Tag Archives: Divisional

NFL Divisional Round Open Thread: Sunday edition


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NFL Divisional Playoffs Open Thread


Source: Behind the Steel Curtain - All Posts

Steelers And Ravens Headed For Critical Divisional Matchup

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byron_leftwich.jpgThe 6-3 Pittsburgh Steelers will face the 7-2 Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North Division rivalry on Sunday. With Byron Leftwich starting and Ra...

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Open Thread Friday: AFC North Divisional Improvement, Other Random Thoughts


We're going to try something a little different here on Behind The Steel Curtain.

Don't ask me why, but I always get a kick out of the cutesy segment names run on local radio stations. One of the best is Free Form Fridays, where stations play deeper cuts of the same 15 bands, groups and artists they usually play.

Don't worry, there won't be any Adele played here. We're going to stick with our bread and butter: an open thread.

Like Linda Richman, I'm going to give you a few topics, Steelers-related of course. Agenda free, on and off topic comments are more than welcome. It's Friday afternoon, lets talk some Steelers football.

If you talk improvement among the division, isn't it obvious Pittsburgh and Cincinnati had more of that than Cleveland and Baltimore.

  • Baltimore didn't really need to improve in the sense they can roll out their team this year and be competitive. I don't think that was the case so much with the other three teams, but Pittsburgh greatly improved its offensive line, and other positions, like defensive line and the secondary, will get better through the development of the roster. Cincinnati added to its offensive line and secondary in the draft with guys who will start, then grabbed, I think, a very underrated receiver in Mohamad Sanu. TE Orson Charles is good at one thing, really, straight-line pass routes, but that's not bad when you've got talented pass catchers like they do. Even Cleveland improved by- sorry, I can't finish that without laughing. I guess Brandon Weeden is probably an improvement over Colt McCoy like my wife's Ford Focus is an improvement over my Chrysler Sebring.
  • Could "Prometheus" be any more hyped than it is? Don't get me wrong, I love blockbuster season as much as anyone, doesn't this seem like one of those "All Sizzle No Steak" kinds of movies? You know, the New York Jets of Hollywood?
  • Speaking of the Jets, I don't suppose there's any chance we'll no longer have this "Jets West" garbage jammed down our throats, is there? Sure, it's nice their players are actually going to meet up and work together, but if the main positive thing is their top receiver (Santonio Holmes) is actually getting off his butt and flying to Mark Sanchez's mecca that is southern California, please don't blame me for not being impressed.
  • Speaking of them again, ladies and gentlemen, your New York Jets captain!
  • "I was talking to the coach, letting him understand it was too many reps today," Holmes said. "I've been gone for a while, so I can't be at full tempo like the rest of the guys and where they want us to be at."
  • Don't ask me why I thought of this, but do you ever consider how purely awesome those pre-fried frozen chicken patties are? They're like Brett Keisel in his Monster Backer days; versatile, never dull and you always want it on your roster (in your freezer). Microwave or baked, with ketchup, maybe ranch, even some mayo here and there. Pickles and or cheese...there's just so much you can do with them.
  • The Miami Heat fan who yelled "good game" at the Heat players as they walked off the floor (ignoring him completely) is the biggest non-story I've ever read. Yes, even less of a story than anything with the word "Kardashian." Well...lemme think about that for a bit. I'll get back to you.
  • This is funny, that's what this is:

  • Anyway...what's on your mind, Steeler Nation? Best thoughts going up on Twitter, so if you've been sitting on a golden comment, let's see it.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Former Colts K Mike Vanderjagt Still Hearing About 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff Game

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Allegedly, former Colts K Mike Vanderjagt still knows how to choke.

Only this time, it wasn't at the end of a playoff football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the throat of a student after he taunted Vanderjagt by chanting "Wide Left! Wide Left!" in reference to his missed kick at the end of the 2005 NFL Divisional Playoff game between the Colts and Pittsburgh.

Vanderjagt, a volunteer coach and school parent at Charter Middle School in Marco Island, Fla., according to witnesses, grabbed a student by the throat and began swearing at him after the student was seen and heard yelling "wide left" through a rolled up poster board.

Vanderjagt said he placed his hand on the student's shoulder, by the base of his neck, and did not choke him.

Local police reviewed the matter and sent an incident report to the state's attorney general's office, who concluded no charges would be filed. Vanderjagt also said he's spoken with the boy's family, and he apologized. The boy also apologized.

The school board voted 4-2 in favor of allowing the school's principal to handle the decision of whether to keep Vanderjagt on as a coach.

Apparently, the boy he allegedly choked (and admittedly touched) was only the latest of many who were taunting Vanderjagt in a similar fashion over the months.

Obviously accosting a child is against the moral code of any teacher or child, but a certain level of respect should be given to those coaches and teachers. It seems like a good life and history lesson for both Vanderjagt, the student and everyone involved with the incident.

For life, one must learn to overcome failures, accept them and move on. For history, they should all remember the kick was wide right, not left.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Divisional Round Weekend Notes and Ramblings

It's been a while since the Steelers qualified for the playoffs but did not play in its second weekend. The divisional round had some great moments, but none shined brighter than the Giants upset win over favored Green Bay.

Fun, for selfish reasons.

The Packers final six games reminded me a bit of Davey "Lard Ass" Hogan from the immortal classic "Stand By Me."

Lard Ass was participating in a pie-eating contest in a typical small town in the U.S. He didn't intend to win the contest, but rather, extract revenge for years of abuse from the town.

He crushed pie after pie at the beginning of the contest, only to slow considerably down the stretch. It ended with him eating at a snail's pace, followed by completely stopping, then puking it all back out in a massive orgy of stomach acid and blueberry.

That glop may have been cleaned off the ground at Lambeau Field by now, but it won't be in the hearts and minds of the soon-to-be-former defending champs.

I was wondering comically at first if the Packers receivers were pissed at Rodgers for not getting them in any of the several State Farm commercials he made, while two notable defensive players did.

By the end of the game, I was seriously considering it a possibility. The "Discount Double-Choke" game will be remembered for a long time. After all, no 15-1 team has failed to win a playoff game.

As much fun as it was to watch the Giants dismantle the overmatched Packers, it doesn't make up for the laughable performance of the Baltimore offense getting bailed out by a rookie quarterback - not the Ravens defense, contrary to those easily persuaded by the hypnotizing gyrations of Ray Lewis celebrating a tackle after a seven-yard gain.

T.J. Yates made some of the poorest decisions in the history of the playoffs. Credit to Ed Reed for actually catching the ball, but let's be honest, I would dare to suggest every other free safety in the same could have picked that off.

I'm not even sure it matters, though.

There's lots of talk that Baltimore matches up better with New England than it did with Houston. I can buy that. Baltimore has a better balance of strength between its offensive and defensive units than the Patriots do.

But I've been saying that since Pittsburgh beat New England in Week 9. The Patriots' defense has been expected to lose games for them for the last nine contests. Hasn't happened.

When the Packers swooned, the Patriots peaked. And they're still climbing. It's not about their defense; it's about their quarterback.

I'm all about the NFC now, but Tom Brady is in complete and total "Eff You" mode, probably caused by the lack of respect (relatively speaking) he's received this year. While we're busy discussing whether Joe Flacco's just-north-of-50-percent completion rate is worthy of elite performance status, Brady will finish third with no first-place votes in the MVP race, behind two guys who are no longer in the playoffs.

I look at a motivated Brady the same way I looked at this heavyweight high school wrestler I covered back in 2004. It was the first round of the state dual tournament, and the school I was covering was going against a team who's heavyweight had a full ride to Iowa waiting for him.

This kid was probably the most impressive physical specimen I've ever seen. No exaggeration, he was about 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, zero fat. It's as if he was sculpted from granite. He hadn't lost in four years, and there was no way anyone could beat him.

The team I covered had advantages at every other weight class, so instead of wearing out their doughy, sloth-like heavyweight against this monster, they threw their even doughier and more sloth-like JV heavyweight against him.

The future Iowa kid had 15 takedowns in a three-minute match (state record) and the JV kid literally just stood there and took it.

The Iowa heavyweight is Brady. The doughy piece of dung is Flacco.

After that, he'll eye Alex Smith and even Eli Manning with the same look a shark eyes fresh chum. Quarterbacks don't compete against each other directly, but their egos led to the creation of a post-game handshake between them, much like the coaches do. Clearly, to some extent, they recognize each other as competitors.

I'm not going to think for a second Brady didn't read all of the hype surrounding Tebow, and prepare this past week in an effort to give him a soul-crushing beat-down only those complete secure in themselves, or ignorant to all life around them, could recover. He then would look Tebow in the eye after the game, and non-verbally inform him he's taking his headlines back.

I was surprised he took his foot off the gas in the second half. They could have broken every scoring and passing record ever written in that game. They put a tight end at halfback for cripessake! And he did well!

Brady's "I married a super model after dumping an actress" lifestyle took away from his need to ruthlessly crush any who dare take his place on top of Mount Attention. He wasn't shaken until the combination of losing to the useless Mark Sanchez last year, and the explosion of Tebowmania this year.

Now, he gets to crush the spirit of another wannabe rival, and get revenge on a completely unexpected thrashing the Ravens gave the Patriots in 2008. The following season, then-Chiefs SS Bernard Pollard blew his knee out in Week 1.

Pollard now plays for the Ravens.

Remember when Steelers FS Anthony Smith "guaranteed" a win over the Patriots in 2007? Brady took that really personally, and went after Smith every chance he had.

Pollard took one season away, and Brady essentially lost a second season after playing 2010 at 85 percent. He'll drool like Pavlov's dog the second he sees Gronkowski lined up on Pollard.

After that, it's either the ultimate revenge, it's the guy who took away his perfect season, Eli Manning - in Peyton's home stadium, no less - or it's the severely under-matched Alex Smith.

Needless to say, I'm betting on Brady.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Steelers Gab NFL Divisional Playoff Picks

The Steelers 2011 season is over, but the NFL season continues this weekend, as there are still games to be played leading up to Super Bowl XLVI in Indy coming up on February 5th.

Here’s my picks for this weekend’s four games, two in the AFC and two in the NFC.


New Orleans at San Francisco – Everyone is on the Saints bandwagon, but a lot of people don’t seem to remember how good the Niners D is. With a solid front seven that will put pressure on Drew Brees, and a run game that will keep the Saints offense off the field, I like what the Niners bring to the table here. New Orleans is the sexy pick, but I think Alex Smith and the Niners do enough to pull off a huge win to advance to the NFC Title game the following week. 49ers 27 Saints 23

Denver at New England – Anyone else tired of Tim Tebow? Sure, he played the game of his life a week ago against the Steelers, but you can bet Bill Belichick will have his goons from New England ready to go against him this week. With temps below 10 degrees with the wind chill, and having already beaten the Broncos once, I have a hard time believing the Broncos are going to keep this close. Tom Brady and the Pats move on with relative ease at home as the clock strikes midnight for Tebow. Patriots 35 Broncos 14


Houston at Baltimore – Two very good defensive teams do battle in Baltimore, and the big question will be – what Joe Flacco shows up? The Ravens QB has had some solid games at home, and some that he’d probably like to forget. The game could come down to a battle of RB’s – Ray Rice for the Ravens and Arian Foster for the Texans. I like Rice and that Ravens defense to do enough to send rookie QB T.J. Yates and the Texans home for the offseason, setting up a Brady vs Ravens AFC Title game next Sunday. Baltimore 16 Houston 10

New York Giants at Green Bay - The finale to the weekend, a NFC showdown that a number of people seem to feel will play out like the 2007 NFC Title Game between the same two teams. Not gonna happen. Looks like a lot of people have already dismissed the Packers – you know, the Super Bowl Champs from a season ago that have gone 19-1 in their last 20 games. Love Green Bay here, as they will attack the Giants secondary, and I can see them getting to Eli Manning for a couple turnovers early to give them a lead they won’t lose. The Giants are playing well, but they are running into a hungry Packers team at home. Packers 31 Giants 13

Next Sunday:

AFC Title Game 3pm EST – Baltimore (13-4) at New England (14-3)

NFC Title Game 6:30pm EST – San Francisco (14-3) at Green Bay (16-1)

Source: Steelers Gab

Gerry Dulac’s NFL Forecast: Divisional Playoffs

Source: post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL

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