Monday, November 30, 2009

Ravens 20, Steelers 17 (OT)

In spite of the fact that third-string QB Dennis Dixon played well enough to win, the Steelers lost to the Ravens last night, 20-17. The defeat drops Pittsburgh to 6-5, but the predicted loss raises the record of "What are the Chances...?" to 7-4 and 46-17 all-time.

Next: Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh featured in The Onion

The Onion's sports section currently features an article titled: Pittsburgh School District Leads Nation In Ability To Spell 'Roethlisberger'. Good stuff. I'm guessing that Pittsburgh also leads all NFL cities in terms of percentage of citizens who know how to spell 'concussion.'

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Ravens: What are the Chances…?

With QB Ben Roethlisberger sidelined by a concussion, second-year QB Dennis Dixon will make his first NFL start. This late development leaves Pittsburgh at a major disadvantage at the quarterback position, especially when one considers that Dixon didn’t get much practice time with the first team offense this week.

Meanwhile, it’s scary to think that Big Ben is still feeling the after-effects of his latest concussion. It’s even scarier to contemplate the possibility that his career might end prematurely due to concussions. But at least the Steelers seem to be erring on the side of caution this time around, as opposed to 2006, when he was permitted to play in a game at Oakland just a week after absorbing a crushing hit in a game at Atlanta. Roethlisberger didn’t even look back-to-normal during that game against the Raiders, and it remains the worst game he’s ever played in the NFL.

However, there may be a silver lining to having Big Ben out of the lineup, as the Steelers will be forced to go back-to-basics on offense. And if the team experiences some success with a more conservative game plan--a big if, I know--perhaps Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians will stick with a more conservative approach even after Roethlisberger returns to the lineup.

Still, it won’t be easy to beat the Ravens with Dixon at QB and Troy Polamalu still out with a knee injury. But most Steelers-Ravens games are close contests no matter the circumstances, and I doubt the 5-5 Ravens will be able to pull away with an easy victory. It’s even possible that the Steelers will play better as a team, knowing that Big Ben won’t be there to bail them out with his passing heroics. And there isn’t a “book” yet on how to defend Dixon, seeing as he’s never started a game. That’s why I’m predicting a loss, but still giving the Steelers a 35 percent chance of winning.

What are the Chances…? is 6-4 in 2009 and 45-17 all-time.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chiefs: What are the Chances...?

With last week's loss to the Bengals, 'What are the Chances...?' is now 6-3 on the year and 45-16 all-time. I'm expecting to get back into the win column - along with the Steelers - on Sunday, as I figure Pittsburgh has at least a 75 percent chance of beating Kansas City. The Steelers are a 10 point favorite in the game, and deservedly so. Hopefully, Pittsburgh will make every effort to run the ball this week, as KC's run defense is a weakness.

When the Chiefs are a good team, Arrowhead Stadium is a very difficult place to play. (Keep in mind that the Steelers lost 41-20 the last time they visited Kansas City, in 2003.) But it would be shocking if Pittsburgh failed to get back on track against the Chiefs, at 2-7 still one of the weakest teams in the league.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Women Against Fantasy Sports

Just thought some of you fantasy football loving Steelers fans might be interested in this feature article about a relatively new organization called Women Against Fantasy Sports.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bengals: What are the Chances...?

The Steelers are a 7 point favorite over the Bengals--too many points, in my opinion. As you probably know, the Bengals defeated Pittsburgh 23-20 in Cincinnati back in week three. It was one of the most frustrating losses by the Steelers in years, as Pitt totally outplayed Cincy, but repeatedly self-destructed when they had chances to put the game away.

Having won five consecutive games since that loss, the Steelers are playing much better football than they did in September. Bengals QB Carson Palmer will also have to contend with former USC roomate Troy Polamalu this time around. And Palmer will be without the services of WR Chris Henry, who is out for the year with a broken arm.

This is a more important game for the Steelers than the Bengals, as a Cincy win would give the Bengals a one-game lead and the tiebreaker advantage over Pittsburgh in the race for the division title. I'm guessing, though, that the Steelers will find a way to win this time around - only a 55 percent chance, however.

'What are the Chances...?' is 6-2 in 2009 and 45-15 all-time.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mean Joe Greene to receive Clio for 1979 Coca-Cola ad, reunite with Tommy Okon

Prior to the Bengals-Steelers game at Heinz Field this Sunday, Hall of Fame defensive tackle "Mean" Joe Greene will be on hand to accept his Clio award (thirty years after the fact!) for his work in the legendary 1979 Coca-Cola ad that featured nine-year-old boy Tommy Okon offering Greene his Coke, and Mean Joe tossing his white Steelers jersey to Okon as a gesture of thanks. Apparently, Greene never actually received the hardware for his Clio (an award for creative excellence in advertising), and Coke is using the 30th anniversary of the spot to take the opportunity to present it to him. Okon will also be on hand at the ceremony, reuniting with Mean Joe for the first time in years.

Following is the video for the original ad, which was reprised by Coke Zero in January of this year in a similar spot with current Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Broncos: What are the Chances...?

The Steelers are three-point favorites over the Broncos in tonight’s game, something of a surprise when one considers that Denver has only one loss thus far this season, and possesses a significant home field advantage. Making matters worse, Pittsburgh will be missing several key starters on defense — including safety Ryan Clark, who is expected to be deactivated, as the last time Clark played in Denver he suffered life-threatening complications when his sickle-cell condition was aggravated by the high altitude.

Nevertheless, the Steelers seem to match up favorably with the Broncos on both sides of the ball. Broncos QB Kyle Orton doesn’t possess a style that typically gives Pittsburgh’s D fits. And Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers have the potential to exploit Denver’s pass defense, provided Big Ben gets reasonably good protection from his O-Line. That’s why the key matchup in the game figures to be Steelers LT Max Starks against Broncos LB Elvis Dumervil, who has already recorded 10 sacks this season.

While the Steelers haven’t won a regular season game in Denver since 1990, I’m guessing this is the year Pittsburgh breaks that streak. I’m giving the Steelers a 55 percent chance of coming out of Denver with a win.

What are the Chances…? is 5-2 thus far in 2009 and 44-15 all-time.