Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Link of the Day - Those Steelers are SOOOOOO good!

Count ESPN's Scouts Inc. on the Steelers bandwagon. Of course, this is the same group that overwhelmingly picked Carolina to also beat us, but what the hey. All this stuff is Insider, so I won't paste the links, but I will put a few key quotes in here about matchups and team strengths and weaknesses.

First, Scouts posted a piece dealing with five key matchups in the game. Here's a snippet of all five.....

1. Hasselbeck vs. Polamalu

Their conclusion: Hasselbeck must play very well if the Seahawks are going to become champs.

2. Tatupu vs. Parker/Bettis

Their conclusion: It will take all 11 players to slow down Pittsburgh's running game, but Tatupu will be the guy leading the charge.

3. Alexander vs. Farrior

Their conclusion: The running will be tough in the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh will test Alexander's toughness. The Steelers will be looking to hit Alexander in the mouth early and let him know that he will have to earn every yard.

4. Jones vs. Porter

Their conclusion: While some teams have to slide a tight end to help on Porter, Seattle will let Jones handle him one-on-one. His ability to do that will allow Seattle TE Jerramy Stevens to stay involved in the passing game.

5. Trufant vs. Ward

Their conclusion: Trufant will have to play his most physical game of the season in coverage and also in run support, because Ward is the best blocking wide receiver in the game.

Do you notice a pattern here? Apparently the Seahawks individually will have to play the best game of the season/of their career in order to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Heck, Trufant and company just handled Steve Smith, but watch out! Here's Hines Ward! Hasselbeck might be the best quarterback in the NFC but, oh no! Here's Troy Polamalu! Tatupu might be the unquestioned leader of the defense as a rookie, but baaaah! It's the Steelers' "potent" offensive line and superior running attack! Shaun Alexander might be the MVP of the league and an 1800 yard rusher, but he's soft! James Farrior and the Steelers are TOUGH and they will HIT HIM IN THE MOUTH! Man, I bet Carolina wishes they had thought of that. If only they had tried to hit Shaun hard instead of tackling him soft and pussy-ish. At least they respect Walter Jones, the only Seahawk who just needs to put in a regular performance to hold down Joey Porter.

Anyhoo, let's move on to their preview and game pick.

They begin the preview with looking at nine basic categories and picking which team is better in that category.

The Hawks, according to them, have a better quarterback (WOW), a better running back, a better offensive line, a better defensive line, and a better coach. The Steelers have a better group of wide receivers, better linebackers, a better secondary, and better special teams.

To me, all those picks are pretty respectable. You could perhaps make an argument that the Hawks have a better group of wide receivers, and Pittsburgh's secondary is simply average without Troy Polamalu, but they do definitely have a better overall group of linebackers and better special teams. So, looks like the Hawks are better in 5 of the 9 categories. That should mean we would win, right?

Right?

Nope. The overall edge goes to the Steelers. Let me give you the basic reasoning for this pick.

1. Cedrick Wilson - The X-Factor offensively for the Steelers, someone who was basically nonexistent during the regular season but has come up with huge plays during the postseason.

2. The opening up of the Pittsburgh offense and the play of Big Ben - I'm sure that, unless you work in Pioneer Square (see post from yesterday), you realize that Big Ben has played remarkable football this postseason and caught both the Colts and Broncos off-guard with their passing game in the first half. Don't expect the Seahawks to make the same mistake. Big Ben might still beat us, but we will be ready for it.

3. The Steelers play a 3-4 defense - We've heard enough of this one already. At least THEY do know that the Texans and 49ers also had 3-4 defenses.

4. Seattle will be forced to use a lot of 3 receiver sets which will take Mack Strong out of the game and force Shaun wide all the time - Ummmm, we go with 3 wide sets a lot every game, and Mack still has plenty of time to make an impact. Have to call foul on this point.

5. Marquand Manuel is a "try hard" player who struggles in coverage and will allow Heath Miller to go nuts - This, for once, is an actual point. I don't believe Manuel "struggles" in coverage, but face it. Tight ends like Shockey have owned us this season, and Miller could be a big factor in this game.

6. Robbie Tobeck will have to play the best game of his career to handle NT Casey Hampton - That line sounds pretty darn familiar. Hmmmm. A Seahawk having to play the best game of his career to handle an opposing player. Hmmmm.

7. Special Teams - I don't even want to discuss this. I cringe every time Scobey handles the ball or Rouen comes on to punt.

They conclude by saying that our offensive line will have to play its best game of the season (wow, way to make a new point, guys), and they just can't pick against a team that dismantled the top three AFC seeds. So..... 24-20 Steelers.

I love life! I love everyone! 10 days to go! Please, Seahawks, prove all these doubters wrong!

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:13 AM  0 comments

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