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This could get ugly.

Real ugly.

Baltimore Raven mugshot ugly. Cleveland girl ugly. Watching Andy Dalton play ugly.

In last week’s preview, I started off by saying the Pittsburgh Steelers struggle against good quarterbacks so it’s fortunate they weren’t playing one. Despite the defense trying their best to make Ryan Fitzpatrick look like a superstar in the first half, the universe eventually corrected itself. When you live by the Fitzmagic, you die by Shitzpatrick. Anyway, point is the Steelers lucked out on Monday.

The only luck we’ll be seeing this Sunday will be Andrew Luck, superstar quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Continue reading »

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Well, the last national showcase went pretty well…

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. Their last prime time appearance was their resounding win over the confounding Carolina Panthers, a team that got whupped in back-to-back weeks by the Steelers and Ravens then beat a good Bears team before battling the Bengals to a tie last week. Maybe Cam Newton really was banged up or maybe he just hadn’t developed any chemistry with his overhauled receiving corps. I’m not sure what that win means other than the old “on any given Sunday…”

What I do know is the Steelers have no chance against any team that has a decent quarterback.

Luckily for us, the Texans don’t have one. Continue reading »

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So, we meet again…

For the second and final time this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will renew their rivalry with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. We all remember the season opener at Heinz Field which was basically a tale of two halves. The Black and Gold played the first half like world beaters, looking like the kind of team that could be a legit Super Bowl contender when all the dust settles. Then the second half started and the Browns launched into a furious comeback before ultimately falling short thanks to a Stonecold Shaun Suisham field goal with time expiring. 

Comebacks seem to be the Browns thing this season. They got off to a good start against New Orleans before the Saints rallied to take a one point lead late in the fourth. The Browns got a walk-off field goal of their own to pull of the upset. They were on the losing end of another last second field goal a week later when Joe Flacco brought his Ravens back from a third quarter deficit to pull out a narrow victory. Then last week, the Browns were down by 25 points (!?!?!) to the Tennessee Titans then staged what is now the greatest road comeback in NFL history. Continue reading »

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It couldn’t possibly happen two weeks in a row…

Could it?

For the second consecutive week, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face an opponent that has gone O for the 2014 season. Sure, the Jacksonville Jaguars have proven to be a strangely troublesome foe – recall 2006 when Bill Cowher idiotically started a zombified Ben Roethlisberger and the team lost 9-0 or 2007 when the Jags beat us twice, including in the Wild Card game – but those glory days are long gone for the Jags. Jacksonville has been a laughingstock for years now. We couldn’t possibly crap the bed two weeks in a row, could we?

Yeah, I’m not sure I would put anything past this team, either. Continue reading »

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As a wise young Jedi once said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday at Heinz Field. The Steelers are coming off one of their best performances in years. The Bucs are coming off one of the worst shit-kickings ever featured on a national telecast. Tampa is terrible, winless, and turning to a brand new starting quarterback after their big off-season acquisition, Josh McCown was hurt in last Thursday’s debacle.

Naturally, I expect the Steelers to lose. Continue reading »

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Finally, a game that counts!

The Pittsburgh Steelers play yet another prime time game this week, meeting the Carolina Panthers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The two teams aren’t exactly strangers to one another considering they play each other every year in the preseason. See, the Rooney family and Panther owner Jerry Richardson are old friends – it was Dan Rooney who championed Richardson’s entrance into this most exclusive of boy’s clubs – and I guess they get a kick out of knocking back snifters of brandy while their teams play a meaningless exhibition game every year. Rich people, go figure.

Anyway, thanks to the NFL’s trusty rotating schedule, the Rooneys and Richardson get to light each other’s cigars with hundred dollar bills twice this year as the Steelers and Panthers meet during the regular season. Not just in any game, too, but in the league’s showcase Sunday night slot. While the season is still young, it’s also a pretty critical game for both teams. Continue reading »

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So, anybody know what’s been going on with the Baltimore Ravens?

I kid, I kid.

As if preordained by the Football Gods, the team that has been at the center of a media firestorm this past week happens to be playing in one of the league’s featured prime time contests. When CBS chose Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens for their inaugural telecast of Thursday Night Football, I imagine they did expected another epic chapter in one of the NFL’s most heated rivalries. They surely didn’t expect the Ratbirds to be one of the central players in an ongoing drama that spilled over to the mainstream media.  Continue reading »

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Welcome to the first “Know Thy Enemy” of the 2014 NFL season. Accept no substitutes! In previous years – going all the way back to my days running Nice Pick, Cowher – I used these posts to write an obnoxiously long insanely detailed breakdown of the upcoming game. It was a chore for me to write and (I suspect) a chore for most of you to read through.

So this year, I’m going to change things up a bit. Instead of an intro and then analyzing their offense vs our defense then our offense vs their defense, I’m just going to write some general thoughts/observations/expectations about us and our opponent. Hopefully, I’ll still get all the pertinent info across, just in more tidy format. This way it’ll be more fun for me to write and much easier for you to slog through.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers first opponent of 2014: the Cleveland Browns. Continue reading »

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Welcome back. I hope everybody had a great Christmas. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure it included at least one piece of Pittsburgh Steelers related swag. At this point, I think I have more Black and Gold related dvds than NFL Films.

With time running out in both the year 2013 and the 2013 NFL season, I think we should pick up where we left off on Monday. Thanks to an improbable set of circumstances last Sunday, the Steelers are still mathematically alive for the AFC Playoffs. In order for them to leapfrog three teams and earn the second Wild Card slot, there are only three games we need to keep an eye on. Continue reading »

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When the Pittsburgh Steelers take to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon to face the Green Bay Packers, their slim playoff hopes may have already been dashed. Unless the Dolphins lose to the Bills and the Jets beat the Browns earlier in the day, the last two games of the season will officially be meaningless. Which is probably for the best because a high draft pick is more important to the Steelers future than a pointless Wild Card game anyway. Not that a playoff game is likely with the improbable set of dominoes which must fall in precise order to get the Black and Gold into the post-season.

I tried explaining the AFC’s playoff scenario earlier this week. I’ll try to sum it up again briefly. Basically, Miami’s head to head victory means the Steelers cannot overtake them. However, the rules for breaking a tie between 3 or more teams state that first you match division foes up with each other and eliminate teams until each division is only represented by one team. Then you start the process over again with the remaining teams. That’s why the Jets must win out – if they end the season tied with Miami (and us), they do us the favor of eliminating them by virtue of a better division record just like we do the Ravens.

Like I said, improbable to say the least. Meanwhile, our Super Bowl XLV opponents, the Packers, are in a far less complicated playoff battle of their own. They need this game every bit as much as we do. Although they’ll be going into the game without their biggest gun. Continue reading »

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