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Thread: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

      
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    Default Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way



    Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way
    Posted by Chris Carosi
    http://www.nflgridirongab.com/2009/1...st-of-the-way/


    The Steelers schedule has worked out well. After laying two giant eggs in the 4th quarter against Cincinnati and Chicago (and almost one against San Diego), the Steelers cleaned up two below average teams in Detroit and Cleveland.

    Meanwhile, Baltimore dropped three in a row (!) to New England, the surprising Bengals, and Minnesota: all close games. This is the point in the year when teams that start hot descend back to planet earth. Looking ahead at the Baltimore-Pittsburgh match-up that looms the week after Thanksgiving, letís see the respective schedules of both of these teams:

    Pittsburgh:
    MINNESOTA
    bye
    at Denver
    CINCINNATI
    at Kansas City

    Baltimore:
    bye
    DENVER
    at Cincinnati
    at Cleveland
    INDIANAPOLIS

    HmmÖ at first glance, I would say the Steelers is a little tougher, just a little. Minnesota at home is lucky at this point in the year but at Denver is always difficult for the Steelers and Arrowhead Stadium is always a loud, crazy place. Maybe Iím giving KC too much credit.

    The Steelers canít possibly be swept by the Bengals and call themselves potential AFC North champions. Baltimore of course draws two difficult opponents in Denver and Indy, but both at home. Back-to-back pumpkin head games are both wins. Baltimore will probably lose at least one of the two home games in that span, all things considered. Theyíd be 6-4.

    Letís say for the sake of argument the Steelers lose Sunday, but find a way after the bye on Monday Night against Denver, then beat up on Cincinnati and Kansas City: they end up 7-3. Just for ****s, letís throw the Bengals schedule up there too:

    Cincinnati:
    CHICAGO
    bye
    BALTIMORE
    at Pittsburgh
    at Oakland

    Now at first glance with how theyíre playing, and after the bye (Bears can definitely beat them), they still lose to Ravens and Steelers back-to-back. 5-5? Geez. Either way you look at it, the division games in this little span are really, really important.

    For the Bengals, itís the difference between first or third place. Cleveland, if they decide to pick their pants up, could ruin some dreams in this span as well. That Chicago game really seems important. Of course, every game is important but bear with me (oh boy).

    So thatís all a long way of saying this game Sunday is going to be interesting, itís easily the game of the week. New Orleans / Miami seems interesting as well, and Atlanta / Dallas or Arizona / New York Giants could be fun. Maybe itís the Favre magic, and maybe Iím too proud to admit it, but this game is going to be great. Conveniently, the near-perfect division scheduling by the NFL saw the Vikings narrowly defeat Baltimore last week in the dome, which as above is interesting to compare division rivals.

    The story of the game was Minnesotaís early dominance and the Ravensí resurgence late, 3 TDs in the 4th quarter. Flacco played great, 2 TDs, no picks and over 350 yards (more than ďOh heís just having fun out thereĒ Favre). Their running game was did what it could, and ultimately kept them in the game. Ray Rice had crazy longs runs both from scrimmage and after the catch and scored twice on the Minnesota defense, which has allowed an average of 93.5 yards per game on the ground, not bad.

    Minnesota has a weak secondary, allowing about 250 yards a game, which is in the bottom 10 in the league. That should translate to Big Ben lighting it up. Heís been extraordinary this season, leading the league in passing yards (yes, itís true) through week 6 with 1,887. Heís shown great playmaking ability and he spreads the ball around.

    He takes some sacks, and the Minnesota pass rush has 21 sacks, which is a significant number: over 3 a game. The thing to remember about Minnesota is that they score a lot of points but they give up a decent amount too. They are vulnerable in their back field. Rashard Mendenhall, now officially the starter, really needs to have a good game.

    Their offense features Adrian Peterson. Thatís probably all I have to say. He rushed for 143 on 22 carries last week. Thatís a huge deal, even for one of the best (if THE best) backs in the league to do that against Baltimore. Iím thinking now this column consistently puts Baltimore on a pedestal, whatever. Now even if this is eschewed because Peterson is very good, I donít quite know how effective heíll be against Pittsburgh.

    I can only say the Steelers run defense has been really good, and only seeks to improve. Theyíve lost Aaron Smith, which is a big deal. Peterson has never played against the Steelers. And the Steelers have never played the Vikings without Aaron Smith. Number one on the Steelers game plain is to contain him, thatís a no-brainer.

    #4 is a dangerous player for a lot of reasons. None of them I want to type here. But I do want to look at Brett Favreís history against Pittsburgh. Heís 2-2 against Pittsburgh, both loses coming in the last two times theyíve played, one waaaaay back in 1998. The Steelers passing defense is very good, among the top of the league, and Polamalu is now back and so that automatically just increases the defense all around.

    The Vikings O-line is solid, and as a football fan in general I just want to watch the Steelers pass rush try to beat them to the ball. This is going to be a hell of a game. Favre is unpredictable but also prone to mistake, if the gameís close by the end, and Minnesota has the ball, look out. The idea then is to get the lead early and keep the cushion going the whole game. This is a great test for the Steelers at this point in the season.



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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    That away game at Denver could give us trouble, and there's the viqueens.

    Also, that remaining schedule suggesting the games are in our favor assumes we'll play consistently. We already lost to one of those teams.

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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    I am just glad we are playing the Vikes at home. To beat them going into the bye would be a nice confidence builder. Imo the Vikes are a better team then the Broncos, a win Sunday could really set us up nice.
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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    I think we need to win this game and then have 2 weeks to prepare a D to give Orton and the Broncos the ****s.

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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetchuck View Post
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    That away game at Denver could give us trouble, and there's the viqueens.

    Also, that remaining schedule suggesting the games are in our favor assumes we'll play consistently. We already lost to one of those teams.

    I just can't come to grips with the fact that Denver is any good. I just don't see boy wonder McDaniels and Kyle Orton being a powerhouse team. If we can't go into Denver and beat them by double digits then we should forget about all the Super Bowl talk this year because it ain't happening.

    They squeked by a Bengals team on a gift play, drew a break by playing Cleveland and Oakland next, then went into a very emotional game at home against the Patriots who were not playing there best football at the time. They were a dropped pass from losing to the Cowboys and the Chargers don't count until they get a real head coach. The Broncos have gotten a few lucky breaks along the way but eventually those breaks will start going the other way against them.

    I mean seriously Kyle Orton is going to shred our defense.

    We will beat Denver and we will beat Denver by more then 10. I just hope they are 7-0 when we do it too.

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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    I mean seriously Kyle Orton is going to shred our defense.
    How many people said the same thing about Jay ****ler before the Bears loss?

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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetchuck View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    How many people said the same thing about Jay ****ler before the Bears loss?

    Omg ****ler...I love it.

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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelCar86 View Post
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    Omg ****ler...I love it.
    See, your vocabulary has to of grown immensely in the few days you've been here.

    I don't know if the rest of the schedule favors us or not. The Steelers just have to go in and beat some *** every game and take everything 1 game at a time. Like they always say, The complextion of the NFL changes every 4 weeks.

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    Default Re: Schedule in the AFC North Favors the Steelers the Rest of the Way

    There is just some weird **** going on in the NFL this year. The Broncos are 6-0, Cedric Benson is running hard, The Bungles have a share of 1st place and T.O.hasn't blown a gasket yet. It is time for the Steelers to return some normalcy to the NFL. Looking at the schedule the rest of the way, the 4 critical games seem to be, the next two weeks and both Baltimore games. If we split those 4 and sweep the rest, we are 12-4 which I believe wins the division, however conference wise, the Denver game is most important at this point. **** it, let's just win them all.
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