Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Jan 2006

2006 Conference Championships Rundown

When it comes to this weekend's championship games, home is where the hair is. Or, in the case of Matt Hasselbeck, where the hair isn't. Mike Tanier's prediction? In the end, the two best offensive lines in football will face off in Super Bowl XL.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 18 Jan 2006

61 comments, Last at 23 Jan 2006, 1:45pm by Sid


by Kal (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 4:15pm

You can read, of course, to Porter, but you can't make him think.

You're an evil man, Mike. Good job. Denver and Seattle, eh? I'm still going with Pittsburgh, but it's going to be really close.

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 4:24pm

The equalizer for the Steelers will have to be Big Ben, the most poised, polished second-year quarterback to step onto the field since John Elway was a sophomore.
Equalizer or decisive advantage?

by johonny (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 4:28pm

Broncos lost to Dolphins. The clearest sign they will win the super bowl.

by wrmjr (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 4:29pm

Question for you, Mike. This article reads like a pretty standard analysis/prediction piece (IOW, no math). Did you pick those two teams to win based on DVOA, adjusted for home field advantage, or was this just your opinion of how the matchups will turn out?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 4:37pm

I don't necessarily disagree with anything here, but I will note that the best offensive line in football was not overpowering on their home field last Saturday. If they aren't against the Steelers, although that is a big if, since I think the Patriots front seven of last Saturday night is more imposing than the Steelers front seven of next Sunday, I think the Steelers have an excellent chance. Brady did not play well (he was certainly worse than Manning) and it is not unreasonable to think that Roethlisberger will exceed that standard, especially since the Steelers are better at running the ball than the Pats.

I really like John Fox-coached teams, and the Panthers' offensive line certainly played better than I expected last week, but their defense played worse than I expected, and they picked up more significant injuries. I'm not wild about Seattle's defense, but they have an extremely efficient Mike Holmgren offense.

If there is an upset, it will happen in Denver, and I may even be confident of that. I'll have to give it more thought.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 4:40pm

I still believe that a large portion of New England losing was bad luck (4 fumbles - 3 of their own, 1 by Denver, and zero recovered) which is why I'm really surprised that Denver's DVOA for that game was so much higher than New England's.

Denver just simply was never moving the ball versus the Patriots - they had two drives which actually gained significant yardage - the Patriots had 6 or so.

I mean, causing those fumbles is huge, of course, but the Broncos can't expect to recover all forced fumbles in their next two games, and if they hadn't recovered all of them in the Denver game, I'm not sure they would've won.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 5:01pm

Exactly, Pat. Although, I don't necessarily disagree with calling Denver's offensive line the best in the league, their performance from last Saturday did not live up to that billing. I just can't yet decide if the Steelers' defensive front will match the Pats'defensive front. If it does, the Broncos are going to have to jump on all the fumbles again, and maybe get a phantom PI call in their favor as well. I really expect Roethlisberger to easily exceed Brady's performance, which is about as bad as I've ever seen Brady, excluding a game last year against the Dolphins where he played like there was vodka in the Gatorade. Beyond the int to Bailey, which will happen to any qb occasionally if there is a strong rush, Brady seemed inaccurate when throwing to open receivers even when he wasn't pressured significantly.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 5:01pm


Mike picked against the Steelers the last two weeks.

You know what that means?

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 5:06pm

#4: I hadn't thought of it, but yeah, the analysis seems kind of counter to what I'd expect from FO.

The Broncos' secondary will contain Hines Ward and shut down the other Steelers receivers.

Denver is 16th and 14th against #1 and #2 receivers, and 18th against receiving RBs. They only rank well against Other WRs (#2) and TEs (#1). That says to me that Hines, El, and Parker/Haynes should expect a busy day, with Miller, Tuman, and Wilson blocking or running decoys. Or is there something in the Denver defensive scheme that matches up particularly well against the Steelers' passing game that Mike didn't have space to mention?

The Steelers will struggle to run the football.

The Broncos are 17th in DVOA against the rush. They're 15th in ALY, 24th in Power Rank, and 31st in Stuffed Rank. They're 8th in 10+ Yard runs, which says to me that the secondary does a good job in run support, but not so much about stopping power running. They're also 31st at stopping running plays around left offensive end, where PIT is 5th. I see Bus up the middle, and I see bunch sets left with Marvel Smith, Hines and Tuman/Miller blocking at the point of attack for Parker.

Again, frankly, I expected more analysis from you guys.

by Jon (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 5:25pm

The equalizer for the Steelers will have to be Big Ben, the most poised, polished second-year quarterback to step onto the field since John Elway was a sophomore.

Wasn't John Elway in the same draft class as Dan Marino? Granted, I don't have a strong recollection of how poised and polished each looked in 1984, but Marino set all kinds of passing records and led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl that year, so he must have been pretty good.

by GaryS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:11pm

Someone made a comment on another post, that the Steelers do much better when they come out throwing, like they did last week in Indy, than they do running. It will be interesting to see whether Cowher will open it up again and throw against an average Denver secondary, or tighten up and try to pound the ball. Given Cowher's history in playoff games, my guess is he will play it conservative in the big game, try and run, and get stuffed.

On the other hand, the Steeler's best chance will be in pressuring Plummer into mistakes. I would guess that Shannahan will roll Plummer out to avoid the rush, and where he is more successful passing.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:12pm

I'll take Steve Smith and the points.

Delhomme and Smith tore up one of the leagues best defenses. Seattle gave up a big second half to Moss, who is Smith's twin brother. Add in the fact that Carolina will be able to pass it to people other than Smith, and I see them jumping on Seattle early.

Seattle's line didn't impress with their run blocking at all. They weren't able to produce a 100+ yard day for Alexander's backup. Seattle better hope they don't get Hochuli's crew, as they will call the game fairly and get them for offensive holding.

The right tackle was holding on Seattle's first two touchdowns last week, and both times it gave Hasselbeck time to find Jackson, and a path to scramble to the end zone.

Of course, it all comes down to who executes the game plans better, and what team makes the least mistakes... it is going to be loud in Seattle again.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:16pm

Delhomme and Smith tore up one of the leagues best defenses.

And gave up almost as many points to one of the leagues worst offenses. Neither team played very well defensively, and their defense was one of the stronger points for both teams in that game. Carolina's ranked 3rd in defensive DVOA.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:22pm

One of the things about those stats is that while we may be aware of the teams strengths and weaknesses, that doesn't mean the Steelers are. Just because the stats here show them as running well off the left side, it doesn't mean necessarily that the Steelers will notice.

The loss for the Panthers is more Peppers than DeShaun Foster. Goings can do an adequate enough job and whenever I've seen him, been a more consistant back than Foster is (The stats might not back that up, but thats just what I've seen).

The way the Panthers can win against the Seahawks IMO is they need to neutralize the Seahawks biggest strength - their offensive line. Don't expect the Panthers to do much blitzing - this plays into Seattle's strength.

What seperates the good teams in crunch time and the bad teams is film study. The Panthers are excellent film students, whenever you watch them they read and pick up on trends very quickly. Eli said it felt like the Panthers were in the huddle. and its hard to study a QB whose played a game and a half in the past year and a half.

The Panthers have been the most dominant team in the playoffs this year and even with the entire country knowing the Panthers offensive game plan, they still shredded the best defense in the league, at home. I don't know how fair it is to just write them off because of the Seahawks O-line.

by Mike Tanier :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:22pm

#4, #9:

The picks on Rundown are informed by DVOA and DPAR but not based on DVOA and DPAR.

I check lots and lots of DVOA breakdowns before I make a big pick, but I also draw on my own opinions about matchups.

For example, I don't strictly look at the breakdowns by backs and receivers and decide that the Steelers #2 wide receiver will have a good day. I see the Steelers as a team with a great first option at wideout and lots of okay secondary options. I see the Broncos as a team with a very good #1 corner (who was playing hurt much of the year) and very good "other" pass defenders. Hence, I figure Ward contained, Miller, Randle El, et al stopped.

I also look at what the Steelers like to do offensively (have Ward run crossing drag routes through multiple zones) and conclude that he may have trouble against LBs who play zone defense well.

I don't go into a lot of specifics, because Rundown is written for the general FOX audience, unlike Too Deep Zone. I try to introduce and explain general FO concepts (I'll talk about DeShaun Foster's Success Rate or explain about fumble luck) without diving too far into the actual stats.

Later in the week, Aaron posts his game previews. There is much more intese analysis there. His accuracy also tends to be a wee bit higher ...

by Luz (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:26pm


um, when you say:

"Given Cowher’s history in playoff games, my guess is he will play it conservative in the big game, try and run, and get stuffed."

is that counting the multiple halfback passes, suprise on-side kicks, wr-qb throwbacks, etc. or not? i know that conventional labeling has cowher as a martyball wanna-be but i think that is up there with other steelers myths like "that the steelers only run the ball" and "ben roethlisberger only manages games."

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:28pm

That's what I can't figure out puntnap; if you gave up three touchdown drives to the Bears, after getting a quick jump on them, how are you going to perform versus the Seahawks? If Peppers loses any effectiveness due to injury, the Panthers are going to be hurting. I wouldn't wager anything on the Seahawks, but a wager on the Panthers seems less promising.

The Bears horrible punting performance also greatly aided the Panthers offense. Is that likely to be repeated?

by Hawkwolf (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:41pm

"Seattle gave up a big second half to Moss, who is Smith’s twin brother"

A big second half? Let's see, unless I was watching a different game, Moss managed exactly ONE TD, and that one was off a ball that bounced off a Seahawk helmet. And in spite of what so many NFL pundits think, there's only one stat that matters at the end of the game, and that's the score.

"Seattle’s line didn’t impress with their run blocking at all. They weren’t able to produce a 100+ yard day for Alexander’s backup."

No, they were only able to open a hole for Mack Strong to rip off a 32 yard run. They were only able to control the Redskins D well enough that Matt Hasselbeck ran in for a TD, and had all the time in the world to hit his receivers. And , since it can be argued that Morris, Strong, and Hasselbeck WERE Shaun's backups, the fact that they combined for a total of 110 yards pretty much blows that argument out of the water anyway.

Can the Seahawks make it past Carolina to the Superbowl? Seattle fans hope so, and this year's team makes that hope something more than wishful thinking.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:42pm

So the other thing to note regarding the Steelers-Broncos game: Broncos are far and away better at running the ball left end (tied for first in the league running left, 25th in the league running right end). Steelers are far and away worst at defending against runs running left end (18th in the league, as opposed to ranked 6/3/5 in runs to the inside).

Methinks Denver would do well to feature Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne, perhaps.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 6:59pm

Mike - Thanks for the additional info. As I said in another thread, I'm spoiled by the analysis I'm used to seeing on FO, so when I see less, I'm disappointed. Your point about writing to the audience is valid.

Another reason I love FO: You can criticize an article, and the author will explain what he was thinking...

by dd (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 7:00pm

I understand that Carolina gave up a lot of points to the terrible Bear offense. A couple of things to consider though is that no matter what you say about Grossman, he's at least better than Orton, who lead the offense almost the whole season. Also the Panthers jumped to a quick lead on the Bears, forcing them to play from behind all game. Its not that suprising that when they started airing it out they were able to score.

by GaryS (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 7:02pm

Cowher's history is a 1-4 record in the AFC Championship games, all of which were played in Pittsburg where the Steelers were the favorite. Something's amiss, don't you agree?

I'm not so sure that throwing a pass off of a reverse, or a halfback pass in a game necessarily means the game plan is not conservative.
Where Cowher and Marty S are similar are in their commitment to taking the air out of the ball once they get the lead.
Don't get me wrong, Cowher is an excellent coach, but he aapears to lack the killer instinct once he gets to this level. Too often he is satisfied with a 10 point lead, and tries to run the clock instead of getting more points off a team that is on the ropes.

Look at the 4th Q in Indy. Twice he goes for it on 4th down and makes it, which is aggressive coaching. Yet, once he gets the first down, he doesn't go down the field with a pass. A short pass, yes, but not down the field. When you are playing teams at this level, and you are inside the opponents 40 with 6-7 minutes to play, you need to get more points.

Running the clock doesn't always result in a win, just close defeats.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 7:10pm

I don't agree with the sentiment that the Pats front 7 are more imposing than the Steeler's front 7. However, supposing I do, I think the difference is that the Steelers really play with a front 7 1/2 or 7 3/4. I think Polamalu's ability to fake the blitz and get back into coverage really throws teams for a loop. So does the hair.

Not saying that I think the Steelers are a mortal lock, but the fact that we aren't playing at home has to be something...right??

by Craigo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 7:44pm

#22 - They show this stat in nearly every Steeler broadcast, but cowher is something like 100-1-1 when get s a lead of 10 pts or more. Yes, sometimes running the ball and controlling the clock leads to a defeat.

And while I don't have have every Cowher-era playoff loss filed in my brain, at least two of those, Super Bowl XXX and the 2001 AFC title game, came due to late interceptions.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 7:49pm

Its amazing to me that this is only article I've seen nationally that seems to like the Broncos (for the 2nd consecutive week)(apologies to Aaron who says nice things about Denver in the power-rankings, but then still sticks to the "Pats lost it" in the narrative... his team, he's excused)....and there seems to be a lot of Seattle naysayers as well. East Coast bias? ;-)

Personally, I put these game similar to where I put last weeks Denver vs. Pats... with homefield advantage, it'll be tough to beat the Broncos or Seahawks. Both are well-rounded teams with no obvious weaknesses. Carolina is too one-dimensional (even if Smith is the best one-dimension in football), and Pitt is on the road with a dinged up QB.

They'll both be good games, but I'm sticking with the home teams.

by Paul (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 7:56pm

All right! The Chiefs are still in it!! Oh wait ... but ... but he said the best offensive lines in football. Oh , he meant of the 4 teams left. Oh I see OK.

by morganja (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 8:00pm

The Seattle game will hinge on whether the refs call a hold against Seattle's offense. They didn't last week and allowed them to hold all day long against the Redskins, essentially winning the game for them. Seattle got called for two penalties when they should have been called for about eight. Granted less since if they see that the refs will actually call a holding penalty they will stop blatantly holding and revert to the stuff that linemen usually get away with. But I predict another meltdown by the refs and two penalties called against Seattle.

by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 8:01pm

I don't understand why the Patriots got so much respect last week and also this week. Let's face it, if the Patriots played in the AFC West they win 6 or 7 games. They aren't anywhere near a Super Bowl quality team unless they played in the NFC. I don't understand why people are are so down on the Broncos. Anyone who can go 13-3 in the AFC West this year is an excellent team.

by Luz (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 8:03pm


it's hard to say who to credit/fault for play calling. cowher, to my understanding doesn't call plays. that's what the OC does. the 4th quarter of last game, as people here are fond of pointing out, is hardly a huge sample size. there is also the consideration that roethlisberger's arm was hit earlier and we don't know whether that influences play calling.

cowher is 1-4 in AFC championship games, as you point out. however, how many of those losses were due to "takikng the air out of the ball?"

certainly not '04 where roethlisbergers TOs turned the tide in that game.

not in '01 either. the steelers never had a lead in that game.

in the '97 game against denver the steelers briefly had a lead but were again down by halftime.

the steelers had small leads (less then 10 pts) in both the '94 and '95 game but in both games threw the ball between 40-50 times and ran no more than 25 times.

so to say that cowher = marty = playing conservative late in games = afc champ. losses, doesn't add up. the only time you could argue that cowher had a conservative game plan was in last years playoffs. it's possible that it is because of cowhers style of play or it maybe due to having a rookie QB who's nerves/arm may not have been up to par. i know which theory i personally favor.

by Luz (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 8:06pm

also, my punctuation, grammer and spelling suck. oh well.

by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 8:20pm

If the Panthers are a one-dimensional offense, Steve Smith is a space-like vector in Minkowski Space one light-second in length.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 8:53pm

he most poised, polished second-year quarterback to step onto the field since John Elway was a sophomore.

Wasn’t John Elway in the same draft class as Dan Marino?

umm..yes, that was a rather strange comparson to make--Elway's 1984 season was decidedly indifferent and certainly not even CLOSE to what Marino did

by Raffaele DiBacco (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 9:07pm

What is all this new affection for the Pittsburgh Steelers? So they beat a fading Bengal team and an extremely overrated, not to mention rusty, Colts team. If I were a Bronco fan I would be livid at reading all the commentary on the "unbeatable" Steelers. I am a die-hard Seahawks fan, and even I admit that there's home-field advantage (like in Seatlle) and then there's Mile-High advantage. Heck, the Broncos are something like 12-2 in home playoff games. Even with Craig Morton at quarterback, they prevailed and went to the Super Bowl. And I know Jake "the Snake" is better than he was...

by Mshray (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 9:12pm

Hey Putnamp, are you gonna watch the game at home? If you are gonna be outside somewhere click my name & make a post at Stream of Consciousness/Sports Thread or once you're on the board you can figure out how to contact me. You're not by any chance also a Foghead are you?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 9:17pm

Tom, comparing the Pats defensive front seven earlier in the season, with what they were at the end of the season, is just silly. I thought the Broncos would win, but I also thought that the Pats front 7 would stymie the Denver attack pretty well. I was right. I didn't forsee the Broncos recovering all four fumbles, nor did I forsee a phantom PI call, which, combined with Brady's uncharateristic inaccuracy, even without being pressured, meant that the margin of victory was greater than I anticipated.

If the officials go the other way on the PI call and the Bailey fumble, however, which they very easily could have, and perhaps should have, and the game is just about where I thought it would be, which is a nail-biter. Even perfect analysis, which I am NOT laying claim to, cannot account for the random element inherent in the game.

As to the next contest, I don't see a Richard Seymour in the Black and Gold, and as good as Polamalu can be, safeties just ain't as influential on a game as a dominant defensive lineman, which is why I am not quite yet up to predicting an upset. Pat's statistics above, regarding running at the left end, cause me concern, because if the Broncos do get their running game going well, I think the Steelers will have a hard time of it. I just believed very, very, strongly that the Broncos would not run well on the Patriots. I don't have that belief here. Yet.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 9:24pm

I left a post there, and am doing my best to get a few folks together to bear witness to what I hope is our first trip to the Super Bowl. Not to get too tangential, but my head's still swimming at the possibility. Last week I ended up in a Sports Bar where everyone was cheering for the Redskins - I think most of them just couldn't resist a 9 1/2 point spread in the playoffs (hope they at least took the Steelers too, then..), because I only saw one Redskins jersey in the place.

I will be meeting up with a few people, and bringing my girlfriend and her friend as well. Hope to see you there!

by Countertorque (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 9:50pm

Mike, I like your writing. These Rundown articles seem to get more entertaining each week.

by Mike Tanier :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 9:52pm

Minkowski Space ... hehehe ... Minkowski was a great scientist until he got hurt and Favre took over string theory.

I was in a bar full of Redskins fans, too! Then, they started cheering for a late field goal and I realized they were Spreadskin Fans.

by Luz (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 10:01pm


where are the pro-steelers articles? i haven't seen much in the way of commentary about the den-pit game at all, let alone "unbeatable" steelers articles. point the way, i always like reading pro-steelers articles, even if they're inaccurate.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 10:03pm

So both teams will be running around left end. It's going to look like a waltz.

by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 10:42pm

I love all this talk about how the Broncos were lucky to beat the Patriots because of bad officiating, fumbles, etc. This complaining about a team that is probably the luckiest team in the history of football! Every Super Bowl win was very close and could've gone either way. And let's not even talk about the Oakland "win."

by Luke (not verified) :: Wed, 01/18/2006 - 11:01pm

I think it was Ronde Barber who said "if you shut down Steve Smith Carolina's offense is going exactly nowhere."

And thats what this game boils down to. If the Seahawks limit Smith to 100yds they win. What they cant afford to do is have 3 DBs surround Smith but noone play the ball, which is what happened to Moss on 4th and 16 last Saturday.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 12:00am

Uh, Tom, lighten up. Nobody is complaining about anything, merely observing that it is unlikely that the Broncos will recover the next four fumbles that they are involved in, and they may not get a phantom 40 yard PI call on Sunday. It wouldn't bother me in the least if the Broncos win.

by Cody (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 8:53am


New affection for the Steelers? Seems like everywhere I look folks are talking about how the Broncos are gonna win. Anyway, the affection you speak of is probably resultant of everyone on T.V. trying not to look stupid after the Colts practically got dominated when they expected the Colts to serve the Steelers a blowout. Good to see more folks discount us though, seems to feed the team.

by Sam B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 9:02am

Mike, I like your writing. These Rundown articles seem to get more entertaining each week.

Me too - I thought the intro to that rundown was one of the funniest, with

Jake Plummer? Those aren't plays on his wristband. They're Beatitudes.

being a particular highlight!

by Raffaele DiBacco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 10:27am

#39 -

I have scoured the web for unbiases analysis of this week's championship games. The only place I've found it is here, on footballoutsiders.com.

Pretty much all the other major football sites insist that the Steelers pulled off one of the most unheralded upsets in NFL playoff history. This despite the fact that the Colts have been sliding downhill since the Chargers game, and since they hadn't played as a unit since early December.

Meanwhile, these same sites claim that the Patriots handed the Broncos their playoff win. Here's a thought, maybe, just maybe, the Broncos are a pretty good football team. Dare I say it, the Broncos are better than the Patriots. I live in New England, and God forbid, if someone thinks there's a better team out there than the Patriots.

Nothing against the Steelers. I have great respect for the team and the Pennsylvania faithful. But gosh, could someone please admit that the Broncos 13-3 could possible not be an illusion...

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 11:41am

It's sad that a FO article asserts the DEN OL the best in the league. DVOA-wise, they're clearly behind both IND and CIN. I can understand calling them one of the best (particularly compared to the generally overrated PIT OL), but where is the evidence that DVOA is wrong?

Unfortunately (I'm a PIT fan), I think we're going to see a heavy does of DEN stretch plays left (perhaps accompanied by some judicious low blocks on Kimo's injured knee). If PIT can defend these, they have a good chance.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 11:42am


As to the oakland win:

the rule says if the arm is coming forward, its an incomplete pass. The quarterbacks intentions do not matter. It was the correct call, and it was a textbook example of the rule.

by posy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 12:37pm

As a Panther's fan, I was worried about this weeks game. Now that the geeks at FO have picked the 'Hawks to win, I feel much more confident in the Panthes.

by posy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 12:39pm

Take away Steve Smith and you leave Drew Carter open.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 1:12pm

For those of you slightly confused by post #50, a little lesson in linguistics.

During the 1600's a change in pronunciation occurred which linguists refer to as the Great Vowel Shift. For a variety of sociological reasons, the actual pronunciation of English words changed. This is most notable in several plays of Shakespeare, where rhymes at the time of composition no longer exist.

Due to English colonization at the same time, though, some shreds of the old pronunciation made it to the New World; in fact, most linguists today regard the speech of residents in the Carolina mountains as the closest still extant to Elizabethan speech patterns.

Hence, what the majority of us read as "Drew Carter" is actually being pronounced "Inanimate Carbon Rod." Hope this clears up the confusion.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 1:24pm

#51 - ROFLisberger

by David (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 3:39pm

You're sure? I thought it was "Throadwarbler Mangrove."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Oh, and compliments to #52 on the name. I love not being the only anime nerd on a football site.

by Raffaele DiBacco (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 3:39pm

#50 --

Drew who?

- Signed, A Seahawks fan.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 3:41pm

#46: I can understand your frustration. I willingly concede that at 13-3 (playing the NFC East and the AFC West, two conferences that could have sent 3 teams a piece to the playoffs) are not an illusion. I also agree that the Broncos won their game on their own merits. I can't understand why people insist that they didn't. They could just be in shock that Brady OMG!!!! didn't win a playoff game.

I think the coverage of the Steelers is just a CYA move by all the talking heads that got it wrong. Not that a reasonable person could blame them. Here's to a good game this weekend.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 3:54pm

Puro fututoboo ruriigu o kakumei suru tame ni!

/yay Engrish/Babelfish

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 9:53pm

I think I believe that the Broncos will run effectively, which means I don't think the Steelers can win without a big dose of luck. I also think I have a good chance of changing my mind by tomorrow.

by Sara (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 5:48pm

#54 - don't worry, you'll find out Sunday.

by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/22/2006 - 5:07am

I'm kind of surprised at all the people who are just saying "Brady had a bad day" against Denver.

As near as I can tell, Denver's plan was to give up yards in order to rattle Brady. They came out and said that at the beginning of the game. "Our goal is to get to Tom Brady." They made that their primary goal even if it meant giving up lots of yards to screens and dump-offs.

Well, they gave up lots of yards to screens and dump-offs. And they rattled Brady. And their strategy paid off.

It was a gamble. What if they'd stayed back in coverage and taken away the dump-offs, and Brady had stayed cool and collected all game long? The stats would look quite different. So might the result.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/23/2006 - 1:38pm

The Seahawks will win, the Seahawks will cover that four-point spread, and they will out-muscle a great-but-injured Panthers defense to beat the over (44 at press time). And this is an East Coast analyst talkin'.

Right on, Mike.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/23/2006 - 1:45pm

RE: 49

You're still an idiot. Go back to FOXsports.