Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fool me twice; shame on me

Ok. Seems like the consensus among NFL pundits is that Pittsburgh and Carolina will win tomorrow. The conensus reasoning is...well...there really isn't any. It's just that Carolina's and Pittsburgh's wins were more impressive because they came on the road against supposedly better teams. Denver's win seemed equally impressive as those wins. It's only Seattle that underperformed, but perhaps some of that can be blamed on Shaun Alexander leaving the game due to injury.

Fact is, I have no freakin clue who should win any of these games. Technically, both Seattle and Denver have very distinct homefield advantages--Seattle with the noise and Denver with the altitude. Alexander's injury aside, Seattle is still much healthier than Carolina as well. At this point, the offense is going to go entirely through Steve Smith...I'm not sure how honest Nick Goings can keep Seattle. Can Delhomme to Smith really outscore Seattle? I'm not so sure. Carolina has a great secondary, but their front 7 will be missing Julius Peppers. I think Alexander will establish himself and let Hasselbeck go play action. I'm going with Seattle, 24-17.

Pittsburgh is the ultimate "momentum" team right now. After they lost at home to Cincy and I wrote them off, they've turned into the White Sox of football, winning a bunch of games in a row. I'd dissed their offensive line, but they protected so well against Indy's stellar D-line I don't have many doubts. At this point, I'm not even doubting Ben Roethlisberger. I imagine P-burgh will try to score quickly again and deflate the crowd, which worked so well in Indy. Okay, that's a pretty ridiculous statement. Of course scoring is good. But I can't help thinking back the game they did lose to Cincy, and seeing how Roethlisberger unraveled when having to throw 40 times. R-berger needs to pass 20 or so times in the first half, and then 10 times in the second. Regardless, I think the Steelers will be able to put up a couple TDs and a couple FGs--maybe more if their defense gets turnovers. And I have a feeling they will. Jake Plummer is gonna try to be a hero, and I think it may cost him. A pick in the 4th quarter will seal the deal. Pittsburgh wins 20-17.

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