh Bailey
Matt Martin - Zenon Konopka - Jeremy Colliton

Defense
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Radek Martinek - Jack Hillen
Dylan Reese - Bruno Gervais

Goaltender
Rick DiPietro


The Stats:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2010-11 PITTSBURGH STEELERS SUPER BOWL BOUND

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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the Super Bowl!

Way more to come all week.

Soak this in Steelers Nation. You've earned it.





Stole this from OFTOT. Don't even care.







Saturday, January 22, 2011

Penguins Game Day 49 - vs. Carolina Hurricanes

 Carolina Hurricanes
7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

After a dreadfully boring game in front of like six people at The Rock. The trap got the best of the Penguins again. I guess when you don't turn it on until the third period there is going to be some problems.

Nothing that is going to get your mind off the AFC Championship like a Penguins/Hurricans game.

Over/Under is 50 for "the Staals are brothers" references. I would say this is going to be a drinking game but I don't want all five of my readers at the hospital halfway through the second period.

Bing and Geno will be out for a second game tonight so someone else is going to have to step up.

Hopefully the Penguins can pick up a few points tonight at home.

Previous matchups:
October 30 - Pittsburgh 3, Carolina 0


November 19 - Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 4 (SO)





The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Chris Kunitz - Mark Letestu - Pascal Dupuis
Mike Rupp - Maxime Talbot - Chris Conner
Craig Adams - Dustin Jeffrey - Arron Asham

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy

Goaltender
Marc-Andre Fleury


For the Hurricanes:

Forward
Sergei Samsonov - Eric Staal - Erik Cole
Jeff Skinner - Tuomo Ruutu - Chad LaRose
Jussi Jokinen - Brent Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Jiri Tlusty - Ryan Carter - Troy Bodie

Defense
Tim Gleason - Joe Corvo
Joni Pitkanen - Andrew McBain
Jay Harrison - Ian White

Goaltender
Cam Ward


The Stats:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Steelers Game Day: AFC Championship vs. New York Jets

Another AFC Championshop game at Heinz Field. Ho hum. The Steelers are looking for their third trip to the Super Bowl in the last six year. Absolutely amazing. Some are going to look at the Steelers success in their previous Super Bowls and say something to the affect of “Well they didn’t have to play New England in any of those runs.” Who cares. When they start taking away Super Bowl trophies and playoffs wins away because they didn’t play the right number of teams I will worry about it. This game is about who is the best in the AFC. Throughout the season the Steelers and Jets were widely regarded as two of the best teams in the AFC, so how fitting is it that they will meet in the AFC Championship game.

Yes, I know the Jets came in here and played a game earlier this year. I was there. I was at the open end zone when the ball went through Matt Spaeth’s hands as time expired and Santonio Holmes ran to midfield and did a bow in each direction of the fans. I listened to the Jets fans behind me do their stupid Jets chant. I stayed and watched every Steelers player walk off the field. I wanted the Jets again. Too many bad things happened. An opening kickoff for a touchdown. Giving up 100 yards rushing to the Jets. Giving up a late game safety in the shadow of their own end zone. One of those things might happen during the course of a game, not all three at the same time. Not for this team. Not this time.

The Steelers were wildly conservative with All-World safety Troy Polamalu out of the lineup, resting an injury and only sacked Mark Sanchez one time. This from a team that led the entire NFL in sacks with 48 during the regular season. Heath Miller was out of the lineup. Matt Spaeth dropped a couple of HUGE passes, and while he blocked pretty well, just doesn’t give you that vertical threat that Miller does.

A week is a long time to wait. After the game on Sunday between the Jets and Patriots there was going to be a one week wait until the AFC Championship game on Sunday. That time has taken forever, but the time is near. Hey, think of the wait like this, we could be the Baltimore Ravens. Have fun golfing, jokes.

It is no lie that to get to the Super Bowl going through New England wasn’t ideal. The Jets took care of that by harassing and getting all over Tom Brady in an upset win. That meant that Heinz Field will host another AFC Championship game. There is no place like home.

The Jets are coming into Pittsburgh for the second time this season after a week 15 win. The last time there was this kind of scenario where it didn’t deal with a division opponent coming into Heinz Field for a second time in the playoffs was in 2007 when the Jacksonville Jaguars won twice in Heinz Field. That was the first and only time that it has happened in the history of the Steelers.

History has nothing to do with it. It comes down to who isn’t going to turn the football over. That is all it’s about. Who wants it more. The Steelers come in playing some good football and the Jets come in after beating the Colts and the Patriots. Can’t get much better than that.




Here is the stats for the game:

Pittsburgh 31, Baltimore 24
Passing: Roethlisberger: 19/32, 226 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 20 car, 46 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Brown: 3 rec, 75 yards, 0 TD


New York 28, New England 21
Passing: Sanchez: 16/25, 194 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Greene: 17 car, 76 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Cotchery: 5 rec, 96 yards, 0 TD


Offense (rank in NFL)

Total Offense
Pittsburgh: 345.3 yards/game (14th)
New York: 351.0 yards/game (11th)

Passing
Pittsburgh: 225.1 yards/game (14th)
New York: 202.6 yards/game (22nd)

Rushing
Pittsburgh: 120.3 yards/game (11th)
New York: 148.4 yards/game (4th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 23.4 points/game (12th)
New York: 22.9 points/game (13th)


Defense

Total Defense
Pittsburgh: 276.8 yards/game (2nd)
New York: 291.5 yards/game (3rd)

Rush
Pittsburgh: 62.8 yards/game (1st)
New York: 90.9 yards/game (3rd)

Pass
Pittsburgh: 214.1 yards/game (12th)
New York: 200.6 yards/game (6th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 14.5 points/game (1st)
New York: 19.0 points/game (6th)
Lets take a look at the New York Jets.


Hit the jump  for the rest of the preview.

NFL Films Presents: Steelers Nation

Most of you have probably seen this from time to time, but why not bring this back out and watch it again. NFL Films put this together some time ago about the roots and history of Steelers Nation.

Enjoy







Thursday, January 20, 2011

Penguins Game Day 48 - @ New Jersey Devils

 New Jersey Devils

7:00 p.m., Prudential Center, Newark, NJ



Going into 'The Rock' tonight the Penguins will be without two of their top guns tonight as Bing is still on the shelf as well as Geno taking some time off for a bum knee.

Luckily the Penguins are going into Newark where the Devils have been just downright awful this season. After last season where the Devils won the Atlantic Division they are now dead last in the league in wins, points and goal differential.

Last off season there was the Ilya Kovalchuk saga and after the Devils finally signed him they thought they might have one last run with Marty in net. Well Kovaljoke only has 26 points (13+13) and Marty is floating with an .890 save percentage.

Zach Parise might be my favorite non-Penguin.

With both of the Penguins top guns on the mend it would be huge for the Penguins to pick up as many points as possible. Any team can truely win on any given night so hopefully the Penguins can start fast and just the big win and keep pace with Philadelphia.

Previous matchups:
October 11 - Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 1


December 6 - Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 1




The Penguins probables:

Forward
Chris Kunitz - Dustin Jeffrey - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal -Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Maxime Talbot - Chris Conner
Craig Adams - Mark Letestu - Arron Asham

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Brent Johnson


For the Devils:

Forwards
Ilya Kovalchuk - Travis Zajac - Nick Palmieri
Brian Rolston - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Vladimir Zharkov - Jason Arnott - Mattias Tedenby
Rod Pelley - Tim Sestito - David Clarkson.

Defense
Colin White - Andy Greene
Anton Volchenkov - Mark Fraser
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne

Goaltender
Martin Brodeur


The Stats:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TRBB Podcast 2 - AFC Championship Preview with @OFTOT and @PSAMP

With the AFC Championship game only days away I present the second edition of the TRBB podcast. This week I was joined by Cotter from One for the Other Thumb and Nick from Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies.

Over the course of the podcast we discussed the Steelers and Jets game, what the keys to the game would be, what the impact of having Troy and Heath back will be, the ability for the Steelers to make changes from the first match up, superstitions and what it is like for Nick and Cotter to live in the New York area.

I would like to thank those two for coming on and giving their opinions and knowledge, they are two of the best in the blogging business.

You can listen to the podcast below and you can hear all the podcast's on iTunes. Just go to the podcast section and type in "Three Rivers Burgh Blog" and you will get hooked up.

Enjoy and leave your thoughts in the comments.

TRBB Podcast 2 - AFC Championship Preview

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Penguins Game Day 47 - vs. Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings

7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Nothing to say. Won't talk about the All-Star game and Crosby. What a joke.

Should be a good game.

Go Pens.

The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal -Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Max Talbot - Chris Conner
Craig Adams - Mark Letestu - Arron Asham

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Marc-Andre Fleury


For the Wings:

Forwards
Johan Franzen - Henrik Zetterberg - Patrick Eaves
Jiri Hudler - Valtteri Filppula - Todd Bertuzzi
Kris Draper - Darren Helm - Drew Miller
Tomas Tatar - Justin Abdelkader - Jan Mursak

Defense
Nicklas Lidstrom - Niklas Kronwall
Jonathan Ericsson - Brian Rafalski
Ruslan Salei - Jakub Kindl

Goaltender
Joey MacDonald


The Stats:

AFC Championship Week Video's

Well, it is now AFC Championship week. I actually took an opportunity to make yesterday Ravens week, mainly because I didn't have my post game done, but also becuase that win at Heinz Field was frickin awesome.

I have stumbled upon a bunch of good video's over the last couple of days and I figured it would be a really nice start of the week.

The first is from Monday's Daily Show. This is the intro that Jon Stewart put together that had me laughing out out because he refers to a Steelers fans favorite: the New England Patriots.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tonal Recall
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

The next one was brought to my attention from Mikey and Big Bob from over at Kiss FM. It is the new Pittsburgh Steelers song for the 2011 season. This is awesome.



Jim has another epic Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers! episode from the Baltimore game. Man, if someone is always on their game, it is Jim. What a shirt.




I am sure all saw this, but you can laugh at Bart Scott with me. Hey Bart, maybe make more than one meaningful play in your career then you can talk. Just a thought.



Then there is this dude. No idea if he ever actually watched a Steelers game before. The haters love this. I hear the comment section on this one is open. Have at it people.



Here are the highlights from the game on Saturday. In case you want to see them again. And again. And again. And again.




So many good video's. Keep checking back because as I find them I might throw a few more up.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Go Home Baltimore, And Stay There. Steelers 31, Ravens 24

Saturday night was the type of games that careers are made out of. One quarterback made the big plays and the other wilted under the pressure. One was able to move the football and the other was running out of bounce to avoid the pressure. One is undoubtedly a top three quarterback in the NFL and the other is struggling to find his place in the pecking order. One quarterback is Ben Roethlisberger and the other is Joe Flacco. The former ripped the hearts out of the Ravens defense and the latter got smacked in the mouth.

This has to feel great if you are a Steelers fan. They were left for dead after a putrid first half and came out of the locker room at halftime and looked like an entirely new team. James Harrison and the defense took it personally that they were scored on twice in the first half. They were angry, and it showed.

This game was what we expected. It was hard hitting and it came down to which defense was able to make the big play and which quarterback was going to step up and give his team the play they needed. There was a ton of smack talk and a lot of after the whistle hitting and pushing. Make no mistake about it, these teams hate each other. They loathe each other. Watching Hines Ward and Ed Reed go after each other during the game just scratched the surface of what the game was all about. In the end it was the team that talked smack all week that couldn’t back up their talk and took a beating from his big brother. The Steelers spotted the Ravens some points like a dad does to his son when they play basketball. It didn’t matter. When push came to shove the Steelers defense stepped up to the plate and made the plays. Plain and simple.

This picture pretty much sums up the game in a nutshell:



Hit the jump.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Penguins Game Day 46 - @ Boston Bruins


Boston Bruins


1:00 p.m., TD Garden, Boston, Mass. 

I got nothing to say today.

HUGE sports day for Pittsburgh.


The previous matchup
November 10: Boston 7, Pittsburgh 4


January 10: Boston 4, Pittsburgh 2



The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Chris Conner - Maxime Talbot - Mike Rupp
Arron Asham - Mark Letestu - Craig Adams

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Marc-Andre Fleury


For the Bruins

Forwards
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Mark Recchi
Michael Ryder - Marc Savard - Nathan Horton
Blake Wheeler - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Defense
Zdeno Chara - Steven Kampfer
Dennis Seidenberg - Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference - Andrew McQuaid

Goaltender
Tim Thomas


The Stats

Friday, January 14, 2011

Steelers/Ravens Podcast with Steelers AND Ravens Bloggers

Last night Phil from I Hate JJ Redick was kind enough to hold a little podcast where I was able to discuss the upcoming Steelers/Ravens match up with some others. It was a nice pannel of Steelers and Ravens peeps that also included Derek and Goob from B-More Birds Nest and Ian from The Steelers N'at.

We talked Steelers/Ravens (a lot) as well as got some predictions in about the other divisional games. Would again like to thank Phil and the other Ravens bloggers for having me on and letting me finally enlighten someon Baltimore people what the deal really was.

Also if you haven't done it yet check out my Steelers/Ravens preview.

Enjoy

Steelers Game Day: AFC Divisional Playoffs vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers, and the fans, have been waiting two weeks to play some football. That is what you get when you win your division and get the first round bye. It is a double edged sword because you want to watch your team play but you know they need the break. All that is over. It has been Ravens week all week.

You listened to Renegade and Black and Yellow all week. You tried to do whatever you could to keep your mind off this contest, but you couldn't. All you could think about was those black and purple uniforms coming onto Heinz Field to a chorus of boos from the yellow clad fans at Heinz Field.

You have look at the stats until your eyes hurt. You hear Brian Billick ramble on about how the Ravens were going to win with no resemblance of facts behind what he was saying. You saw Terrell Suggs wearing a shirt telling the Steel City to f off. Your blood was boiling. You were pissed. Guess what, so are the Steelers.  They will never say as much, but they took note. They hear what that team is yapping about.

All of that is true about every single one of us. If you had trouble sleeping at night you weren't the only one. Everyone counted this team at the beginning of the season. Seven or eight wins was the sticking point and this team would be lucky just to make the playoffs. No fear. 12 wins and a AFC North Division title later the Steelers are proving all them haters wrong. It's time.

None of that stuff means anymore. At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday the score will be settled on the field. For the third time. You can't ask for much more than that.

Onto the preview.

Pittsburgh 41, Cleveland 9
Passing: Roethlisberger: 15/22, 280 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 14 car, 36 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Wallace: 3 rec, 105 yards, 1 TD


Baltimore 30, Kansas City 7
Passing: Flacco: 25/343, 265 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Rice: 17 car, 57 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Heap: 10 rec, 108 yards, 0 TD


Offense (rank in NFL)

Total Offense
Pittsburgh: 345.3 yards/game (14th)
Baltimore: 322.9 yards/game (22nd)

Passing
Pittsburgh: 225.1 yards/game (14th)
Baltimore: 208.4 yards/game (20th)

Rushing
Pittsburgh: 120.3 yards/game (11th)
Baltimore: 114.4 yards/game (14th)

Points
Pittsburgh: 23.4 points/game (12th)
Baltimore: 22.3 points/game (16th)


Defense

Total Defense
Pittsburgh: 276.8 yards/game (2nd)
Baltimore: 318.9 yards/game (10th)

Rush
Pittsburgh: 62.8 yards/game (1st)
Baltimore: 93.9 yards/game (5th)

Pass
Pittsburgh: 214.1 yards/game (12th)
Baltimore: 224.9 yards/game (21st)

Points
Pittsburgh: 14.5 points/game (1st)
Baltimore: 16.9 points/game (3rd)

The Steelers and Ravens rivalry is possibly the best in the NFL at this time. When people talk about what the NFL was like in the past this is as close as you can get. Smash-mouth, in your face, no backing down may the best and most physical team win. That is what you get every single time. You know how close this rivalry is? Look at the head to head match ups since 2001.



Very rare that this game is going to end in anything more than a one score game. Typically these games are down to the wire and it comes down to has the ball last to see who is going to win this football game. Just look at this season at the two contest. The Ravens had the chance to win or tie the game with the last possession twice. Once they hit for a TD and the win and the other they stalled out in the final possession. In the game that the Ravens lost the Steelers converted a huge third down and goal to go from the nine yard line in order to take the three point lead.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

If you are a Steelers fan and just the thought of this game doesn’t get you ready to run through a wall then you might want to ask someone to check and make sure you are still alive.



Come get some.

Jump it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

TRBB Podcast 1: Steelers/Ravens with Merril Hoge

For some time here at TRBB we have been toying with the idea of getting a podcast together to add a different aspect to the whole experience (whatever that might be). Well today was your lucky day as we were able to sit down and record our first ever podcast and we were honored by being joined by former Pittsburgh Steeler and current ESPN Analyst Merril Hoge.

Thanks to the people at Taylor Strategy we got the unique experience to talk to Merril about the Steelers/Ravens matchup and some of the charities that he is currently a part of.

Merril was doing a few appearances on local Steelers blogs thanks to a program called Take it to the House.

Here is some information on a really great program that gets the NFL sponsorship which helped out a community in the Pittsburgh area:

"In support of its NFL sponsorship, Procter and Gamble has created the “Take it to the House” photo contest which urges consumers to submit photos that capture the essence of NFL Sunday at their house throughout the course of the NFL season.

A total of eight winners will be elected throughout the NFL season and will win: a meet and greet in their home with a former NFL player; and a $10,000 donation to a local school or charity of their choice to support their health and wellness program. This donation will not only honor P&G’s proud sponsorship of the NFL, but also their support of the NFL’s PLAY 60 program which encourages children to get at least 60 minutes of activity a day.

The grand prize winning photo will be selected from the eight winners at the end of the season via consumer vote. The winner and his/her family will be rewarded with a trip to Hawaii to attend and be honored at the 2011 Pro Bowl.

The Pittsburgh area semi-finalist in the program’s photo contest was Jack DeFillip. DeFillip submitted a picture of how he and his football family celebrate NFL game day and has won:

· a $10,000 donation to Stowe Township Parks outside of Pittsburgh in support of NFL PLAY 60, which encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes a day
· a meet-and-greet with Merril Hoge
· a year’s supply of P&G’s products
· a chance to win a trip to the 2011 Pro Bowl in Hawaii

For more information on the program and the contest, please visit www.facebook.com/takeittothehouse."

Merril is also part of a program with Prilosec OTC for their Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award. You can vote for your favorite offensive line (it better be the Steelers) here and help them take home the second annual award.

We got a nice chance to talk to Merril about the Steelers/Ravens matchup, dealing with a touch Ravens defense and how the kinda trash that Terrell Suggs talks can affect a locker room.

I hope everyone enjoys the show and leave it in the comments for stuff you would like to see.




TRBB Podcast #1 - Steelers/Ravens with Merril Hoge

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Penguins Game Day 45 - @ Montreal Canadiens

 Montreal Canadiens

7:30 p.m., Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Penguins had arguably their worst collapse of the seaosn against the Bruins on Monday night. With the score 2-0 with under four minutes to play they gave up a four spot (EN included) and lost to the Bruins.

The Penguins have no dropped three straight and five of their last six and scoring two or fewer goals in each of those losses. Sucks.

Mike Cammalleri will not play tonight. I like that.

P.K. Soupcan is one of the biggest douchebags in the entire league.

The only thing worse than Soupcan is the Montreal fanbase. What a buch of jokes.

Previous matchups:
October 9: Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2

 

January 6: Montreal 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT)




The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Chris Conner - Max Talbot - Mike Rupp
Craig Adams - Mark Letestu - Arron Asham/Dustin Jeffrey

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Derryk Engelland

Goaltender
Marc-Andre Fleury


For the Habs:

Forwards
Lars Eller - Tomas Plekanec - Andrei Kostitsyn
Max Pacioretty - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta
Benoit Pouliot - David Desharnais - Mathieu Darche
Travis Moen - Tom Pyatt - Jeff Halpern

Defense
Hal Gill - P.K. Subban
Roman Hamrlik - James Wisniewski
Jaroslav Spacek - Yannick Weber

Goaltender
Carey Price


The Stats:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Joe Flacco. The Numbers.

Something that a lot of us have heard that Joe Flacco is on the pathway of Ben Roethlisberger in terms of playoff success and quarterback development. Most of us here in the Steel City this is some sort of a joke because of the success of these two teams have had against each other.

Having a quarterback that could have an immediate impact like Ben did is not something you see everyday, but Flacco has been able to lead his team to playoff success, even if he, himself, has not attributed a lot to those wins.

With the Ravens coming into Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon this matchup is going to be huge. I typically am not a person that reads much into matchups like this because Ben and Joe are never going to be on the field at the same time so it really can't be a match up. One thing is for sure, neither team is going to run the football. Bottom line. That means that the quarterback is going to have to get you a win and if you had a choice between Big Ben and Joe Flacco who are you going to take? If you kept the defenses the same and you could have either QB, who would you want? Lets take a look.

First lets take a look at the success that each QB has had against each other while looking at how each plays in terms of final margin. Lets start with the one we call Big Ben.


Ben has done nothing but absolutely dominate the Baltimore Ravens. These stats above versus the Ravens are from the regular season. Ben has gone 7-3 and almost 2 TD passes and a single pick per game against a pretty good Ravens defense.

I think a telling stat about Ben is his record in one score games. 25-17 in one score games. In his career Ben has led 19 fourth quarter comebacks and 24 game winning drives. That is the definition of a money QB. Ben has made a living through the years on bring his team back. Whether it is a 96 yard drive against the Ravens in 2008 on the road or taking his team down the field in the Super Bowl he just gives you that feeling that you are going to have a chance to win the football game.

Ben has played just one less than 100 games and has won 69 of those games thus far. To put that in perspective Tom Brady won 76 of his first 100 starts and he is widely regarded as the games best quarterback by a long shot. Ben should be considered right on that plateau. Ben has been given the stereotype of thowing a ton of picks, but in his seven season (including this year) he has thrown more than 12 interceptions only twice and has thrown for less than 10, two times. Sure this year was only a 12 game slate for Ben in the regular season but with the way he is playing I can't see him throwing five more interceptions in four other games.

One of the more underrated stats for quarterbacks is yards per attempt, a stat that Roethlisberger is consistantly at the top of the league for. His career 8.0 YPA which trumps that of Tom Brady (7.4), Drew Brees (7.3), Peyton Manning (7.6) and yes, even God himself, Brett Favre (7.1). That my friends is impressive. Roethlisberger's YPA for his career sits him fourth in NFL history also.

Ben ranks ninth among active QB's in passing yards per game and sixth in touchdown percentage among active NFL QB's.

Now lets take a look at Joe Flacco:


If Ben has been good against the Ravens in the regular season then Joe Flacco has been average at best against the Steelers in his meetings. The Baltimore signal caller is 2-4 against the Black and Gold and has only averaged a single touchdown pass per game and is only completing 55% of his pass attempts. Although it is not technically a QB-vs.-QB game it must be noted that the two regular season wins that Joe has against the Steelers is with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch at the helm. Even if you include playoff statistics Joe Flacco has never beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers when Ben Roethlisber in a game where there team play against each other.

Overall in his NFL career Joe Flacco has a 32-16 record in 48 games. If you play this out and double it to 96 games that will result in a 64-32 record which will put him on that same plane as a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger. There is something to be said about the way Flacco came into a franchise that really had no QB sucess in the pass and quickly put some stability in the position. Joe also has four fourth quarter comebacks and eight game winning drives. Projected out that will give Joe some pretty decent numbers, but stacked up against Roethlisberger I don't think you can say that Flacco can stack up to Big Ben. Now keep in mind that Flacco has played abotu half as many games as Roethlisberger and I am basically doubling Flacco's stats to get comparable numbers so it isn't full proof, but for comparison's sake in Roethlisbergers first three seasons he compiled nine fourth quarter comebacks and 11 game winning drives.

Flacco has a pretty respectaable 7.2 YPA average over his career and finished this season with a 7.41 average, which was good for 11th in the NFL. Nothing awe inspiring, but still a ton better than Carson Palmer or even Peyton Manning this season who had sub-7 YPA. Flacco's touchdown percentage is 4.2% and has just about twice as many touchdown passes (60) as interceptions (32) which is a better rate than that of Roethlisberger (144/86) despite the much better touchdown percentage from Ben.


When talking about quarterbacks, however, only one things seems to matter when you talk about the best of the best. Playoff wins and Super Bowl wins.

Lets look at Flacco first:


While Flacco has been pretty basic in the regular season he has been medeocre in the playoffs, number wise. He gets wins though. Flacco has never played a home playoff game, but he doesn't care, and that says a lot in my book. Going into Pittsburgh and New England is never easy and he has done both and put his team in a position to win.

Only completing 53% of your passes and throwing a touchdown pass every other game isn't going to cut it no matter how you slice it. Flacco is prone to throw picks with six in his six playoff games. It also has to be noted that while the stats provided do not list sacks taken, Flacco takes a few. While he might not take the most in the league he just sometimes doesn't feel when players are coming at him. He was sacked on a backside blitz against the Chiefs where he fumbled and who can forget the epic pick he threw to Troy in the AFCC game in 2008.

Outside of the game against the Chiefs Flacco hasn't had a standout performance himself in the playoffs. Period.

Now to take a look at Ben:


Nobody can deny two Super Bowl rings on Ben's finger. The first Super Bowl was a forgetable performance against Seattle. If you think the team won because of Ben then you have no idea. Despite Ben not performing well in the Super Bowl he was the sole reason for gettin the Steelers to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl run was highlighted by a dominating performance by Roethlisberger against the Bengals,Colts and Broncos where he tossed a combined seven touchdown passes and only one pick.

Roethlisberger was clutch against Arizona in the latest Steelers Super Bowl against Atlanta with an epic game winning drive to defeat the Cardinals. No denying how clutch this kid can be and how he can throw a team on his back for a win.

In the 2008 AFCC game the two were up against each other for the only time and Roethlisberger came out on top despite an average performance. Ben's line read 16-of-33 for 256 yards and a touchdown and pick. Flacco was a pedestrian 13-for-30 for 140 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions, one of which was taken for six by Troy Polamalu to seal the game.


Final Conclusions

While it is hard to take away from what Flacco has done in his three short years. Going on the road and winning three games in your first three seasons says a lot. Roethlisberger still has years on Flacco and who knows, maybe someday we can look back and say that after the same amont of starts that Joe Flacco was a better quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger. Right now you can't do that.

You can't sell Ben short of what he has accomplished in his career and his playoff sucess can back that up. A lot of people can say that Ben stepped into a good situation to be so successful, and don't get me wrong he did, but you can't convince me that Ben was a huge part in both Super Bowl runs.

Right now I don't think you can put Joe Flacco on the same plane as Ben Roethlisberger. Just can't do it. Ben is an elite NFL quarterback and Joe Flacco isn't. Bottom line.

Now, I realize that I only hashed over the grand scheme of things, but I highlighted what I feel are the most important pieces of being a good quarterback.

I know I will get called out for being a homer on this, but when you sit down and look over the grand scheme of things you would have to want Ben Roethlisberger. Today, right now, I want Ben, not Joe. Bar none.

Let me end by saying that Joe Flacco may someday become a quarterback than Ben, but right now you can't predict that stuff. All you can say now that Ben Roethlisberger is on another level.

What do yinz think? Did I miss something? Leave it in the comments.

Penguins Game Day 44 - vs. Boston Bruins

 Boston Bruins

7:30 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Boston is quickly becoming a team that I hate. Along the lines of Montreal it is just comical that the Bruins think they are the toast of the NHL because they are one of the "Original Six". What a joke.

I guess Marc Savard is going to be playing against Matt Cooke tonight. I hope Cooke lays him out.

I continue to wonder how people complain when Savard has had numerous concussions, no kidding the more he gets the longer he will be out. Is it really that hard to grasp the concept that the more concussions you get the more likely you are to get another one.

I guess deadspin wrote an article about how it is convenient that Bing can speak out now, but not when Cooke made the hit on Savard. (I will not link the deadspin article because I will not support them getting page hits) A quick 15 second search of google should give you the links to where Crosby talks and gives quotes abotu the Savard hit. Glad the crack team over at that joke blog took the time to do ANY research. Hacks.

The Penguins have lost their last two and four of their last five. Not that great but you have these types of things with every team, lucky for the Penguins that they had that huge winning streak a little while back.

Tim Thomas is the best in the league, numbers wise, so it should be a good game. MAF should show up and he can down the Bruins.
The previous match up:
November 10: Boston 7, Pittsburgh 4




The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Mark Letestu - Chris Conner
Max Talbot - Dustin Jeffrey - Craig Adams

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Marc-Andre Fleury


Bruins probables:

Forward
Milan Lucic - Marc Savard - Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Defense
Zdeno Chara - Steven Kampfer
Dennis Seidenberg- Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Goaltender
Tim Thomas


The Stats:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bring it


Some people wanted the Colts. Some wanted the Chiefs. Everyone should have known what was going to happen before any of these games even kicked off. The Baltimore Ravens are coming to Heinz Field for a playoff football game.

The teams played to a 1-1 regular season series with both contests coming down to a field goal. I expect nothing less.

If you bleed black and gold then your blood is boiling. You won't be able to sleep. You won't be able to focus. Work productivity is going to be at an all time low. You can't wait for Saturday at 4:30. This is what playoff football is all about.

Heinz Field is going to be on fire for this game. Anyone who is anyone will be all over people wearing purple. They should be. Your six your old kid should be ready to flip the bird to those jagoffs. Anytime a Raven touches the field for pregame they should be booed so loud that they can't hear who they are talking to.

If you don't have goosebumps right now then you aren't even human.

Win or go the hell home.


It's officially Ravens week. Buckle up.

Bring it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Penguins Game Day 43 - vs. Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild


7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

After having to deal with the God awful fans at the Bell Centre it will be nice to not hear booing every single time there is an icing call or any time a player falls over his own two feet. What an embarassing fan base. As a hockey fan I truely respect what the Montreal Canadiens have done and their storied history but I can't stand to listen to the Penguins play there.

Concussion Gate is upon us. Now every media member in Canada is a doctor. Holiday Inn should have no shortage of peole to fill the "I'm not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night" commercials. Just unreal.

Word is that Geno might not suit up either. I haven't seen anything concrete so this is mere speculation.

Geno should sit out. It's January. Someone else needs to step up. If Geno does play, he needs to step up also. No question about it.


The Penguins probables:

Forwards
Tyler Kennedy - Jordan Staal - Evgeni Malkin
Chris Kunitz - Mark Letestu - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Chris Conner
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Arron Asham

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland

Goaltender
Marc-Andre Fleury


For the Wild:

Forwards
Andrew Brunette - Mikko Koivu - Chuck Kobasew
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Kyle Brodziak - Martin Havlat
Patrick O'Sullivan - Matt Cullen - Cal Clutterbuck
Eric Nystrom - John Madden - Brad Staubitz

Defense
Nick Schultz - Brent Burns
Clayton Stoner - Greg Zanon
Marco Scandella - Cam Barker

Goaltender
Jose Theodore


The Stats:

Friday, January 7, 2011

NFL Wild Card Preview























New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

The Saints are the reigning Super Bowls champions and the Seahawks are the worst team to ever make the playoffs (record wise). Only fitting that this game will be played in Seattle as I am sure the tears will be falling like the rain after the game. The Seahawks has about as much chance in this game as Lindsey Lohan does in a state store. In other words you can take this to the bank as a stone cold lock. I don’t even care what the spread is, I would give the points. The only chance I can see of Seattle making this a good game is getting up by multiple touchdowns early. Remember in 2005 when the Steelers went into Indy and put on a stun job and go up early? Well, the Seahawks will have to do that plus more against the Saints. The Seahawks can’t run the football and Matt Hasselbeck has had a pretty poor season so this Seahawks are a far, far, cry from the 2005 Steelers. If you are the Saints you have to go into this game business as usual. You can’t be lax because you don’t want a shoddy performance. You want to get out there and have this game in hand by half. Much like the Steelers did to the Browns and Panthers the Saints will (and can) do the same to Seattle. Drew Brees has thrown a lot of picks this season but I see him doing enough to get by today with his plethora of wide receivers.

Prediction: Saints 34, Seahawks 13



 




New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
Saturday 8:00 p.m.

This should be a pretty interesting game. On one hand you have Peyton Manning, who absolutely OWNS the New York Jets defense and on the other you have a Jets team that has been playing pretty well down the stretch. The Jets came into Pittsburgh in week 15 and handed the Steelers their fourth loss of the season on a cold blistery day in December. No small feat there. The Colts on the other hand haven’t beaten a good team since they beat the Chiefs in week five. Since that win they have beaten Washington, Houston, Cincinnati, Tennessee (twice), Jacksonville and Oakland. Not exactly murders row of wins there. They also lost to Philadelphia, New England, San Diego and a Jon Kitna led Dallas team. Not too impressive. Despite not playing well against anything resembling a good football team the Jets don’t exactly have a stellar defensive backfield. You might think Revis makes the back end of the defense great, but it is not. Both of the Jets starting safeties are hurt and Antonio Cromartie has been mud all season probably because he is still trying to figure out how many kids he really does have. Peyton can make they play if he can get some time and the Jets have a very poor pass rush. The Jets can win this ball game if they can keep Peyton Manning off the field. The Jets are very good at running the football and if the Jets are going to be successful on Saturday it will be if they run the football.

Prediction: Colts 23, Jets 17



 













 
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs 
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.

This is a game that might seem like a gimme for the Raven because of their previous playoff success and the lack of success from Kansas City, but I think this is going to be a very close game that might come down to the last possession. I think what gives the Chiefs a huge advantage is playing at home. While Seattle is lauded as having the “12th man” at their game I would argue that Arrowhead is the hardest place in the NFL to play. It is a college atmosphere for an NFL game and it helps the home team. I know many people talking in the NFL that home field doesn’t mean a whole lot but I think in this matchup it means a lot. The Chiefs are far and away the best running team in the NFL, rushing for 164.2 yards per game. Jamaal Charles is second in the NFL with 1,467 yards and if he can get going I would give the Chiefs a decent chance of winning this football game. The Ravens defense has been known to tire out at the end of games and they have given up a few leads this season so if the Chiefs are hanging around at the end of the game I give them a fighters chance to pull this off. I know there was a lot about the Chiefs there but the Ravens have playoff experience and Kansas City doesn’t. That means a lot. The run game will be important for Baltimore as Joe Flacco hasn’t been the shining star in the playoffs. Sure we hear how good Flacco is, but only one TD in his playoff games isn’t too good. Ray Rice can play some football and if that defense can get some rest they will be a tough team to beat. The Baltimore offense has also been very unimpressive considering the offseason hoopla, but they can still make some big plays. I don’t get to watch Kansas City a lot, but they quit last week against an average at best Oakland team and I just don’t’ think they are tough enough.

Prediction: Baltimore 20, Kansas City 17



 


















 
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia
Sunday, 4:30 p.m.

This is easily the best game on the wild card slate and it is set for the last game of the weekend. This team met in week one where the Eagles (albeit without MVPesque Mike Vick) lost by seven points, at Philadelphia. The Packers are not a very good road team only winning three road games this season but the Eagles are just as bad as home only winning half of their games at Lincoln Financial Field. These are two pretty evenly matched teams and it is going to be great to watch. The Packers defense has been a force all season and it will need to be up to the task as the Eagles might have the best group of dynamic offensive football players in the league. LeSean McCoy, Mike Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin headline just ridiculous athletes that can take it to the house on any touch of the football. That four-some will be hard for any defense to stop. More than stopping the Eagles on defense is the special teams. Green Bay special teams have been shoddy at best this season and if they decide they want to kick to DeSean Jackson then they are going to lose the football game, plain and simple. Jackson is in the Devin Hester type of return mode this season and any ball he touches can go to pay dirt, just as the New York Giants. The Eagles defense is going to do one thing on Sunday and that is bring pressure. This could work out great in the Packers favor. You have to think Green Bay is going to work out of a lot of four receiver sets and let Aaron Rogers work his magic. Rogers is putting himself up there with the Brady’s and Roethlisberger’s of the NFL so the Eagles might not bring as much pressure this time around. Despite not being the most mobile of QB’s Rogers avoids pressure very well with his lateral movement and has a very talented group of wide outs and he will use them early and often. The Packers have one of the worst running games in the league so he is going to have to.

Prediction: Packers 30, Eagles 27



 

So there you have it. My short preview and picks. What do yinz think? Am I right?

As always leave your picks, and thoughts, in the comments.