Tag Archives: Heinz Field

Cowher Picks The Jets

Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Bill Cowher picks the New York Jets to upset the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday.

Cowher, although still pro-Steelers has had a history of predicting the Steelers to lose in big games.

Cowher could be doing this for a variety of reasons such as:

1. He doesn't want Mike Tomlin, his successor to win 2 Super Bowls in 4 years when he only won one Super Bowl in 15 years

2. He's trying to add a little extra motivation to his former team since they typically play better as underdogs compared to favorities.
3. He's trying to add a bit more spice to the game since he currently anchors for CBS.

4. He's trying to "get in good" with the New Yorkers and their media since Cowher has publicly admitted his desire to coach the New York Giants.

This is all speculation but regardless, it makes you wonder...

The AFC Championship Game is set for 6:30 est time, Sunday, January 23rd in Pittsburgh.

Your It! Steelers Expected to Tag Hampton and Reed

Per various reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to tag 2 of their high priority free agents:

Casey Hampton (NT) - The Steelers 33 year old nose tackle, Hampton is an unrestricted free agent.  The Steelers would like to sign Hampton to a long-term 3 year contract  but negotiations have not initiated an agreement between the two parties.  Although against Hampton's request, the Steelers are expected to place the franchise tag on  "Big Snack" Hampton for a 1 year contract with a payout of approximately 7 million.  It is expected that the Steelers and Hampton will continue to try to work out a long term contract.  If a long term deal cannot be agreed upon by the 2010 NFL Draft, expect the Steelers to seriously think about drafting Hampton's replacement.  The ideal candidate at this time appears to be Tennessee's DT, Dan Williams.

Jeff Reed (K) - Another high priority unrestricted free agent is Jeff Reed.  Although Reed has had his fair share of off the field troubles, Reed has been a staple of consistency at Heinz Field.  Heinz Field has proven to be one of the most difficult stadiums in the NFL to kick at, but Reed has excelled in field goal accuracy.  He has struggled in kick-offs which has been a "pain point" for the Steelers especially during the 2009-10 season.  With that being said, Reed is an underestimated player that has been clutch for the Steelers both during the regular season and post season.  The Steelers are expected to transition tag Jeff Reed for 2.6 million.

Steelers-Ravens Weather Conditions

Dress warmly Steeler fans.  The current temperature in Pittsburgh is 25 degrees with a wind chill of 15 degrees.  Expect the temperature to drop significantly as game-time approaches.  As displayed earlier today on ESPN, there is a good bit of snow at Heinz Field.  It appears that the field will be cleared of all snow by game time but expect snow flurries (per weather.com) later this evening in the mass of 1-3 inches.

The National Weather Service has issue a winter weather advisory for the Pittsburgh area.  For details, click here.

Expect Heinz Field to be a bit sloppy with these weather conditions and the wetness of its natural grass turf.

Who does this favor?  Well, its difficult to say.  I think the bad weather and field conditions will favor the Baltimore Ravens defense both against stopping the run and offensively, running the football.  Fast Willie Parker has struggled with cut-back ability at Heinz Field when conditions are bad.  In contrast, the Ravens have more success playing power football with the run game with north-south runners Ray Rice, and LeRon McClain at tailback.

However, if the Steelers can stop the running game of the Ravens, I feel this will put tremendous pressure on rookie quarterback, Joe Flacco.  This will allow a Steelers attacking defense to blitz the inexperienced QB.

While the bad weather may be a negative for the Steelers running attack, the passing game shouldn't struggle too much.  The Ravens secondary is beat up and if given the time to throw the ball, Ben Roethlisberger should be successful.  The wide receivers know their routes which give them the slight advantage while the defense could "slip up" (literally) on the grass at Heinz Field.  Let's hope the offense play calling by Bruce Arians can take advantage of these situations.

Steelers-Ravens Gameplan

Offense

The Steelers offense needs to be at the top of their game today versus the Ravens. The key to the Steelers is easy. They need to convert on critical third downs and do not, under any circumstances, turn the ball over. If the Steelers don't turn the ball over, I believe they win this game. The Titans should have won last week against the Ravens, but turnovers was the deciding factor.

I expect the Steelers to open up the game in a spread offense. The Steelers should spread the Baltimore Ravens defense out with 4 and 5 wide receivers. The Ravens secondary is a bit beat up with Rolle out so this could result in Nate Washington having a big game.  This will neutralize the Ravens' heavy blitzing and make a tough defense respect the Steelers passing game. The Steelers offense should not play conservative and tight. This will play right into the Ravens defensive plans which will make this game a much closer game than what it could be. Heath Miller and Mewelde Moore should pose significant receiving threats to the Ravens. Also, the offensive line will be a huge matchup against the Ravens imposing defensive front. The Steelers offensive line played their best game against the San Diego Chargers a week ago, but the Ravens are a much better and more aggressive defense. If Hartwig, Colon, Starks and company can keep Big Ben clean then the Steelers should be successful at Heinz Field today.

Defense

The #1 Steelers defense must play opportunistic football today at Heinz Field. The Steelers are relatively healthy today and will pose a huge challenge to the Baltimore's rookie QB, Joe Flacco. Dick Lebeau will try to confuse Flacco will different defensive looks. Per ESPN, the Steelers defense are going into this game with over 100 defensive plays at their disposal. The Steelers defense must shut down the Ravens running attack early and often. This will put the game on Joe "cool" shoulders which is exactly what the Steelers want. If McClain and Ray Rice have success running the football, the Steelers could be in for a long frustrating day.

Expect Troy Polamalu to be all over the field again today. Troy will start things off supporting the run defense as being an 'extra' in the box. Then, he'll drop back into a zone on obvious passing downs. Also, it is absolutely critical that LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison can get to Flacco today. Last game, the Steelers had trouble getting to the quarterback without sending more defenders than what the Ravens could block. This could expose our secondary and Flacco has the offensive line and the strong arm to make the Steelers defense pay for their mistakes. It is very important that the Steelers pass rush is at their best today. This will make Flacco make quick and possible poor decisions which could result in turnovers. Turnovers which will hopefully result in points in favor of the Steelers.

Predictions

Turnovers is the name of today's game. If the Steelers o-line can protect Big Ben and give Willie Parker some room to run then I expect the Steelers to be victorious. If not, the Steelers could be in for a long and disappointing afternoon. The same goes for the Ravens, if the Steelers can stop the run, and get to Flacco early and often then the Steelers will have an excellent chance of winning today's game. I am going to be optimistic in this prediction but I feel the Steelers win: 27-17.

Offensive Player Of The Game: Hines Ward

Defensive Player Of The Game: LaMarr Woodley

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