Friday, December 07, 2007

Recent history and selective memory...

It's what the pundits have in backing their arguments.

Those arguing that the Steelers will end the Patriots perfect season this weekend, present the following thoughts - the Steelers are physical like the Ravens and Eagles, but better than either; the Pats are vulnerable against the run, and Steelers tailback Willie Parker is second in the league in rushing; the Pats offense has been in a slump the last two weeks while being pressured by these physical defenses; the Steelers defensive scheme is meant to cause confusion and will cause problems for the struggling Pats offense.

Let's look at each argument -

The Steelers are better than either the Ravens or Eagles. That's a fact. It is also a fact that they are physical with their linemen, but, as I mentioned in a previous post, not great with press coverage from their corners.

Yes, the Pats have struggled against the run this season - particularly as of late. However, as good as Parker has been, he put up 87 yards and a 3.1 per rush average against the defense deficient Bengals, 81/3.4 and two fumbles against Miami, and 52/2.5 against the Jets. Those teams are respectively 23rd, 32nd, and 29th against the run. That would be Parker's last three games - a total of 220 yards and an average of three yards per rush. Not exactly numbers that blow you away.

During the Patriots' offensive slump, they have averaged 29 points per game. The rest of the league is averaging 21.1 points per game. Wow. Twenty-nine points per game are gonna lose you a lot of games...really. On top of that, the last three games haven't exactly been sterling for the Steelers either. Yes they won two out of three, but, as previously noted, they played the Jets, Dolphins, and Bengals - losing to the Jets by two, and barely getting a three point win (at home, mind you) against Miami...horrible, horrible Miami.

As for the shock and awe of the Steelers zone-blitzing defensive attack...I seem to remember that the Patriots lit them up in the playoffs with lesser talent than they now have on offense. And correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, current defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was running the defense that got lit up then.

Before Steelers fans get up in arms, I'm not guaranteeing a Patriots win, but I am pointing out that the arguments are weak as to why they will end the streak. It could very well happen - the Pats have looked vulnerable recently, but no more so than the Steelers.


Chris Stone said...

Thanks! You're reassuring! after Monday I feel a bit... anxious.

Kevin Smith said...

Just here to help. It's what I do.

the blue state blogger said...

Good call!

Kevin Smith said...

Thank you. Thought it was obvious when you really looked at what the Steelers D was all about.