Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jets: What are the Chances...?

Today’s AFC Championship game at Heinz Field is a little like last week’s divisional playoff in that the Jets — much like the Ravens — have a better roster top to bottom than the Steelers. But Pittsburgh again appears to have the advantage at the QB position, a not insignificant differential. Certainly the Steelers should benefit from having the services of Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller in this rematch, as their replacements played poorly in the December game against New York.

The oddsmakers have the Steelers as a four-point favorite, which sounds about right to me. I’m giving Pittsburgh a 60 percent chance today, hoping to build on my 11-5 prediction record this season (59-25 all-time).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ravens: What are the Chances…?

The Steelers may be a 3.5 point favorite in tomorrow’s divisional playoff, but the game is really a pick ‘em proposition. In my estimation, the Ravens (13-4) have the better team, but the Steelers (12-4) have a potentially significant edge at quarterback. And while the Steelers are well rested, the Ravens may have the advantage early in the game, as Baltimore’s offense is more likely to be in rhythm. But offensive line play figures to be the key to the game, as mistakes in pass protection are likely to lead to stalled drives and/or turnovers. Crowd noise could be more of a factor than it usually is at Heinz Field, thanks to the temporary bleacher seats behind the end zone in the open end of the stadium (installed by the NHL for the Winter Classic). I like the Steelers – but just barely, assigning them a 52 percent chance of victory.

My track record for predictions: 10-5 this year, 58-25 all-time.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Browns: What are the Chances...?

Last year aside, the Steelers have historically experienced a lot of success at Cleveland—and today’s game should be no different. Browns rookie QB Colt McCoy demonstrated great poise and put up solid numbers in the game at Pittsburgh (in his first NFL start, no less), but the Steelers defense might fare better this time, as there’s now enough game tape on McCoy to create a game plan designed to exploit his weaknesses. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Steelers failed to cover the five-point spread, but I estimate that Pittsburgh has a 70 percent chance of winning, thereby earning a #2 seed in the AFC.

What are the Chances…? is 9-5 this season and 57-25 all-time.

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