Sporting Fools
Sporting Fools
Sporting Fools

Sporting Fools

The frequent and occasional humorous musings behind two of the World's greatest underappreciated sports minds.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

AFC Championship Breakdown: Defense

With an hour before gametime, let's hit the Defense and make a final pick.

Defensive Line: The Broncos took several outcasts from the Cleveland Browns and have turned them into success stories. Trevor Pryce is the leader of the line and the one responsible for truning such a ragtag group into a cohesive unit. Pittsburgh employs a 3-4 and leans on nose tackle Casey Hampton to make it successful. Hampton takes up space that frees the rush end Kimo von Oelhoffen to put extra pressure on the quarterback. Edge: Pittsburgh

Linebackers: Denver's linebackers are all about the speed. Ian Gold and D.J. Williams might be the quickest tandem in the league. Al Wilson is a stalwart in the middle, he doesn't let much get by him. Pittsburgh's linebackers are the key to their defense, Joey Porter is the team's emotional leader and James Farrior and Larry Foote are amongst the best at the inside spots. Edge: Pittsburgh

Defensive Backs: Denver has the best defensive back left in the playoffs -- Champ Bailey and with Darrent Williams to be active as a nickel back expect the focus to be on rookie Dominique Foxworth, who held up nicely against Tom Brady last week. Denver's safeties led by the hard-hitting celebral John Lynch make you pay for you progressions. The Steelers have the "Where's Troy" formation. Where is Troy Polamalu, is he at safety, is he at linebacker, is he at nose tackle? Wherever he is, he needs to be accounted for. Edge: Denver

Special Teams: Todd Sauerbraun, steroid accusations aside, is a monster punter and the thin Colorado air only helps that. Chris Gardocki is a solid veteran punter who can play the field position game well. With Williams only healthy enough to be a nickel back, Rod Smith will handle return duties for Denver while Randel-El is a dangerous return man for the Steelers. Edge: Pittsburgh

Intagibles: Denver is undefeated at home and Pittsburgh is 15-3 on the road during Roethlisberger's tenure. Bill Cowher is 1-4 in AFC Championship games while Mike Shannahan has two Super Bowls from the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Pittsburgh thrives on emotion and when things go bad they can't seem to get them back on track while Denver is more in the mold of their calm coach. Edge: Denver

Final Pick: I like Denver and I think they will win by a couple of scores. Denver's secondary is much stronger than Indianapolis' and Jake Plummer has the mobility to escape some of the Steelers' blitzes. Denver, 27-14

Posted by TPrincess 2:48 PM ||
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