Don't let the title of the post fool you. I'm picking the Steelers to crush the pathetic Cleveland Browns 38-13. However, ever since the second half of last year's Super Bowl, I have not been liking what I have been seeing on the defensive side of the ball.
The Steelers have always had a history of shutting down an opposing offense when they needed a stop. When the Steelers lost a lead late, it was an exception to the rule. This year, I'm terrified when the Steelers have a leader in the last two minutes, let alone the entire fourth quarter.
What's also scary is that they can't win the close ones this season. Out of their six losses, five are by three points. The other was a six-point loss where it was actually the offense that choked. That is a scary stat for a team that is supposed to be hard-nosed grinders.
With all this considered, along with the fact Troy Polamalu still isn't practicing, should the Steelers and their fans around the globe be worried? It pains me to say it, but absolutely.
Considering they have lost to lousy Chicago Bears team, a lousy Kansas City Chiefs team and a lousy Oakland Raider s squad, you can't look at anyone on the Steelers' schedule and think they have an easy game. They are going to have to work for every win, and other than a great stand against the Minnesota Vikings, they haven't been working hard enough to win important games.
Their defensive backs are getting confused and not knowing the play, or they are getting burned/embarrassed. Quick note: The media and fans have really been laying into Ike Taylor (and rightfully so) for his poor play against Louis Murphy last week. Especially the jump ball he let Murphy catch. What I want to know is how Deshea Townsend is getting off the hook for that play? Look at the replay and Townsend is just standing behind Murphy, watching him go up and make the reception. Why the heck was Townsend not spearing the crap out of Murphy? Or at least jumping up and trying to bat the ball away. He just stood their with his hands out wide like he was calling for a ball in center field.
Brain farts like this are why the Steelers are losing games, and why I'm scared it's going to keep happening this season.
With all that being said; the four games left on the schedule are all winnable. The Browns are the Browns; the Green Bay Packers are playing well, but I'm not sold on their O-line and James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are playing well right now; The Baltimore Ravens' offense is struggling mightily; and the Miami Dolphins have no real weapons. Of course, the Steelers have been playing poorly lately too, so they could also lose every game.
I have faith (some may call it homer faith) that the Steelers will right the ship, make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl ala 2005. The road will just be harder and longer than originally expected.
George Michael - Faith