PDA

View Full Version : Dreaming of Best Possible Playoff Draw for Steelers



hawaiiansteel
12-25-2010, 03:59 PM
Dreaming of and Rooting for Best Possible Playoff Draw for Steelers

Posted on December 24, 2010 by ted

http://sportsgiftsworld.com/images/12988.jpg

The Steelers (11-4) have already clenched a playoff berth and are in excellent shape to be the AFC’s No. 2 seed, thus receiving an ultra-important bye in the wild-card round and a home game in the divisional round.

However, the Patriots (12-2) are clearly the best team in the AFC and a matchup nightmare for D!ck LeBeau’s defense so long as Tom Brady is healthy, evident by Brady’s 6-1 career mark as a starter against the Steelers (although that could easily be 3-3 if New England did not steal Steeler signals in two AFC championship games at Heinz Field and yes, I still believe those cheats should have an asterik placed beside two of their three Super Bowl wins).

Moreover, an ideal scenario would have the Steelers not playing the Ravens (10-4) or Chargers (8-6) in the divisional round and playing anyone but the Patriots in the AFC championship game, which would also be at Heinz Field if New England is ousted in the divisional round.

Here is what needs to transpire to give Pittsburgh its best chance of winning a seventh Super Bowl title, because the Steelers would be unlikely to win a conference championship game at a New England squad that has not lost at home since 2006 despite being more down in recent years than the Patriots were in the first half of last decade.

First, obviously Pittsburgh must secure the No. 2 seed and the AFC North title by either (A) winning at Cleveland in week No. 17 or (B) ideally seeing the Browns upset the visiting Ravens this weekend, which would allow Pittsburgh to inactivate or rest most of its key players against the Browns and also make it less likely that Pittsburgh could see Baltimore in the divisional playoffs.

Now, the Steelers can beat the Ravens and would be favored to do so as long as Raven-slayer Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and especially with a potential game at Heinz Field. But the Ravens are the team among the six the Steelers could realistically face in a divisional-round game in Pittsburgh that Steeler fans should least want to face.

In short, here is the order of potential playoff opponents Pittsburgh fans should want to meet in the upcoming AFC playoffs:

1. Jacksonville (8-6) – A nice matchup for both sides of the ball and revenge for the home playoff loss after the 2007 season to a much-better Jaguars squad than this one.

2. Kansas City (9-5) – Run-based offense is a perfect matchup for LeBeau’s defense. The Chiefs are better defensively than the Jaguars, but there is no way this youthful team could come into Pittsburgh and win a second consecutive playoff game this year.

3. Indianapolis (8-6) – I never want to face Peyton Manning, but this injury-laden Colts squad scares me less than any that have made the playoffs with Manning. Stick Ike Taylor on Reggie Wayne and the Steelers have no other matchup problems in what would ideally be a windy blizzard at Heinz Field.

4. New York Jets (10-4) – I know they beat us two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, but that does not happen if Troy Polamalu plays or if we get the pass interference calls that should have been flagged and would be for a home playoff team. The thought of Mark Sanchez coming into Pittsburgh for a playoff game is wonderful and Pittsburgh moved the ball far better than expected against a strong Jets’ defense two weeks ago. This could be a loss for sure, but I would give the Steelers a 65% shot of winning this game, especially with 2-3 weeks rest and the Jets having to win a road game the week before.

5. San Diego (8-6) – Yes, the Steelers own the Chargers, San Diego has absolutely no run game, the injury to Antonio Gates takes away a key weapon, and all their big WRs are actually a good matchup for the Steelers CBs. However, this is the best defense the Chargers have had in recent years and Phillip Rivers would regularly and successfully pick on Steeler CBs Bryant McFadden and William Gay, sort of like any decent NFL QB regularly picks on those two.

6. Baltimore (10-4) – Always a bloodbath against our mirror image. I hate these guys, but respect them so much.

7. New England (12-2) – Steeler fans have too much hubris if they want to see a rematch against a team that dominated Pittsburgh in all facets of the game from start to finish in mid-Novemember at Heinz Field. Yes, Pittsburgh could win at New England, but the odds of doing so would be long.

Currently, this is how teams would be seeded in the AFC playoffs: (1) New England, (2) Pittsburgh, (3) Kansas City, (4) Indianapolis, (5) Baltimore, (6) N.Y. Jets. The negatives of this are that (A) I think both road teams would have a great chance of winning in the wild-card round, meaning Pittsburgh would face Baltimore in the divisional round and (B) the Colts are in the playoffs instead of the Jaguars.

Ideally, this is how teams would be seeded for the playoffs: (1) New England, (2) Pittsburgh, (3) Kansas City, (4) Jacksonville, (5) New York Jets, (6) Baltimore. For this to happen, the Colts would need to lose either at Oakland or at home versus the Titans while Jacksonville wins out, the Ravens lose once (most likely to the Browns) and the Jets win out, because Baltimore has a head-to-head edge over the Jets, and Kansas City wins out, thus keeping the dangerous Chargers out of the playoffs.

This scenario would mean that Baltimore would travel to New England for a divisional playoff game if the Ravens win in the wild-card round, with the Steelers ideally facing Jacksonville. However, even better than the Steelers not playing the Ravens would be that Pittsburgh needs someone to knock of the Pats. Based on personnel matchups, the two teams most capable of doing so would be the Ravens (who won at New England in the playoffs last year) and San Diego.

Of course, Pittsburgh wants San Diego out of the playoffs to improve its chances of reaching an amazing 7th conference championship (i.e., NFL Final Four) in the last 15 years, which would be an amazing accomplishment this year with all the adversity the Steelers have had on and off the field.

Plus, the beauty of the Ravens facing the Pats is even if Baltimore does not win, you know the Ravens will physically beat up New England, giving the Steelers a better shot of winning at Foxboro the following week. Ideally, though, the Steelers and Ravens would meet in an AFC championship for the second time in three seasons and no NFL officials show up so these two badass teams are allowed to play football the way it is supposed to be play, which is what transpired in Jan. 2009.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/d ... -steelers/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/dreaming-rooting-playoff-draw-steelers/)

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-25-2010, 05:12 PM
I didn't get to read this all the way through yet, but I want to meet the Jets again and crush them. After that loss a few weeks ago, the universe seems seriously unbalanced, that would fix it.

Ozey74
12-25-2010, 09:04 PM
Indy matches up well with the Pats & I think they have the best shot of taking them out at Foxboro. Indy is to the Pats, what the Ravens are to our Steelers. Games are always close they can go either way. IMO, our best shot at hosting the AFC Championship game is having the Colts win their wildcard game and have them be paired against the Pats the following week. Colts over Pats, & the following week Colts @ Steelers.


:tt2

Irongut
12-25-2010, 10:05 PM
Playoff bye
Beat the Jets
Beat the Pats
Beat the Eagles

That would be my preferred wins to the trophy.

eniparadoxgma
12-25-2010, 11:00 PM
Playoff bye
Beat the Jets
Beat the Pats
Beat the Eagles

That would be my preferred wins to the trophy.

I'm the same except I think I'd rather beat the Ratbirds again in place of the Jets.

BradshawsHairdresser
12-26-2010, 01:49 AM
My dream is that we go to Foxboro and kick Patriot behind.

Of course, we would have to approach the game in a dramatically different way than when we played the *'s a few weeks ago.

AngryAsian
12-26-2010, 07:26 AM
Could give a **** less about hubris... I want to win a Super Bowl through Foxboro. Tired of the Bellicheat monkey on our backs. Nothing would be sweeter than bringing home #7 Lombardi at the cost of Brady.

papillon
12-26-2010, 10:08 AM
Playoff bye
Beat the Jets
Beat the Pats
Beat the Eagles

That would be my preferred wins to the trophy.

This would be my ideal outcome as well. No questions, no doubt and #7.

Pappy

NW Steeler
12-26-2010, 03:46 PM
Could give a **** less about hubris... I want to win a Super Bowl through Foxboro. Tired of the Bellicheat monkey on our backs. Nothing would be sweeter than bringing home #7 Lombardi at the cost of Brady.


I agree 100%. And it will likely happen if things unfold as they are looking like they will. Well, playing the Pats that is. Beating them in Foxboro would almost be as sweet as the SB itself!

Shawn
12-26-2010, 06:58 PM
Could give a **** less about hubris... I want to win a Super Bowl through Foxboro. Tired of the Bellicheat monkey on our backs. Nothing would be sweeter than bringing home #7 Lombardi at the cost of Brady.


I agree 100%. And it will likely happen if things unfold as they are looking like they will. Well, playing the Pats that is. Beating them in Foxboro would almost be as sweet as the SB itself!

That's kinda silly if you ask me. Why would we want to face a team who's strengths match up perfectly with our weaknesses? I want to win a 7th more than I want to beat the Pats.

IMO, the only way the Steelers can beat the Pats is if Brady isn't playing, or if they do indeed face the Ravens the week before. I agree with the author on all accounts...Beating the Ravens and the Steelers in back to back weeks would be a feat even for a team playing as well as the Pats.

Shawn
12-26-2010, 06:59 PM
Indy matches up well with the Pats & I think they have the best shot of taking them out at Foxboro. Indy is to the Pats, what the Ravens are to our Steelers. Games are always close they can go either way. IMO, our best shot at hosting the AFC Championship game is having the Colts win their wildcard game and have them be paired against the Pats the following week. Colts over Pats, & the following week Colts @ Steelers.


:tt2

$$$

hawaiiansteel
12-26-2010, 07:55 PM
NFL Playoff Picture: Ravens Win Causes Steelers Discomfort

by Charlie Wilmoth • Dec 26, 2010


Here's a quick look at some AFC scores that are relevant as the Steelers wait to see how the NFL playoff picture will shape up. To no one's surprise, the Patriots crushed the Bills, 34-3, clinching the best record in the AFC. The Ravens, unfortunately, beat the Browns, which means that the Steelers will have to play hard against the Browns next week to win a first-round bye in the playoffs and also increases the likelihood that they will have to play the Ravens at some point. The Jets' 38-34 loss to the Bears today also increases this likelihood.

The Chiefs just beat the Titans, increasing their lead over the rest of the AFC West. The Jaguars, meanwhile, just lost in overtime against the Redskins, whose defense played very well. Jacksonville's loss opens the door for the Colts to win the AFC South, which is too bad, because the Colts are more dangerous than the Jaguars are. So here's how the playoff seeds would shape up as of right now:

1. Patriots 13-2

2. Steelers 11-4

3. Chiefs 10-5

4. Colts 8-6

5. Ravens 11-4

6. Jets 10-5

If things ended up like this, Steelers fans would want to root for the Chiefs against the Jets in the Wild Card round so that they could face Kansas City instead of Baltimore (or Indianapolis, which isn't quite as tough but still would be a more difficult matchup than the Chiefs) in the divisional round. Their three possible divisional round opponents would be the Chiefs, Colts and Ravens.

http://pittsburgh.sbnation.com/pittsbur ... s-patriots (http://pittsburgh.sbnation.com/pittsburgh-steelers/2010/12/26/1897105/nfl-playoff-picture-ravens-steelers-chiefs-jets-colts-patriots)

hawaiiansteel
12-27-2010, 01:02 AM
Only one playoff spot left in AFC

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on December 26, 2010


Sunday’s results cleared things up quite a bit, especially in the AFC. San Diego’s choke in Cincinnati decided the AFC West and both wild card spots are settled. Here’s how things stand:

1. New England (13-2): The Patriots have clinched homefield advantage with their win in Buffalo. Bill Belichick has traditionally played his starters in Week 17 in similar situations, but not every time. He may want his young defense to continue to get work against the Dolphins.

2. Pittsburgh (11-4): The Steelers have to win a tricky game in Cleveland or hope the Ravens lose to the Bengals to clinch the No. 2 seed and the AFC North crown. Otherwise, Pittsburgh could fall all the way to the No. 6 seed. Browns-Steelers thus becomes one of the bigger Week 17 AFC games.

3. Kansas City (10-5): The Chiefs are AFC West champions. A win over the Raiders next week would clinch the No. 3 seed in the conference. A loss and a win by the Colts would push Kansas City down to No. 4. (And possibly stuck going to Foxborough in round two. Something to think about if the Chiefs consider resting folks.)

4. Indianapolis (9-6): A win or tie against the Titans next week wins the division for the Colts. A loss by the Jaguars in Houston also puts the Colts in. Like we said above, the Colts could still be the three seed.

5. Baltimore (11-4): The Ravens are in. They need a win and a loss by the Steelers to go all the up to the No. 2 seed. They can’t fall below the Jets because they beat New York in Week 1.

6. New York (10-5): Rex Ryan is relieved the Jets are in. To move up a spot, the Jets would need to win and have the Steelers lose and have the Ravens win. It sounds like they won’t even play their starters next week.

7. Jacksonville (8-7): The loss to the Redskins wasn’t that damaging, really. Because the Colts won in Oakland, the Jaguars would have needed the Colts to lose to the Titans in Week 17 for a chance to win the division. That’s still the case. Jacksonville needs to win in Houston and get a Colts loss to the Titans to get the No. 4 seed. Simple.

8-16: Everyone else: Try again next year.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...t-left-in-afc/

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
12-27-2010, 11:06 AM
No matter how it all unfolds...I believe the Wildcard teams will win the Wildcard games week 1 of the playoffs. I believe week 2 will consist of the Pats, Steelers, Ravens, & Jets. Who plays were will be on the AFC North outcome.


That being said, Best scenario would be Steelers beating Browns...Of course. Next for the Steelers would be one of KC or Indy/Jack winning their hosted game. That would put a division champ in Pittsburgh & a wildcard team in NE. I believe "matchup" wise, the Steelers would have a better game at Heinz against any of the 3 possible division champs. Let the Jets or Ravens travel to NE. I believe Jets or Ravens could beat or soften Pats if the Steelers win their hosted game. I believe this would be the best road. If the Steelers "have to" go to NE...I would like the Pats to have to get by the Jets or Ravens first. If by some luck one of them beat the Pats, I feel pretty good about game #3 of the Ravens series in Pitt or the rematch of the Jets in Pitt. Just my take.

Jigawatts
12-27-2010, 02:25 PM
Could give a **** less about hubris... I want to win a Super Bowl through Foxboro. Tired of the Bellicheat monkey on our backs. Nothing would be sweeter than bringing home #7 Lombardi at the cost of Brady.


I agree 100%. And it will likely happen if things unfold as they are looking like they will. Well, playing the Pats that is. Beating them in Foxboro would almost be as sweet as the SB itself!

That's kinda silly if you ask me. Why would we want to face a team who's strengths match up perfectly with our weaknesses? I want to win a 7th more than I want to beat the Pats.

IMO, the only way the Steelers can beat the Pats is if Brady isn't playing, or if they do indeed face the Ravens the week before. I agree with the author on all accounts...Beating the Ravens and the Steelers in back to back weeks would be a feat even for a team playing as well as the Pats.

While I would love to see the Steelers take out the Pats at Gillette, I just don't see that
happening. They crushed us a few weeks ago at Heinz and have done nothing in the
following weeks but get better. It almost seems like this Steelers team automatically
lays down in front of the Pats out of fear. They have no confidence.

Nothing would be sweeter then going through New England to get to the Super Bowl,
but our best chance is to hope another team skates past them and the Steelers take
care of business at home.

Oh, and I got AFC championship tickets, so someone better beat the Pats. :wink: :D

RuthlessBurgher
12-27-2010, 02:51 PM
If the current seeding remains the same after next week:

1. NE
2. PIT
3. KC
4. IND
5. BAL
6. NYJ

Then we'd have NYJ @ KC and BAL @ IND in the wild card round.

If the Chiefs beat the Jets, we host the Chiefs in round 2. NE hosts the Ravens-Colts winner.

If the Jets beat the Chiefs, they go to NE, and we get the winner of Ravens-Colts at Heinz.

Shawn
12-27-2010, 07:33 PM
Could give a **** less about hubris... I want to win a Super Bowl through Foxboro. Tired of the Bellicheat monkey on our backs. Nothing would be sweeter than bringing home #7 Lombardi at the cost of Brady.


I agree 100%. And it will likely happen if things unfold as they are looking like they will. Well, playing the Pats that is. Beating them in Foxboro would almost be as sweet as the SB itself!

That's kinda silly if you ask me. Why would we want to face a team who's strengths match up perfectly with our weaknesses? I want to win a 7th more than I want to beat the Pats.

IMO, the only way the Steelers can beat the Pats is if Brady isn't playing, or if they do indeed face the Ravens the week before. I agree with the author on all accounts...Beating the Ravens and the Steelers in back to back weeks would be a feat even for a team playing as well as the Pats.

While I would love to see the Steelers take out the Pats at Gillette, I just don't see that
happening. They crushed us a few weeks ago at Heinz and have done nothing in the
following weeks but get better. It almost seems like this Steelers team automatically
lays down in front of the Pats out of fear. They have no confidence.

Nothing would be sweeter then going through New England to get to the Super Bowl,
but our best chance is to hope another team skates past them and the Steelers take
care of business at home.

Oh, and I got AFC championship tickets, so someone better beat the Pats. :wink: :D

While you can never say never I certainly agree with you. 8 out 10 times the Pats will win this match up. With Brady this hot, you had better have a strong secondary and the ability to get pressure with 4 guys. We have neither the ability to penetrate that OL with 4 guys or a strong secondary. We can not score enough points to hang with them this year.

On the other hand, the Colts are built to give the Pats a run for their money. When Manning gets hot, he can put up points as well as anyone. With Freeney, they have the ability to apply pressure with minimum commitment.

Our best bet is some other team eliminate the Pats. I don't think there is another team that will beat us in the playoffs...not the Ravens, not the Colts, and certainly not the Chiefs or the Jets.

Mark my word, if we play the Jets again in the playoffs...Sanchez will be on his back most of the game. No way does Lebeau make the mistake of not blitzing Mr. GQ again.

hawaiiansteel
12-27-2010, 08:28 PM
Steelers’ Playoff Picture Shapin’ Up

Posted on December 27, 2010 by ryan


So as expected, the season will come down to Week 17 for a lot of teams, the Steelers included. They’ll need to beat the Browns to lock up the No. 2 seed and the bye week that goes with it. If you had asked me before yesterday’s games if I’d rather have Pittsburgh face Cleveland or Cincy in the regular-season finale, I would have proclaimed, without hesitation, the Bengals.

Their 10-game losing streak earlier this season coupled with the way they played against the Steelers a few weeks ago was enough for me to conclude that they had long given up. Turns out, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco were the problems. Once Cincy got rid of those guys, Carson Palmer started playing like it was 2005. And for reasons that still remain a mystery, Palmer and Co. always play well against the Ravens.

The Steelers will have to travel to Cleveland to face a Browns team that looked like it had a rookie quarterback against the Ravens. Colt McCoy threw three picks — two to Ed Reed — and the only touchdown came on a Massaquoi-to-Robiskie trick play. Peyton Hillis was held to fewer than 40 yards (he was bruised and battered going into the game and it only got worse from there), and the defense didn’t really have an answer for Ray Rice. Also worth noting: the Ravens were pressuring McCoy most of the day with just four rushers. It would be nice if the Steelers could find a way to generate similar pressure.

As for the rest of the AFC playoff picture, it looks like this.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/afc-playoffs-300x271.jpg

Obviously, things change if the Ravens win and the Steelers lose in Week 17 (Pittsburgh drops to the sixth seed if the Jets also win at home against the Bills; they’ll have the fifth seed if the Jets lose, too).

Assuming Pittsburgh wins, the Ravens have the No. 5 seed wrapped up. Then it’s a matter of what becomes of the Colts and the Chiefs. If the Chiefs win, they’re a No. 3 and face the Jets. If they lose — and the Colts beat the Titans — Kansas City then becomes a No. 4 seed and hosts the Ravens.

I watched the Chiefs dismantle the Titans yesterday and now I’m not sure if I’d rather the Ravens face them or the Colts. Coventional wisdom says Indy and Peyton Manning. But Matt Cassel looked sharp, and they have their very own version of Ray Rice in Jamaal Charles. (I know, he’s smaller and not quite the power runner, but he had little trouble treading the Steelers in 2009). And save Peyton, Indy is banged up beyond recognition.

Just something to think about as you recover from last weekend and prepare for the next one.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/s ... nin-links/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/steelers-playoff-picture-shapin-mornin-links/)

SteelAbility
12-27-2010, 09:18 PM
The teams that match up best with the Pats are IND and BAL, believe it or not. That being the case, we actually want to root for KC over the NYJ. That would force NE to face one of those two.

Although, I may be wrong. When we played them, we had mostly a 2nd string DL and there is a good chance that LeBeau was hiding his best stuff for the playoffs.

skyhawk
12-27-2010, 10:08 PM
What would the seeding be if the Steelers lose to the Browns and the Ravens beat Cincinnati. I can see that happening. No one is talking about the playoff implications. :?:

RuthlessBurgher
12-28-2010, 11:18 AM
What would the seeding be if the Steelers lose to the Browns and the Ravens beat Cincinnati. I can see that happening. No one is talking about the playoff implications. :?:

Then we'd be the 6th seed and the Ravens would be the 2nd seed.

Unless the Jets lost too...then we'd be the 5th seed and the Jets would be 6th seed.

SteelCzar76
12-28-2010, 03:40 PM
The best draw will be for the Patsies to get knocked off before Brady, Bellichick and co can once again exert their absolute dominance over our D list Cornerbacks and Ben Roethlisberger. Thereby rendering even being in the playoffs pointless.

skyhawk
12-28-2010, 03:49 PM
The best draw will be for the Patsies to get knocked off before Brady, Bellichick and co can once again exert their absolute dominance over our D list Cornerbacks and Ben Roethlisberger. Thereby rendering even being in the playoffs pointless.

:Agree

PSU_dropout43
12-28-2010, 03:55 PM
What would the seeding be if the Steelers lose to the Browns and the Ravens beat Cincinnati. I can see that happening. No one is talking about the playoff implications. :?:
Palmer will beat the Ratbirds...
http://i.a.cnn.net./si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0605/gallery.palmer/images/123456.jpg

hawaiiansteel
12-28-2010, 04:27 PM
Steelers could get No. 2 or No. 6 seed

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Playoff picture

The Steelers have already qualified for the AFC playoffs. Here is how they will be seeded depending on what happens in the AFC this week.

If the Steelers beat the Browns:

• They win the AFC North and get the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round bye. They are also guaranteed at least one home game in the playoffs.

If the Steelers lose to the Browns:

• They still win the division and No. 2 seed in the playoffs if the Ravens lose to the Bengals.

• They get the No. 5 seed and play on the road the following weekend if the Jets lose to the Bills and the Ravens beat the Bengals.

• They get the No. 6 seed and play on the road the following weekend if the Jets beat the Bills and the Ravens beat the Bengals.

If the Steelers are the No. 5 seed:

• They play at Kansas City if the Chiefs lose to the Raiders and the Colts beat the Titans.

• They play at Indianapolis if the Chiefs beat the Raiders and the Colts beat the Titans.

• They play at Jacksonville if the Jaguars beat the Texans and the Colts lose to the Titans.

If the Steelers are the No. 6 seed:

• They play at Kansas City if the Chiefs beat the Raiders.

• They play at Indianapolis if the Chiefs lose to the Raiders and the Colts beat the Titans.


A win Sunday in Cleveland would give the Steelers a third division title in four years and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.

A loss to the team that dashed their postseason hopes a year ago would make things a lot more complicated, not to mention difficult, for the Steelers.

Assuming the Ravens don't stumble Sunday against the Bengals at home, a Steelers loss to the Browns will put them in Kansas City, Indianapolis or Jacksonville on the second weekend of January, one that they hope to be taking off.

Put another way, the difference between a win and a loss Sunday is the difference between Morton's and McDonald's.

That is why the Steelers will take a postseason mentality into the 1 p.m. game at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"I told the guys before we played Carolina that our playoffs started that Thursday night," Steelers outside linebacker James Farrior said Monday. "We're playing (Sunday) just like a playoff game. We know what we're fighting for, and we definitely don't want to give that up, so we've just got to go out and take care of business."

If the Steelers win, they are guaranteed at least one home game.

Just as significant as playing at home in the middle of January is the rest that would come with a first-round bye. It would give an extra week for injured players such as Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu to get healthy.

Polamalu has missed the last two games because of a lower leg injury. He is unlikely to play in Cleveland and would benefit as much as anybody from the Steelers getting a first-round bye in the playoffs.

If the Steelers didn't have enough incentive to win Sunday, they also have a score to settle with one of their biggest rivals.

The Browns upset the Steelers, 13-6, last season, essentially leaving the latter's playoff aspirations at the bottom of Lake Erie.

The loss was the Steelers' fifth in a row during a mind-boggling stretch. It came against a team that doubled its win total on that frigid December night that the Steelers have not forgotten.

"We weren't ready to play, and they were," said Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. who returned to work with his teammates yesterday following a three-day weekend. "This time we won't let it happen again. Everybody knows what's on the line here, so we shouldn't have any surprises, anybody not ready because if you were here last year you know exactly what happened."

The Browns (5-10) are only one of two teams to beat the Patriots this season. They also beat the reigning Super Bowl champion Saints in New Orleans.

The Browns have lost five of their last seven games after beating the Patriots in early November, which marked the high point of their season.

"They're still playing hard, and when you're playing in the division, you're playing hard anyway no matter what the record is," Farrior said. "I know those guys are going to be gunning for us, trying to knock us out of that second seed, so they've got something to play for too."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... _715547.ht (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_715547.ht)

MCHammer
12-28-2010, 11:41 PM
I want to win a 7th more than I want to beat the Pats.

I know what you are saying, but the trophy simply does not mean as much unless we are the best team. I will root for the Steelers no matter what, but I cannot stomach hoping to dodge a team. If the Pats falter, so be it. But I personally hope we have to go through Foxborough this year to earn a trophy.

Still, would be nice if the Rats beat them up a bit first. Would be fair, given we have to play them twice a year.

hawaiiansteel
12-31-2010, 12:44 AM
The improving Colts running game should scare the AFC

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on December 30, 2010

http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/j-addai5.jpg?w=250


The Colts are in the playoffs if they can just beat Tennessee at home Sunday, which would be their seventh straight victory in Lucas Oil Stadium against a division opponent. A win would be their fourth straight to end the season.

Almost an afterthought in the AFC, the defending conference champions look like Super Bowl contenders again because they are finding balance for the first time all season. The Indianapolis Star notes the team ran for more than 150 yards in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 2006.

For much of the season, the Colts didn’t have enough running backs. Now they almost have too many with Joseph Addai back healthy and Dominic Rhodes providing a surprising boost to the team. The offensive line has enjoyed continuity of late as well.

“As we go, the team kind of goes,” left tackle Charlie Johnson said. “You can kind of see it with the way we’ve run the ball the last couple of weeks and Peyton’s been able to throw the ball and just use different things.”

For all the injuries on the Colts’ offense, the team is still third in points and fourth in yards this season. They have cohesion up front and better balance on offense.

This isn’t a perfect Colts team, but the ones that made the Super Bowl weren’t perfect either. With a newly balanced offense, they appear to be peaking at the right time.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... e-the-afc/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/12/30/the-improving-colts-running-game-should-scare-the-afc/)