Thursday, January 26, 2006Quick Update...
However, I've been fingering through the newspapers this week and here's what I've gotten so far.
-- Pittsburgh is wearing road whites for the Super Bowl despite being the designated home team and I expect the Detroit crowd will be about 75-25 Steeler fans. I actually believe there are more Steeler fans in Seattle than Seahawk fans. Doesn't mean much in the end except Seattle will have to get their "road" face on.
-- Dan Marino gives Ben Roethlisberger Super Bowl advice? Yeah, now I've heard it all. [Wire] You know Marino is praying for a 'Big Ben' failure, that guy is way too bitter to think otherwise and don't let the Isotoner glove commercials fool you.
-- Ron Artest got traded to Sacramento. He was apprehensive about going and if you've ever been to Sacramento you wouldn't blame him.
-- National Signing Day comes up in a week so college fans are going crazy over guys with really impressive high school film. As much as I hate to admit it, this is the one area in sports journalism where the internet completely destroys the print business. Of course it's because real sports journalists have actual work to do other than send 16-year olds text messages.
-- EDSBS is having a winner-take-all fight to the finish for 32 of the best coaches in college football. My money is on Jim Tressel, the cheaters always win in wrestling. [Link]
-- Michael Vick defends his brother saying Virginia Tech went too far in dismissing Marcus Vick despite his issues with the law which include speeding with alicense, weapons possession, statutory rape, providing minors with alcohol and don't forget stomping Elvis Dumervil on the shin. Oh well, maybe Mike's got a point. [AP]
Sunday, January 22, 2006AFC Championship Breakdown: Defense
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