Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend Picks

I screwed up the picks table last night. Pat had the Cowboys, while Marc Anthony had the Packers. Actual quote from the 'Stache: "I actually won a bet last week, then I let it ride on the late games and I lost it. I'm trying to chase. I can either
stop now or try and get back to even. Ugh, f'ing gambling."



The Stache Says:

Home team in caps

Atlanta (+4) over ST. LOUIS

What a QB matchup. Joey Harrington vs. Gus Frerotte. Ol’ Gus showed he could still blow a game, fumbling on 4th down from the Seahawks 1-yard line going in for the winning touchdown. Falcons stink. Rams stink. So I’m taking the points.

WASHINGTON (-6) over Buffalo

No one knows how the Redskins are going to play in this game. They may play their best game of the year to honor their fallen teammate, or they may lay an egg because this week has just been too much for them. I tend to lean towards the former. I think they’re going to be playing on a big-time emotional high. It would be a great moment for them to come out and just dominate the game in honor of Sean Taylor.

Detroit (+3.5) over MINNESOTA

Big game for both these teams. If the Lions can win they can create some separation between themselves and the Vikings by taking a two game lead and holding the tie-breaker advantage over Minnesota for a wild card spot. If the Vikes can pull it out, they become a legitimate wild card contender, which I guess speaks to the quality of play in the NFC. These teams are heading in the opposite direction, so naturally I’m going to take the one on the downswing.

TENNESSEE (-3.5) over Houston

I made this pick strictly off Albert Haynesworth. He is scheduled to practice tomorrow, so I’m thinking he plays. With him the Titans are a different team. If he plays, I like them to stop their three-game skid.

INDIANAPOLIS (-6.5) over Jacksonville

This is a game I hope I’m wrong on. If we want any chance at a #2 seed, Indy needs to lose, and this game is as good as any. But the Colts will be coming off 10 days of rest, which should help their battered football team. Add in the fact that the line is 6.5, which is huge because of the touchdown factor, and I’m going Indy.

New York Jets (+1.5) over MIAMI

An 0-11 team that is the favorite. Doesn’t happen often. John Beck is still getting his feet wet, and the Dolphins don’t have any running backs, thanks in part to Lawrence Timmons. He put a nice cleat into Ricky Williams, didn’t he? Anyways, maybe I’m more enamored with the Jets than I should be just because I saw them beat us, but whatever.

KANSAS CITY (+5.5) over San Diego

If I can get the Chiefs at home in Arrowhead, as an underdog, against a Norv Turner led team, you damn well better believe I’m going to take the Chiefs.

Seattle (+3) over PHILADELPHIA

The Eagles almost pulled off the impossible last week, so I sense a little bit of a let down this week for them. Seattle is no slouch, even though they did struggle with the Rams last week.

CAROLINA (-3) over San Francisco

I mean, can you really feel comfortable betting this game? You can either take David Carr and the Panthers offense and give three points, or you can take Trent Dilfer and the even worse 49ers offense and get three points. The Panthers are 0-5 at home this year. They have to win a home game at some point. Panthers it is.

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Tampa Bay

Doesn’t look like Jeff Garcia is going to start. Local boy Bruce Gradkowski may not get the nod either, as Gruden is contemplating going with Luke McCown. The Saints always look like a great bet, but you never know what you’re going to get with them. Buyer beware here.

ARIZONA (-1) over Cleveland

Sure, the Browns offense has played better as of late. The Cardinals have an explosive offense, though. This is the Browns, people. They’ll fuck it up. Just watch. It starts this week.

OAKLAND (+3.5) over Denver

Just an absolutely brutal loss for the Broncos last week. It was fun watching another gambler other than myself suffer. My older brother had cash on the Broncos at +1 over the Bears. So he was rightfully pissed when the Broncos kicked not once, BUT TWICE to Devin Hester. Nice move, Shanahan. But it got better, because you should have seen the look on his face as he watched Rex Grossman lead the Bears to two touchdowns and the game winning field goal to win the game. You know it’s a bad gambling loss when Rex Grossman fucks you over.

CHICAGO (+2) over New York Giants

And I’m going to ride the Rex Grossman momentum train. Besides, you all saw how Eli Manning played last week. The Bears have had their share of struggles on defense, but do you really trust Eli going up against the Chicago defense in Soldier Field. Plus, the Bears have that Hester fella. I hear he’s kinda good.

PITTSBURGH (-7) over Cincinnati

I already talked about this game a little bit in the Stache Report, so in lieu of that I’m going to show you some quotes from Anthony Smith:

On Chad Johnson: “Oh, yeah, his confidence is back up there. But it’ll get right back down to reality once he gets hit a couple times.”

On the Bengals wideouts facing the Steelers secondary: “They’ll be looking out for us when they come across the middle. It’ll pretty much stop most of their completions”

On whether Chad Johnson should wear a mouthpiece, since Smith knocked it out in the last game: “If he don’t, I’m going to try to do the same thing I did last time.”

On TJ Houshmandzadeh: “See, that’s his problem, working the middle of the field. That’s where I’m at. That’s my domain.”

On Houshmandzadeh wiping his shoes with the Terrible Towel a couple years ago:
“He might want to do that again, but he won’t have a chance to as long as I’m playing. If anybody comes across the middle, if they don’t duck, I’m going to make something happen.”

This man is brilliant.

New England (-20.5) over BALTIMORE

Tom Brady vs. Kyle Boller. Need I explain more?

End of Post

You Mean We Can't Even Get Kjell? Or Wregget?

For those of you interested in the on-going saga that is the 2007 Mark Recchi experience, Face-Off Factor is the place to keep checking.

A report about Recchi having to potentially "trade himself". Bizarre.

And some follow-up from later in the day.

It certainly doesn't seem like Recchi will be around for too much longer. And from the "I wonder if it will be worth more than my Duffy-Doumit-Duke one", December 3rd so happens to be Mark Recchi bobble-head night. No joke.
End of Post

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pick for the Cowboys-Packers Game



The rest of the picks will be up tomorrow. By the way, in the past 3 weeks we went 1-11 in games when we all picked the same team, bringing the season total to 13-30 and only 6-26 since week 4. Remember that when you're placing your money this week.

End of Post

Would You Rather: Championship vs Money


I never really realized how ridiculously insane contestants were on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal and shows of that ilk until I really thought about exactly what they were doing. On Who Wants to be a Millionaire, there were levels of guaranteed money at $1,000 and $32,000. When the question was asked to get to the $32,000 level, the contestant had already won $16,000 and was essentially risking $15,000 of their own money to win $16,000. Statistically not a bad deal if you could narrow down the choices, but on any other day and in any other place, would these contestants agree to do this? If Howie Mandel walked up to you on the street and asked you to wager 50 grand on picking a random suitcase to win $60,000, who of you would do it? Suspense, adrenaline, and the rush of realizing you could make more in a half hour than you've made in 10 years changes people.

Now say you're sitting in the bar, watching the Super Bowl/Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Jeff Reed/Sidney Crosby is about to take a 55 yard field goal/penalty shot in overtime that could bring a championship back to the 'burgh. With your adrenaline pumping and a few beers under, Howie Mandel walks up to you and puts a suitcase on the seat next to you with $5,000 in it. He says you get the suitcase if the Steelers/Penguins lose, if they win you get nothing. Which outcome do you root for?




Poll Closes at Noon Friday. Results will be put in the Weekend Post.

End of Post

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Stache Report: Dolphins vs. Steelers

That game was horrible last night, so this will be a little short.

- A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the following in a Stache report:

“A new surface is needed. Hopefully, on a national TV game against the Dolphins on a Monday night in two weeks, the field will be in such horrible shape that either the NFL demands the grass be replaced, or the Rooneys are so embarrassed by it that it leaves them with no choice. That same weekend, four WPIAL championship games will be played on Friday, as well as a Pitt game on Saturday. So imagine what the field will look like by Monday night.”

Well, looks like I got what I asked for. The new sod, combined with the torrential downpour, caused an absolute embarrassment on national TV. FieldTurf, or something close to it, needs to be installed at Heinz Field. If you’re planning to have the WPIAL championships at your venue, as well as a college team playing every other weekend or so, natural grass is not going to hold up. Words are not enough to describe how bad the field conditions were.

- I’ve been okay with Bruce Arians this season, for the most part. Yesterday was not one of those days. How many times can you run the ball on first and second down? Would it kill you to throw a pass on first down? I don’t want to hear that the weather conditions were not conducive to passing the ball, either. Ben threw the ball just fine, completing 86% of his passes.

- On another note, the decision to try a 45-yard field goal was asinine. It’s hard enough to make a 45-yarder in Heinz under normal conditions. To do so on that field, in those conditions, is pretty much impossible. Can’t fault Jeff Reed for that one.

- Around the 3rd quarter, I sent a mass text message to my fellow Doubt About It contributors. My sentiments were blunt: “We fucking blow.” Upon reflection, I may have been a bit harsh and just got caught up in the frustrating nature of this particular game. But I was still disappointed that we let an 0-10 team hang around that long. I understand the conditions were conducive to a close, conservative football game. Still, to get into the opponent’s territory 9 times, and only come out with 3 points? Let’s just say I’m a little skeptical as to how far this team can really go in the playoffs.

- Big game coming up against the Bengals. They’ll have some extra skill players they didn’t have in the last meeting. Chris Henry is back, and he caused all sorts of problems last season for the Steelers. Rudi Johnson also has returned. He missed the last contest. The Bengals have won at Heinz the last two seasons, so they’ll be coming in with a lot of confidence, fresh off a dominating win against the Titans. Say what you will about the Cincinnati defense, but that offense is fully capable of putting enough points to win the game by themselves. The Steelers offense cannot have another lackluster showing, as they have the past two weeks. They need to come out and punch the Bengals in the mouth, because as we’ve seen the last two weeks, desperate teams with nothing to lose who are allowed to hang around will pull out all the stops to win a game. The Stache will be in the house for this one, so let’s hope I don’t jinx the Steelers with my presence.

- We are characterized as a “Pittsburgh Sports Blog”, but every now and then a sports story comes out that’s just too big to ignore. Such is the case with the passing of Redskins safety Sean Taylor. Like everybody, I was hopeful for a recovery upon the news last night that he was showing some minor responses. I woke up this morning and shockingly read the grim news, feeling a pit in my stomach. Personally, I always admired Taylor and considered him one of the best safeties in the game. A guy who would strike fear into wide receivers with his ability to lay the wood, but also a guy who had a knack for making the big play. In a lot of ways, one of my favorite defensive players on the Steelers, Anthony Smith, reminds me of him. Many felt he would become one of the best safeties to ever play the game. It’s sad that most of the media has been quick to point out Taylor’s past transgressions as a way of explaining his murder. The truth of the matter is, we don’t know exactly what happened. All accounts are that he had turned his life around, and was becoming a trusted friend and teammate, and loving father. For the media to immediately jump to conclusions (read: Michael Wilbon) that this was the result of his “thug” life, rather than just mourn his passing just struck me the wrong way. But perhaps that’s why I felt a little bit down today. This was a guy who by all appearances had turned his life around, but in the end just may not have been able to ultimately get by his past demons. I guess that’s life, though. Ben Roethlisberger was this close to dying last summer, and he has come back to become one of the best players in the National Football League. Sadly, Sean Taylor won’t get that chance. I can’t imagine the grief and sorrow his family, friends, and teammates are experiencing. Rest in peace, Sean.

End of Post

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Rare Monday Post

The Monday night Steelers game pushes back our week a little bit, so expect more from us a little later than usual. Some thoughts from the weekend...

- The first ever "Night Out With DoubtAboutIt" (name of actual event still pending) was a...success? Sure, I'd say so. I still haven't seen the 'stache since Friday night or even heard from him, but I'm sure he's ok. He's probably still at Primanti's.

- The Thrashers really aren't very good, so I am not going to get all hopped up about the 5-0 Pens win on Saturday night. But still...remember the Thanksgiving game. It could be like our Alamo...or something. The only thing better than seeing Fleury back in net and playing well was the reading the stat line on the first period goal scorers: Staal, Malone, and Armstrong. Good to see Staal back in the mix - he was moving around faster than Sam trying to jump out of a cab to take a piss.

- Pat Bostick is not good. Not saying he might not "become" a decent QB at some point, but right now, he cannot do anything. ANYthing. He has the most prolific young running back int he country, and he STILL can't do anything.

- More to come soon...
End of Post

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend Picks

We'll be up and running at normal speed tomorrow, but for today we'll have another abbreviated picks post. The table with records will resume next week.

11/25 4:15 ET At Chicago -2 Denver 41
11/25 1:00 ET Tennessee -1.5 At Cincinnati 46.5
11/25 1:00 ET At Jacksonville -7.5 Buffalo 36
11/25 1:00 ET At Kansas City -5.5 Oakland 34.5
11/25 1:00 ET At Cleveland -3.5 Houston 51
11/25 1:00 ET Seattle -3 At St. Louis 45
11/25 1:00 ET At NY Giants -7 Minnesota 40.5
11/25 1:00 ET New Orleans -3 At Carolina 41.5
11/25 1:00 ET At Tampa Bay -3 Washington 38
11/25 4:05 ET At Arizona -10.5 San Francisco 37.5
11/25 4:15 ET At San Diego -9 Baltimore 38.5
11/25 8:15 ET At New England -23.5 Philadelphia 50.5

Monday Night Football Line

11/26 8:30 ET At Pittsburgh -16 Miami 41

Pat:

Denver
Cincinnati
Jacksonville
Oakland
Houston
St. Louis
NY Giants
New Orleans
Washington
San Francisco
San Diego
New England
Pittsburgh


Marc Anthony:

Chicago
Tennessee
Buffalo
Oakland
Houston
St. Louis
Minnesota
Carolina
Tampa Bay
San Francisco
San Diego
New England
Pittsburgh

Wannstache:

Denver
Cincinnati
Jacksonville
Kansas City
Houston
St. Louis
New York Giants
New Orleans
Tampa Bay
Arizona
Baltimore
New England
Pittsburgh

Sam:

Chicago
Cincinnati
Jacksonville
Kansas City
Houston
St. Louis
New York Giants
New Orleans
Washington
Arizona
Baltimore
New England
Pittsburgh

End of Post

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Remember The Thanksgiving Game, Folks...

Peter King said after the Steelers come from behind against the Browns that the comeback might in fact be the turning point in the Steelers season. Maybe, just maybe, it would be the game everyone looked back on and said "THAT is where the really put it together and turned things around".

And then the Jets game happened and etc. etc. cough cough puke.

With such recent events in mind, I'll speak softly when saying this, though I will say it none the less: remember the 6-5 shootout victory tonight against the Senators, cats and kittens. Remember it well. That was a 16-4 team the Pens just beat. The Pens fought people, they got big goals from role players, they got GREAT third period goaltending (albeit not from Fleury...a topic for a later day). They got a SICK shootout goal from Jarko Ruutu. Basically, everything that fans have been asking for out of the Pens in the last month was given to them.

Here's hoping they can keep the momentum. Now. Huge win - about as big as they come in late November.

Have a great weekend folks. And yes, my groin is sitll in excruciating pain.
End of Post

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Post

The Doubt About It staff will be taking the weekend off, but here are the picks for the three games:

Pat - Packers (-3), Cowboys (-14.5), Falcons (+12)

Marc Anthony - Lions, Cowboys, Colts

'Stache - Lions, Cowboys, Falconsb

Sam - Packers, Jets, Falcons

Enjoy the Turkey and the long weekend. We just finished our annual turkey bowl, and it ended with an unfortunate injury. In the words of Coach Cowher: "Pat's got a groin."

We'll have the other picks before the Sunday games.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Revisiting The Nedved Game

A slow Tuesday night turned out to be the perfect time for the 10 Greatest Penguins Games DVD Package to arrive. I have several issues with the games they have chosen, although I understand the reasoning behind most choices. Laying down all tasks at hand, Sam and I began tearing through them. The first period of Lemieux's five goal game against the Flyers in the playoffs is must see. Mario's shoddy playoff beard...Coffey flying around...Bob Erey doing Bob Erey things...blatant elbows thrown at Hextall...throw in FOUR first period goals by Lemieux and you have the best first period you will ever watch.

When we decided to watch the Nedved game, however, we quickly realized that we wouldn't be watching any other games that night. It might seem like a lot of hockey to watch, but if you start watching this game, you Can. Not. Stop.

Simply put, Game 4 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarters between the Pens and Caps is one of the best hockey games ever, certainly one of the best games I've ever seen. Sam and I had trouble remembering parts (we were young...it was late...) but what becomes clear very quickly is the level of intensity that the game was infused with. Sometime around the end of regulation I realized that I should be taking notes. I'm sure everyone remembers Nedved sliding down the ice on his knees after rifling home the game winner, but these are some of the things we forgot about/never realized in the first place. If you have the means/time/mental endurance, then watching this game will teach you all you could ever hope to learn about playoff hockey.

Some notes from a trip down memory lane...

- Steve Levy needs to do hockey commentating somewhere. End of story.

- The ESPN2 graphics are so faux-edgy. I can't really explain them. If you like loud colors and non-linear shapes then you could probably be the Executive Design Artist for ESPN2 in 1996.
- The Washington crowd is awful at the end of regulation. Just awful. It is the playoffs. Against a rival. Three minutes left in the third. And you are dead silent? Really? No chanting? Nothing? You can't waive a stupid towel? I want a serious Caps fan to defend their fans during this stretch. I think it is impossible to do so. They are awful down the stretch. And don't give me the fatigue excuse - this was regulation.

- Legion of Doom references are dropped a few times. Oh to be in the mid-90s.

- Sam channeled some kind of mystic spirit and remembered that JJ Daigneault had a huge game. I laughed at first. And then I sat in awe as JJ was all over the place.
- quote from Sam: "You wanna know how I know we are going to win? Cause they have Gonchar covering Jagr all the time. That is a recipe for disaster."

- The save Ken Wregget makes at 6:43 in the first overtime is just gross. Definition of flashing the glove. He watches it all the way in.

- Daryl Ray (Levy's color guy) brings up how Wregget only makes 400,000k a year.

- And speaking of Wregget...holy crap. I love fawning over Barasso stats from the early 90s (just because everyone hates the guy and I like to play devil's advocate), but I dont think that ANYONE could argue with Wregget's performance in this game. Otherworldly. Sublime. All positive adjectives times ten.
- The mugging in the mid-90s is just out of control. Mario's back probably creaks every time somebody presses play on one of these DVDs. If you have the DVD, check out the 9:20 mark in the 2nd OT. It is an out-and-out arm tackle that breaks up the Caps fastbreak.

- Halfway through the 2nd OT: Gonchar's ice time is 48 minutes and Zubov's is 54 minutes. I just puked on myself.

- I knew it was coming. So did Sam. Five minutes left, Joe Juneau and Tamer on the ice. Puck dances on it's edge towards an unguarded net. Tamer knocks it away, but knocks the net over. Take me there Steve Levy....

IT'S A PENALTY SHOT!

Awful exectuion by Juneau. Puck bobbles in almost the whole way. Terrible shot. Then again, even Mario couldn't have scored on Wregget tonight.

- Only one word can define the skirmishes in front of the Capitals net at the 10:15 mark: desire.

- another gem from Sam: "how about the stamina of the jumbotron and sound guys? All night, they keep trying to pump up the crowd and give them some life. And that crowd sucks too! Phenomenal effort."

- Nedved's shot navigates through roughly 25 different bodies and finds the net at the end of the 4th OT. Phew.

- The look on Gonchar's face when Nedved drives it home...I mean, that is why I watch sports. To see soft, whiny little defensemen look utterly stunned and dejected and like they want to go back to Mother Russia and cry on her shoulder. And also so those defensemen can be on my team 10 years later. Karma, I suppose. Or something.
I'm exhausted. What a game.
End of Post

It's Gametime!


Today could very well be one of Ben Howland's saddest days as the coach of UCLA as he has lost out to USC on one of California's top basketball recruits. Today Lil' Romeo officially committed to play basketball at USC.

Big catch for Tim Floyd and the Trojan basketball program (not to mention whoever runs the halftime show at USC). Percy Romeo Miller, as the government calls him, is considered to be one of the top-15 prep point guards in the country. Move over Deion....It's "Gametime"


End of Post

The Stache Report: Steelers vs. Jets


- This was a disconcerting loss, for obvious reasons. Championship caliber teams do not lose to opponents who are 1-8. More alarming are the road woes this team has experienced this season. A couple of years ago we would pray for road playoff games, because we all knew of our subpar home playoff record. 2005 came, and we steamrolled three teams, on the road, to get to the Super Bowl. Now? This team can’t play away from Heinz.

- The offensive line was shitty. I’m sure you’ve all read enough about it, so I won’t cram more down your throat. What is alarming is that last week, I wrote the following: “This has been a recurring theme, but the pass protection needs to get better. The Browns had seven sacks all season prior to Sunday's game, and they were able to register four against the Steelers. Not good.” So here goes, again. This has been a recurring theme, but the pass protection needs to get better. The Jets had nine sacks all season prior to Sunday’s game, and they were able to register seven against the Steelers. Not good.

- I’m not sure if many noticed, but the Steelers played most of the 4th quarter without Santonio Holmes, and his absence was glaring. Put simply, the WR corps without him is mediocre. His ability to stretch the field opens things up for Ward and Miller. Take away that vertical threat, and your left with a gimpy Ward, Nate Washington, and Cedric Wilson as the only three remaining active receivers. Nothing scary there. In terms of offseason priorities, I would say wide receiver is third, behind offensive and defensive line.

- The first offensive drive for the Jets highlighted the risk aspect of starting Anthony Smith. I’ll preface this by saying I like Smith a lot, and prefer him starting to Ryan Clark (which will continue to happen, now that Clark was placed on IR). Smith is an aggressive player who’s looking to make the big play. That’s why he started charging towards the line of scrimmage when Thomas Jones took what looked like a routine handoff. Only problem was it was a flea-flicker, and Smith was way out of position and had no chance to make a play on Coles, who was streaking down the middle of the field. You’ll get some big plays out of Smith, but you’ll pay the price every now and then for that aggressiveness with plays such as this one as well.

- Behind the shoddy play of the offensive line, the next culprit responsible for this loss is the tackling, or lack thereof, by the defense. When you talk about tackling, you’re talking about fundamentals. So it’s a little surprising to see a team led by a coach who was heavy in preaching fundamentals all offseason be deficient in that area. Maybe it was his flying hair, but Troy seemed like one of the biggest offenders. Someone tell him it’s okay to wrap up the ball carrier. His primary tackling method should not be lunging at a guy’s legs to take him down. Larry Foote also drew my ire a couple of times, getting steamrolled by Jones on more than one occasion. Seems like this is a common occurrence for Foote every game.

- All around, the coaching could have been better. They came out flat on the road again, and that falls on Tomlin. Arians pissed me off to no end on the final Steelers possession in overtime. I’ll put it bluntly. That 3rd and 14 draw play to Carey Davis in OT was one of the most chickenshit calls I’ve ever seen. You are basically conceding victory here, because Carey Davis is not picking up that first down and you are going to give the Jets the ball in Steelers territory. Why not give Ben a chance to get the 1st down? You’re talking about a guy who converted a ton of clutch third downs last week against the Browns, and now you won’t even give him the opportunity to do so in overtime? Lebeau also went back to the prevent D we saw against Denver. Clemens picked it apart, driving down the field in under two and half minutes against the supposed #1 defense in the NFL.

- What a surprise. At the most critical moment, the special teams fucked up. First off, Sepulveda’s punt was garbage, a short, low-liner with no hang time that didn’t allow the coverage teams enough time to get down the field. Still, the coverage team had a chance to limit Leon Washington and make the Jets earn their field goal a bit, but instead they handed them the game on a silver platter. The lone bright spot this season has been Jeff Reed, who has been solid and who I’m sure the Doubt About It crew will see this upcoming weekend at some Pittsburgh drinking establishment.

- While watching yesterday’s game, Pat’s dad was of the opinion that Willie Parker could do more in the running game. While I respect his stance, I don’t agree. When the right side of the line consists of Kendall Simmons and an inexperienced Willie Colin, and the middle is anchored by Sean Mahan, who seems like he wouldn’t be able to get push against a toddler, it’s actually quite amazing to me that Parker has been able to rush for 873 yards.

- There is absolutely no excuse for another let down this upcoming Monday against the Dolphins. This loss should only serve as a reminder as to what can happen when you take an opponent lightly. I anticipate a blowout. John Beck will be starting his 2nd game. If we do not shut him down than there is a deep problem with the defense. More importantly, this game is at home. Dolphins over Steelers would qualify as the biggest upset this NFL season. I’ll be disappointed with anything less than a 21-point win.

- Just to throw this in there, my prediction for the rest of the season: vs. Dolphins (win), vs. Bengals (win), at Patriots (loss), vs. Jaguars (win), at Rams (win), at Ravens (loss)… 11-5 record, #3 seed in the AFC. At the end of December we’re going to look back at this Jets loss as one of the main reasons we didn’t get a bye.

End of Post

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Gay Elves From Foxboro

As you can many of you can already tell, we are big fans of multimedia here at DoubtAboutIt.com....Some of you might even think that our writers are computer science majors. I mean don't kid yourself... "The Last Hope" was impressive. Anyway to continue the theme, I've found a video of Pittsburgh's most hated duo, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, being gay as usual.

Enjoy Pittsburgh!

End of Post

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Weekend From Hell

"I can't believe this" - Dad
"This isn't fun" - stache
"I want to puke" - myself

And those comments came before overtime. Before talking about the Steelers debacle, lets set up the collective attitude of Pittsburgh going into this game...

- Pitt loses in embarassing fashion to Rutgers
- Penn State twiddles its thumbs while Michigan State runs past it
- The Pens lose an absolute heart-breaker to the Rangers

And then today. The high and mighty Steelers lose to the 1-8 Jets. Embarassing? Stomach-turning? Nauseating? Pick any of them. Some gut reactions from 5 minutes after Nugent's winning field goal.

- The offense really seemed to struggle without Santonio Holmes down the stretch.
- If the Jets have the worst run defense in the league, then what does that say about our O-line? Ooh, ooh, call on me! I know! It sucks.
- Willie Parker made a big deal in the paper about how well he would run on turf in Giants stadium. I waited all day for him to break away. The stache and I are still waiting.
- Pathetic showing from the defense down the stretch.
- 7 sacks for the Jets. Again, thanks o-line. Mahan in particular sucked.
- Gonchar should have gotten back on that OT goal. Unrelated to this post, but still...
- Two OT losses in two days. Ugh.
- Questionable play-calling, especially on third down in the 4th quarter.
- Why does anyone EVER play the prevent D? It NEVER prevents anything.

More to come. Stache report in a day or two...if he ever stops staring at the floor. Seriously...can someone come help me move him from my couch?

End of Post

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weekend Picks



Guaranteed covers: Jets, Raiders, Broncos

The 'Stache Says

Home team in caps

JACKSONVILLE (-3) over San Diego

Something that hasn’t been mentioned much in the media is the fact that PhilipRivers is quietly having a pretty crappy season. This is the same guy the media was fawning over last season. 1,743 yards, 10 TDs, 10 INTs, and a QB rating of 77.9. Nothing special, indeed. Watching his last game, he could not move his offense at all against the Colts Sunday night. The Jaguars should have David Garrard back, and with him they are a much better football team.

Kansas City (+14.5) over INDIANAPOLIS

Brodie Croyle gets the start for the Chiefs. Probably not a smart idea to back Croyle against Manning at home, but I can’t get past the Colts injury woes. Freeney, Harrison, Ugoh, Clark, Gonzalez. Manning looked human without his regular wideouts, and I’m banking on the Chiefs defense keeping it at least under a 14-point margin.

Oakland (+5.5) over MINNESOTA

If Adrian Peterson were playing this line would be higher. He’s their whole offense. Without him, what do the Vikings really have? I understand Oakland has nothing also, but I’m supposed to back Tarvaris Jackson without AP, and give points? Uh, no thanks.

BALTIMORE (+3) over Cleveland

It’s pretty sad when Kyle Boller is considered an improvement, but that’s what he is at QB for the Ravens. He can at least threaten a defense with the deep ball. The Ravens defense did a complete 180 last week, as they actually showed up to prevent the Bengals from scoring any TDs. Spearheaded by that D, I think the Ravens rise up and muster a little pride to save their season. They’re going to be up for this game after their last meeting with the Browns, and they’ll have the home crowd, too.

Pittsburgh (-9.5) over NEW YORK JETS

I hate games like this because nothing good can come out of them. If we blow them out, great, that’s what we’re supposed to do. If we barely win, or god forbid lose this game, everyone will be all over us. There are two things that can cause the Steelers to lose this game: turnovers and Leon Washington. First, protect the football. Don’t give the Jets any short fields or cheap TDs, and we’ll be fine. They don’t have near the talent to keep up with us. Washington has 3 return TDs. Same concept here. Don’t let him give the Jets good field position (or worse, a TD). If their offense has to drive the majority of the field against the Steelers D, they aren’t going to win. Make them earn their points. Protect the football, and coverage teams: Get your head out of your ass. That’s the key to winning this week.

ATLANTA (+3) over Tampa Bay

Based on this line, Vegas feels the Falcons and Buccaneers are even. I don’t feel this way. The Buccaneers are the better football team. But I actually think the home crowd carries the Falcons. They’re coming off a pretty nice win against Carolina, and if they win this game all of the sudden they are one game back of the division lead. The Falcons should play inspired ball.

Arizona (+3) over CINCINNATI

The Cardinals defense is a bit underrated, I feel. They are giving up 21 points a game, but they are 9th in total yards allowed and in the top 10 in terms of sacks. The Bengals offense stalled in the red zone against the Ravens, but Baltimore could never capitalize on these defensive stands because they have no offense. Arizona does, and they have Boldin and Fitzgerald to abuse the Bengals sorry secondary.

PHILADELPHIA (-10) over Miami

Rookie John Beck gets the start at QB for the Dolphins, and I’m not sure this is the best game for him to do so. For the most part the Eagles defense has been lousy, but their defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is renowned for his heavy blitz principles. Beck is going to come under heavy fire, and for a rookie making his first start this is going to lead to mistakes.

New England (-16) over BUFFALO

Over the bye week I heard that Tedy Bruschi saved a baby from a burning house, found a cure for AIDS, and ran a marathon. All in one hour. The Bills are going to be missing their main offensive weapon in Marshawn Lynch. I just don’t feel good about going against the Patriots. Maybe one week when they are favored by –30 (which could happen when the Dolphins come to Foxboro, probably not though), I’ll go against them. I learned my lesson when I took the Redskins a couple weeks ago, and they blew them out 52-7.

DALLAS (-10.5) over Washington

Thanks, Washington. A certain individual had money on you, and you had everything under control. And then you let the Eagles score three 4th quarter touchdowns. The Cowboys are just destroying opponents right now, and I don’t see why this week should be any different, especially since they are home.

HOUSTON (-1) over New Orleans

The Texans get Andre Johnson back, and that is huge. They had a pretty good offense the first few weeks, and then he got injured and everything fell apart. Meanwhile, the Saints teased us, and then they went out and laid an egg at home against the Rams. They play in the shitty NFC South, so they are definitely still in it. But the return of Johnson is really pushing me towards the Texans.

Carolina (+9.5) over GREEN BAY

I have this feeling that the Packers are due for a let down game. I don’t know why, but I think it’s coming this week. Which means the Packers will probably win 41-0. Yes, I am aware I am backing Vinny Testaverde on the road, against a team that is 8-1. Don’t ask me why.

New York Giants (+3) over DETROIT

The Lions have to be one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. One week, they look great. The next, they look terrible. The Giants D-line versus the Lions O-line is going to be a huge mismatch. It’s the league leaders in sacks versus the league leaders in sacks allowed. Kitna is going to be running for his life.

SAN FRANCISCO (+2.5) over St. Louis

The 49ers suck. The Rams suck. I don’t want to talk about this game anymore.

SEATTLE (-5.5) over Chicago

It’s the return of Rex Grossman. Now he gets to start in one of the most hostile stadiums in the NFL. The Seahawks are also getting Deion Branch back, and Maurice Morris looks to be an upgrade over Shaun Alexander. Worse decision: the Seahawks signing Shaun Alexander to a huge extension or the Dolphins signing Joey Porter to a huge free agent deal?

Tennessee (+2) over DENVER

Losing Albert Haynesworth was a huge blow to the Titans defense last week. He is one of the best defensive tackles in the game, and was arguably in the race for defensive MVP. It doesn’t look like he’ll be back this week. I think the Titans will be able to control the ball with their offense though. They want to run it, and Denver is just the team to run it against. All Vince Young has to do is make a couple of plays here and there, and the Titans should escape with a victory.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Watch Out For That Rotating Chrysler New Yorker!

It's done. This took me too long to make, so it's getting a proper Earl Mann buildup:

The Patriots are flirting with an undefeated season, their dominance causing many fans to wonder if there is any justice left in this world. The Steelers, many say, are our last great hope. This epic battle, the Fisticuffs in Foxboro as it will be known, will change the history of the game forever. This game is so huge that it is getting something that neither the Duel in Dallas or Superbowl XLI 1/2 ever got: a flash video game.

Take control of Big Ben himself as he takes on the evil forces of the Patriots.



Arrow Keys Move, Space Bar shoots.



If it is tough to see or not showing up, click here for the full window version.


Some Hints:

-Power Ups: Mike Tomlin, Art Rooney, Lombardi Trophy
-Watch out for Kordell's footballs. He's as inaccurate as ever.
-Tedy Bruschi, just as in real life, can not be killed by conventional weapons or youth baseball bats.
-It takes 100 points for each new enemy to appear. There are 5 normal enemies and one boss.
-Gameplay is not the strong point of this game and the dialogue at the beginning is a bit slow, but let me know if you see any weird glitches or if you can't make out an image.

Credit to:
WithLeather or KSK, whichever one came up with the Dreamboat nickname for Brady. I tried to think of a new one, but it just seemed too right.
Thanks to flash genius Magnetos over at the gotoandplay forums for letting me use one of his games as a base for this one. Also thanks to the folks at Blue Archer for their help with Pittsburgh Nonprofit Web Design.

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More Stalling...

So my project is taking a bit longer than expected, but it should still be up by tonight. In the mean time, here is some extra reaction to the Steelers game last weekend from a Browns' fan:



I can barely make out something about Ben being the tire. There are cavemen/Cleveland jokes here, but nothing is coming to me at the moment.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Steelers Youtube Reaction

I'm working on something that has taken quite a bit of time... think Pirates Hall of Shame magnitude. This coupled with midterms means not a lot of time, but I did manage to find one entertaining youtube video that captured the true essence of the Steelers Browns game better than I ever could.

From what I can tell, this is actual game footage:



Look for the completed project on Thursday.

End of Post

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Stache Report: Browns vs. Steelers

- I will admit that coming into this season I had some doubt as to whether Ben was a franchise QB. Coming off a 23 INT season, I think most everyone did. But what he has done this season has not only solidified his stance as a franchise QB, but in my mind I also think he’s the 3rd best QB in the league behind Brady and Manning. And as it relates to Manning, even then I’m not sure if I’d take him over Ben. What he is able to do game in and game out, shrugging off defenders like it’s nothing and willing this team to victory is incredible. He’s also a humble guy who gives credit every week to his receivers and offensive line, even when they play like crap. Contrast that with Manning, who in the midst of a terrible game by his offense on Sunday night sat idly by himself on the sideline with a miserable disposition. Is that the sign of a leader? If Ben were in the same situation, I have no doubt he would be on the sideline, going to his O-line and receivers and telling them that he was going to go out and win the game.

- One guy on the offense who has been outstanding to date has been Heath Miller. The guy doesn’t drop anything. Can you remember the last time he dropped a pass? When Ben is in trouble, Miller is the guy he’s looking for. Heath deserves a spot in the Pro Bowl.

- James Harrison made his presence felt once again, as he was responsible for arguably the turning point in the game. He was able to strip Jamal Lewis of the football, and the Steelers cashed in with a Hines Ward touchdown reception to get them going and pull within five. He also insisted that he be placed on the punt coverage team on the final Steelers punt of the game, and guess who was there to bring down Cribbs?

- That’s a nice segway to the special teams, who should be embarrassed with the grab ass effort they put in. We read all summer about how much time was spent in training camp on special teams. Hell, they even hired an assistant special teams coach. And then game time rolls around, and the results are beyond bad. The Cribbs touchdown return was some of the most embarrassing special teams play I’ve ever seen. And it doesn’t get any easier. All of the teams remaining on our schedule have return men that can kill us: Leon Washington (Jets), Ted Ginn (Dolphins), Glenn Holt (Bengals), Ellis Hobbs (Patriots), Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars), Dante Hall (Rams), and Ed Reed (Ravens).

- A lot of credit has to go to Tomlin and LeBeau for their defensive adjustments at halftime. They shut down the Browns offense in the 2nd half, and that’s no easy task. It seemed like we dropped more people in coverage in the 2nd half. As a result, Anderson had to hesitate and wasn’t able to complete those quick 3 step passes that he likes.

- There were challenge miscues by both coaching staffs. Once again, Tomlin made a hasty challenge on Cribbs TD return. There was plenty of time to look at the replay, and it was clear Cribbs never stepped out of bounds. I know it was a play of great magnitude, but even so there was no point in challenging it. We lost a timeout that we very well could have needed at the end of the game. The Browns were not as lucky. They ultimately paid the price when Crennel wasted two timeouts following the Heath Miller TD. For some odd reason, the Browns called a timeout following the play. Then, they decided to challenge the play and they subsequently lost, causing them to use another timeout. If you are planning on using a timeout in the first place, why not just challenge the play from the beginning?

- I have an issue with the Braylon Edwards touchdown. Specifically, I don’t think the call should have been reversed. The call on the field was an incomplete pass. It takes INDISPUTABLE and CONCLUSIVE evidence to overturn a call. The best analogy I heard was that if you asked 50 people watching the game in a bar what they thought, and all 50 agreed that the call should be overturned, then the call should be reversed. In this case, was it likely that Edwards got two feet in bounds? Yeah, probably. Was the replay evidence conclusive enough, though, that you could say for sure that he got both feet in bounds? In my opinion, no.

- This has been a recurring theme, but the pass protection needs to get better. The Browns had seven sacks all season prior to Sunday's game, and they were able to register four against the Steelers. Not good.

- Was it any surprise that the Heinz Field grass looked like utter shit, again? It’s clear the players can't get any footing on the surface. Check out Cribbs TD return. Allen Rossum is the first guy who has a shot at him, and he slips and falls, allowing Cribbs to head upfield. Willie Parker consistently had trouble maintaining footing and accelerating, and for a guy who’s main asset is speed, that makes it tough. A new surface is needed. Hopefully, on a national TV game against the Dolphins on a Monday night in two weeks, the field will be in such horrible shape that either the NFL demands the grass be replaced, or the Rooneys are so embarrassed by it that it leaves them with no choice. That same weekend, four WPIAL championship games will be played on Friday, as well as a Pitt game on Saturday. So imagine what the field will look like by Monday night.

- Finally, I’m sure many of you have seen this on Deadspin. But it’s too good of a video not to show here. If this doesn’t sum up the Ravens QB woes, I don’t know what does. If you are a Ravens fan and you see this, what are you thinking during the commercial break? Your starting QB is approximately 98 years old, and you see your backup do this while he's getting ready to go into the game:

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Those DAI Guys Know Their Stuff

What is most unfathaomable?

- The Pens being 3 games under .500
- Big Ben having his name tossed around with Elway, Favre, Brady and others after everything that transpired last year.
- Sam writing the following sentence last Friday..."If you're a betting man, picking the Broncos, Rams, Cardinals and Browns probably won't be a bad idea."

Number 3 is looking pretty good to me right now. Stache Report is coming soon. Good times on the gridiron, irritating times on the ice, and bad times for bank statements.
End of Post

Friday, November 9, 2007

Weekend Post 11/9

Last week, commenter Josh pointed out the large differential in the score when the Steelers win. 3 of us paid no heed. Then the Steelers went out and stomped the Ravens. My theory of "research is overrated, a 5 year old video game is beating you right now anyway" seems to be shot down, and will be replaced with "change my picks at 4 o'clock on Sunday and hope nobody notices". One interesting trend from our table: when all four of us pick the same team, that team is only 12-19 against the spread, and only 5-15 since week 4. If you're a betting man, picking the Broncos, Rams, Cardinals and Browns probably won't be a bad idea.

On a sidenote, this is the first time Pat is picking his games while sober. Let's see if it gets him back on track.

On to the picks:



The 'Stache Says

Home team in caps

Jacksonville (+4) over TENNESSEE

David Garrard has an outside chance to come back for this game, but I’m going to assume Quinn Gray gets the nod. This is one of those “hunch” picks I get from time to time. By my count, I have a 1-0-1 record on “hunch” picks. On paper, the Titans have the better defense and running game, plus they’re home. The Jaguars are struggling on defense. But they’ll be able to focus on stuffing the run, because the Titans passing attack is brutal. The Jaguars are the more desperate team, because all of the sudden Cleveland is nipping at their heels for the final playoff spot.

KANSAS CITY (-3) over Denver

I can’t believe we lost to Denver. They are falling apart. Their run defense is a joke. Priest Holmes will get the start this week, and I’m anxious to see how he performs. Should be interesting. I don’t see Denver coming into Arrowhead and putting up a fight, not with the way they have been playing. Coming off a blowout loss to Detroit and a devastating defeat at the hands of the Packers, no way am I going with Denver at one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.

MIAMI (+3) over Buffalo

The Bills have to be considered one of the surprise teams this year. A ton of injuries, not that talented to begin with, and they’re in the thick of things with a .500 record. I’m thinking the week off gave the Dolphins a chance to get away from football. Fully refreshed, I’m going to go with the home dog to get their first win against a team that seems to be winning with smoke and mirrors.

PITTSBURGH (-9.5) over Cleveland

I’m not going to lie, I feel very good about this game. That might not be good for the Steelers, because last time I felt good about a game they lost (vs. Denver) and last week I didn’t feel good about the game and they blew out Baltimore. Two of the Browns wins have come against the winless twins (Dolphins and Rams), and neither was in convincing fashion. Their defense is terrible, and their running game is not much better. Anderson, Edwards, and Winslow have been carrying them, but they’re going to get a taste of a real defense this Sunday.

NEW ORLEANS (-11.5) over St. Louis

A couple weeks ago I predicted the Saints, at 1-4, we’re not done and had a chance to still make a run at the NFC South. Now, they are rolling and are only ½ a game out of first place. Brees is playing lights out, they have some semblance of a defense, and if you put a gun to my head and told me to choose as of today who is going to win the NFC South, I’d say the Saints. The Rams suck, and I’m never picking them again. It will be like what I do with the Patriots, only the opposite. I won’t pick them until they get another win against the spread.

Atlanta (+4) over CAROLINA

It’s looks like the Panthers will jump back to Vinny Testaverde this Sunday. You have to consider Carolina as a team that will be looking hard at quarterback in the 1st round of next year’s draft. The Falcons, on the other hand, are coming off a rare win. When I can get points in a game where Vinny Testaverde is quarterbacking the favorite, I’m going to take them.

WASHINGTON (-3) over Philadelphia

Maybe Andy Reid should consider taking some time off. Seems like he kind of has a serious situation to deal with at home. I still want to know why Philly is getting this much respect from Vegas. This is, like, three weeks in a row I’ve asked this same question. In the gambling world, the line is a reflection of the home team getting three points. So what Vegas is telling me is that they view the Redskins and Eagles equally. Why? What have the Eagles shown the past couple of weeks?

GREEN BAY (-6) over Minnesota

I fear Adrian Peterson. I don’t know if I’ll ever gamble against the Vikings again, because of him. When I bet on the Bears a couple of weeks ago, Peterson single-handedly killed my bet. And then last week, I was this close to putting money on the Chargers before better judgment got the best of me (It went something like this: (BETTER JUDGEMENT): DON’T BET ON NORV!(ME): Oh yeah, right.) He would have killed me again last week. 296 yards? Damn. But the Vikings aren’t at home this week. The Favre-Driver-Jennings connection is on fire, and the Packers defense is one of the best in the NFL. Brett Favre at home vs. Tarvaris Jackson or Kelly Holcomb on the road. Seems like the line should be a bit higher.

Cincinnati (+4) over BALTIMORE

We know the Bengals defense is terrible. Problem is, the Ravens won’t take advantage of it. Have you ever seen more two yard crossing routes and tight end dump offs than you did Monday night? There is no vertical passing game with this team. NONE. The Bengals, on the other hand, should be able to take advantage of the Ravens secondary woes. And you’re getting 4 points to boot.

Chicago (-3.5) over OAKLAND

I read this week that Lane Kiffin plans on kicking to Devin Hester. And the reasoning is? Yeah, I don’t know either. Kicking to Hester is like Russian roulette. You’re going to get burned eventually. Why even give him the chance? This is, however, going to be a great quarterback matchup. Brian Griese vs. Josh McCown. I bet you will see this game on ESPN Classic ten years from now. Bears defense finally steps up.

NEW YORK GIANTS (+1) over Dallas

One thing the Giants can do is pressure the quarterback, and they can do it only with rushing four. That’s how good Umenyiora and Strahan are. They just might have the blueprint to beat New England. Get pressure with four to rattle Brady, but still be able to maintain your coverage against Moss, Stallworth, and Welker with seven covering. I see something similar this week. It will provide them the luxury to double Owens and still have enough people in coverage to keep tabs on Witten and Crayton. Some running room might be open for the Cowboys, but I don’t know if they have the discipline to stick with it. I get the feeling they want to chuck the ball. Give me the Giants at home.

Detroit (+1) over ARIZONA

All of the sudden, the Lions are running the ball and playing good defense. The schedule is going to get tougher, though. Shaun Rogers and company stuff Edgerrin James, and Kitna and his wide receivers will go to the air against a week Cardinals secondary. Warner is wounded and still immobile, and he’ll be going up against a pretty good pass rush: the Lions are tied for 5th in the NFL in sacks, with 24.

SAN DIEGO (+3.5) over Indianapolis

After a crushing defeat last week, the Colts have to travel cross-country to play on Sunday Night against a team that should be desperate and fired up. I was going to go with Norv last week but smartly backed off. By no means will I place money on this game (because of Norv), but the Chargers definitely have the weapons to keep up with the Colts. If Marvin Harrison can’t go, it makes it that much tougher on Reggie Wayne because teams can just roll coverage to his side. There’s a little bit of bias here, too. I’m going to be rooting for the Chargers, because now we are in a fight with the Colts for the #2 seed. Getting it would be huge, because it would mean Indy would come to Pittsburgh in the 2nd round. And I would like you to imagine how a team that’s built for speed, with guys like Freeney, Mathis, Sanders, Addai, and Wayne would fare on the muddy, shitty Heinz Field turf in mid-January.

San Francisco (+10) over SEATTLE

My, how Monday Night Football has fallen. In-Studio guests who have nothing to do with the game, and crappy matchups like this one. If they can get anyone to watch this crapfest it should be considered a success. Every week, there is one game I don’t feel like writing about. This is it.

Steelers Oriented Purchase You Wouldn't Buy Until You Saw It At Gabe's For $10


"Mike Tomczaks Pocket Rocket 24 volt - $150"


This item can be found on craigslist with the following description: "This used to be former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Mike Tomczaks. It runs but needs a 24 volt charger cord." I know Tomczak went to Ohio State, thus explaining the color scheme, but you think he could've splurged a bit more on the size. It is probably safer than a Suzuki Hayabusa, though.

Thats all I've got, folks. For suggestions on how to fix the Penguins, be sure to read Pat's article below.

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Oh, How it Burns

Rather than rationally assess the problems of the struggling Pens, I am going to suggest a number of quick-fix solutions that are sure to never happen.

- resign Ron Tugnutt
- put Laraque on a line with Crosby
- put Mike Yeo on a line with Crosby
- always put Orpik first in the shootout
- fine Malkin for every pass he makes that is not from his knees or behind his back
- appoint Jordan Staal the team's new social chair
- encourage Max Talbot to become the Jeff Reed of the NHL
- put Therrien on a line with Crosby
- tell Colby Armstrong that the Sens are on the schedule for 82 games this year
- tell Mark Recchi that it is 1991
- get Mario in the weightroom

Prepostorous suggestions? Obviously. But what other suggestions are there for this team? I could make real suggestions, but none of them would be confidently asserted. It's a frustrating situation, to be sure.

Here is a pick me up: the Steelers are the number one brand in sports. Accordingly, we should all go out and get branded. See you in the cow field.
End of Post


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Stache Report: Ravens vs. Steelers

- We like to throw around the term “meast” around these parts (for those who don’t know, a “meast” is a “half-man, half-beast.” I wish I could take credit for it, but I cannot.) Monday night James Harrison was a legitimate “meast.” Was there anything he didn’t do? 9 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an INT. Simply put, it was the best performance I have ever seen by a Steelers linebacker. It can only be rivaled by Joey Porter’s performance in a Week 2 Sunday Night game against Oakland in 2002, where Porter recorded 11 tackles, 3 sacks, and two INTs. Still, Harrison’s game was better. And it’s not like he’s focusing only on outside linebacker. He’s one of our better special teams players as well. Is there any doubt the Steelers made the right decision in releasing Porter? Let’s compare: Harrison signed a 4-year, $5.5 million contract with $1.35 million guaranteed with the Steelers in 2006. Porter signed a 5-year, $32 million with $20 million guaranteed this offseason with the Dolphins. Harrison’s stats from Monday’s game, again: 9 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, INT. Porter’s stats for the ENTIRE 2007 season: 27 tackles, 1 sack, 0 forced fumbles, 0 INT. You do the math.

- On the other side of the ball, what can you say about Ben Roethlisberger. The guy is on pace for 40 touchdowns this season. What I like even better is that he’s on pace for only 12 INTs. It’s impossible to bring the guy down. He just brushes off defenders like it’s nothing, casually rolls out, and finds a wide open receiver. Sure, the Ravens were missing both their starting cornerbacks. In my opinion that didn’t matter much, because both Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle are shells of their former self. As a cornerback, I can’t imagine how tough it is to face a guy who can move around like Ben can. You can only hold your coverage for so long, and it’s easy for wide receivers to break off their routes and find an open spot in the coverage. He’s also a threat to run, which means as a defensive back you have to make a decision whether to come up and stop the scramble or stick with your coverage at the expense of some rushing yards.

- One thing that was purely evident to me after watching the game is how tight of a group this team is. They’re constantly supporting each other, and it’s not just limited to guys at the same position. You saw Keisel and Holmes hugging and celebrating on the sideline after his first TD. How often do you see a defensive end and wide receiver celebrating after a touchdown? Then there was Willie Colon backing up Jeff Reed when Skippy went after Trevor Pryce. And then there was Big Ben shrugging off injury to check back into the game to, in his words, “be there for my guys.” These guys genuinely like each other. They are bonding well under Tomlin, and that can only be a good thing as the season progresses. All you have to do is look to Cincinnati to see what can happen when there is turmoil within the lockerroom.

- Speaking of Ben checking back into the game, this was an absolutely boneheaded move by Tomlin. The score is 38-7 in the 4th quarter. I don’t care if Ben had something so much as a hangnail and had to come out for only one play. Once he came out of the game due to the injury, he should have never been let back in. Hell, he probably should have been pulled before the injury occurred. Ben probably came up to Tomlin and told him he was fine, but it’s Tomlin’s job to step in and tell him no. There was absolutely nothing to gain from him coming back in there. Luckily, he came out of the game without any further damage, but I know I was cringing when he went down on that last sack.

- For how right I was about the Detroit Lions, you can equally say how wrong I was about the Ravens, my Super Bowl pick for this season. I should have realized how old this team was. I thought Steve McNair had a couple of good seasons left, but it looks like he doesn’t. Jonathan Ogden is breaking down. The secondary is in shambles. The front 7 is still very good, and they didn’t allow much operating room for the Steelers run game. But when you have a quarterback that looks finished, an offensive line and secondary decimated by injuries, and 3 division losses already, it’s safe to say that the Ravens can probably start making vacation plans for January.

- Lost in the shuffle of this dominating performance was the fact that the first Steeler offensive lineman benched in the blowout was Kendall Simmons, who was replaced by Chris Kemoeatu. I don’t know what to make of this, but I can tell you that Simmons is going to be a liability for the rest of the season. He’s good for one holding penalty and one false start per game. I cannot believe he got an extension. Seriously, just focus on him from time to time. Do you trust him against guys like John Henderson and Marcus Stroud in Jacksonville? Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour in New England?

- Good to see Troy back to his active self. He forced the McGahee fumble and registered 7 tackles. One guy that needs to return is Aaron Smith. The run defense was good for the most part, but what was troubling was McGahee’s 33-yard TD run. It was run right in the spot where Aaron Smith would have been holding his ground. In his place was a gaping hole because Kirschke got abused on the play.

- Big game next week against the Stains. Who would have thought that would be the case after we kicked their ass in week 1? Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem. The Browns are ranked dead last in pass defense, and opposing quarterbacks have an average QB rating of 94.0 against them. They rank 27th in run defense, allowing 4.6 yards per carry. And they’re also allowing a league high 411 yards per game. They are winning games because of their offense. I’m not a full believer in Derek Anderson yet. How can a guy go from not being able to beat out Charlie Frye to becoming what people are saying is a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback, all in the span of 8 weeks? He’ll be exposed at some point, and it very well might be this week. The rest of the offense has been better than expected. Jamal Lewis is running hard, just like in his early years with Baltimore. Winslow, Edwards, and Jurevicius worry me, because they can cause matchup problems with their size. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that this is the same old Browns, and the way the Steelers are playing right now you get the sense they’re going to get on a roll. With games against the Browns, Jets, Dolphins, and Bengals coming up, it just might be that time.

End of Post

Monday, November 5, 2007

Joey Who?


If you watched the game tonight, then you know that this Cleveland Browns fan is nicely symbolic of the entire Ravens team tonight. I don't even know where to begin with James Harrison. I said it to numerous people tonight, but in the first quarter I thought there was a reasonable chance that #92 would inadvertantly commit a homicide during the game. Tackles, freakish forced fumbles, INT, two near safeties, sacks galore, personal fouls...legendary stuff.

Ben evaded tacklers at will. Hines deeeeeestroyed people. Holmes was stellar. And to top it all off, all of this went on before the eyes of the Super Steelers. My dad and brother (J Staal Junior) were there tonight and said that the halftime montage was more than electric. They did the classic "Renegade" montage only this time with highlights from the 70s in the background.

Much more on this victory to come. Oh, and don't look now, but I think there might be a full-fledged goalie controversy in town.
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Monday Thoughts/Threats

We rarely post on Mondays, so I thought I would try and break that habit. Some quick hits...

- For the first weekend this year, I did not hear from the 'stache. Our online gambling account shows net gain (I think), so hopefully he had something to do with that. Either that, or Gus the Bookie finally tracked him down.

- A devastating last two games for the Pens. I really don't want to say anything because a) it's in the past and b) this team is capable of getting very hot very quickly (see: spring run last year). But, they are also capabale of giving up huge leads. Devils tonight, Flyers Wednesday, Rangers Thursday, Flyers Saturday. Three of those on the road. Not saying it is make-or-break time, but that is one hell of a week coming up.

- The Pirates hired a manager.

- In more relevant news, the Steelers play tonight. Everyone seems to think that this is going to be an "old-school, rock em sock em, smash mouth" game. Everyone also thought that the Colts-Pats matchup yesterday would be a shootout. Just to be clear, the Ravens have played the Bengals, Jets, Cardinals, Browns, 49ers, Rams, and Bills. That is cream-puff central. Coincidentally, that schedule almost mirrors the Steelers' schedule (onlythe Rams make the Ravens' docket slightly worse). The point: both of these teams have played garbage competition and I don't think there is any reason to expect that this game plays out as everyone expects it to.

- Sam if you don't change the color scheme I will write a daily article reminding you that your QB is Anthony Morelli.
End of Post

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Weekend Post

I was standing in line at Panda Express, anticipating a mound of gooey Orange chicken, when I overheard the two guys in front of me talking about the NHL. I was elated. They were ripping on Sid, saying he wouldn't have lasted in the old NHL when "you could still play physical." Even after this, I was still happy. At least the NHL is being talked about, no matter how ill-informed the discussion may be. On top of this, the one kid was wearing a Yankee hat cocked to the side with the sticker still on the bill. Doesn't sound like hockey's typical fan, but I can't complain. Some random people were talking about hockey while waiting in line for their lunch...has to be a good sign, right?

The Dreamcast is 1 game away from taking the lead and becoming self aware. I thought about making a new guarantee about the Dreamcast not winning, but I thought better of it.

On to the picks:


The 'Stache Says:

Home team in caps

Washington (-3.5) over NEW YORK JETS

The Jets finally made the move to bench Pennington. In comes Kellen Clemens,but he’ll have to face a tough defense right off the bat. Never mind the 45 points the defense gave up last week. That was to New England, which makes it the exception rather than the rule. I thought the Jets would be a middle of the road team that might be able to make it to .500. In reality, they’ve been even worse. Redskins dominate.

Green Bay (+2) over KANSAS CITY

This is a tough one. If this game were at Lambeau the line would be something like Packers -6. It’s a testament to how good of a team the Chiefs are at the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium. Still, I think the Packers are a better team and are good enough to go on the road and win at a hostile environment, as they did last Monday against the Broncos.

TAMPA BAY (-3.5) over Arizona

The Cardinals are coming off a bye and should be well rested. I can’t shake the feeling that Warner might go down again, and I sure as hell don’t want this pick riding on Tim Rattay. I’ll take the steady QB in Jeff Garcia at home.

TENNESSEE (-4) over Carolina

David Carr looks like he’ll be getting the nod at QB for the Panthers. It’s pretty sad when many of your fans prefer the alternative, and the alternative is Vinny Testaverde. The Titans aren’t getting good QB play from Vince Young, but their defense is playing outstanding and will be the difference in this game.

San Francisco (+3) over ATLANTA

What a miserable game. I feel bad for anyone who has to watch this piece of crap. It’s so bad I don’t feel like writing about it anymore.

Jacksonville (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS

I bet on the Jags-Bucs game last week (I won’t tell you who I bet on, but if you have been following my gambling exploits this season you can probably guess). The Jaguars protected Quinn Gray early on in the game by running the ball on something like the first twelve of their offensive plays. I think they follow a similar game plan this week with Jones-Drew and Taylor, and the Saints can be run on. On the other side of the ball look for the Jaguars defense and Marcus Steroid (er… I mean Stroud) to shut down the Saints reinvigorated offense.

DETROIT (-3) over Denver

Wait, what is this? The Lions are 5-2 and threatening for a playoff spot? I could have sworn someone was singing their praises before the season. The Lions defense showed signs of life last week. If they can play like that when the offense is clicking, watch out. Denver is reeling from Monday night, where Favre and his WR corps beat both Champ Bailey and Dre Bly for long TDs. Kitna, Williams, and Johnson do the same this week. Looking for an interesting matchup down the line? How about Packers at Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

Cincinnati (PK) over BUFFALO

The Bengals defense is awful, but honestly, if they can’t stop the Bills offense than they should be relegated to the Arena League. I like the matchup of the Bengals offense against the Bills defense more than the Bills offense against the Bengals defense. Then again, this game is in Buffalo where the Bills play much better. I really don’t have much faith in the Bengals, but I’m going with them anyways.

San Diego (-7) over MINNESOTA

Usually, this is the spot where I tell you how bad of a coach Norv Turner is. And he still is. But maybe he can’t even mess up the talent that the Chargers have. The addition of Chris Chambers made a huge difference last week. It’s why Antonio Gates was open all day against the Texans. Back to Norv. He’s a terrible coach, but he may have met his match in coaching shittiness in the form of Brad Childress. You have an awesome offensive weapon in Adrian Peterson, and yet you are using him as a kick returner and having him split carries with Chester Taylor. On that stupidity alone I’m taking the Chargers.

CLEVELAND (-1) over Seattle

It’s the game everyone has been waiting for. Charlie Frye’s return to the city of Cleveland! I don’t think I’ve picked the Browns all year, so what better time than now. Braylon Edwards is becoming one of the top WR’s in the league, and Derek Anderson has come out of nowhere to provide quality QB play. Meanwhile, the Seahawks seem like a team that just doesn’t care anymore. I think Holmgren’s message has gotten stale there, much like Cowher’s did here in Pittsburgh.

New England (-5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS

The Indianapolis Colts. 7-0. Playing at home. Underdogs. The Colts are home underdogs. How often does that happen? And I’m still going with New England. One guy who always seems to kill the Patriots is Dallas Clark. But New England’s offseason signing of Adalius Thomas should come in handy here. He has the range and coverage ability to hang with Clark. As if the Patriots needed further additions to the defense, Richard Seymour should be close to full speed this week after getting his feet wet last week. I like the matchup of Moss, Stallworth/Welker against Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden. I think Belichick is pissed off that the Colts have gotten the better of his team the past three meetings, and he’ll pull out all the stops to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Follow the golden rule this season. Never bet against the Patriots.

OAKLAND (-3) over Houston

See description for San Francisco vs. Atlanta

Dallas (-3) over PHILADELPHIA

No, Philly’s win last week against the Vikings did not persuade me. I still don’t like the Eagles. They might get up for this game though, seeing that it’s Sunday Night against one of their main rivals. Brian Dawkins coming back also helps. But I think Marion Barber and Julius Jones will be big in this game. The Eagles will be focused on stopping Owens, Crayton and Witten, so I think some running room should be there. The recent distractions facing Andy Reid don’t help the cause.

Baltimore (+9) over PITTSBURGH

I don’t get this line. I really don’t. In fact, I think it’s the most surprising line of the season. Look, the Ravens dominated us twice last year. They’re 4-3 this year. Not great, but not chopped liver either. Their defense matches up well against us. I don’t even want to think about Kendall Simmons going up against Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg in the middle. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Ravens win this game. I’d love to be wrong. I’d love a 21 point Steelers win. But I really see a close, hard fought game. Am I missing something?

Just Chillin Competition: Kickers


Rhys Lloyd

VS



Who is Rhys Lloyd? He's been released by the Ravens a few times, but just keeps coming back. Why am I using him? Because he may be the only kicker that had a shot at Mr. Reed. He's a former soccer player originally from England, so a hand down his pants is not that big of a deal. However, his facebook page delves further into the complexity that is Rhys Lloyd.



For the first time ever, I'm picking the opposing teams' player. Skip may be inappropriate, but until he claims he's pulled an R. Kelly, I can't give him the W.

Winner: Ravens

Pittsburgh Related Item That You Would Never Think About Buying Until You See It at Gabe's for $5 and Think "Why The Hell Not":



"Jaromie Jagr Pittsburgh Penguins 8 x 10 Lithograph" - $15.99

Yes, that's right, Jaromie. I can't decide, is the 68 supposed to be an extension of his hair or is it supposed to have some sort of symbolic meaning that only the artist can ever tell us about? The slightly raised left eyebrow endows a sense of mystery, while the stare contains the fire that was only rekindled by Ivan Hlinka. It's moving, quite frankly. A couple days ago I'd only pay $3.39, but any image of Jagr with teeth has increased in value recently. Let's go with $5.17.

One last picture Item:

Friend of the site blueline1925 sends us this dead on comparison of the cuddly Mark Madden and former Wrestler/Manager Captain Lou:



Says Blueline: "Just add some rubberband-piercings to his face and put Cyndi Lauper under his arm, and the Slovenly One could be the progeny of good ole Captain Lou."

Post of the Week:

Blog 'N Gold's "Top 10 headlines that would scare the bejeezus out of a Steeler fan"

Didn't come across too many Halloween themed posts this week, let alone any as witty and well done.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, enjoy the extra hour of sleep.

End of Post