(Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Yes, the Steelers put themselves in a jam by losing twice to the woeful Ravens this year, yes, they put themselves in jams by losing to teams that they should have beaten, and, yes, they needed help from the Buffalo Bills to back-door their way into the NFL Playoffs, but you know what?
Who cares???? THE STEELERS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!
And speaking of those Buffalo Bills, I happened across this meme on Facebook today, and its too good not to share:
I am pleased to see that the Steelers have drawn the Bengals as their opening round opponent this year. Yeah, the Bengals are better than in past years, but Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton have yet to win a playoff game, and maybe this will be the year when that will change, but, all things being equal, I'd rather see the Steelers play Cincy than any other team in the draw. As I have often said, you can always count on the Bengals being the Bengals, and I'll keep saying that until they prove me wrong.
I will say this, however. The injury to RB DeAngelo Williams is alarming, and it brings back thoughts to last year when the Steelers lost LeVeon Bell in the last game of the season. Unable to run the ball, they were swamped by Baltimore in the opening round.
Back on September 10, I wrote a pre-season forecast post for the Steelers. You can read it here http://www.grandstander.blogspot.com/2015/09/are-you-ready-for-some-football.html if you like, but among things that I said in that were:
I will also say this....if Number 7 goes down for any significant length of time, kiss a winning season and the playoffs good-bye.
Number 7 did go down early on and missed four games. The fact they the Steelers, with Mike Vick and Landry Jones at the helm managed to go 2-2 in those games was remarkable. Roethlisberger went on to have perhaps his greatest season ever, despite that clinker n Baltimore last week.
I also wrote this:
So, you want a prediction, here's one: 10-6 and in the Playoffs.
As they say, I believe I had that. Unfortunately, I didn't bet on this with anyone.
Is there a more dysfunctional organization in all of sports than the Cleveland Browns? I the last eleven seasons, the Browns have employed five head coaches: Romeo Crennel (4 seasons), Eric Mangini (2), Pat Shurmer (2), Rob Chudzinski (1), and Mike Pettine (2), and now are looking for yet another one. Owner Jimmy Haslem, who before buying the Browns had been a part owner of the Steelers. The Steelers, as everyone knows, have had three head coaches in the last 47 seasons. Haslem, obviously, didn't hang around the Steelers front office much when he was in Pittsburgh, or if he did, he sure didn't learn anything when he was there.
As was pointed out on the CBS telecast yesterday, each of the first four guys had been fired after losing the final game of the season against the Steelers, and now Pettine become Victim #5 in this peculiar litany. What are the odds of that?
It can also be noted that the Browns once had and then fired Bill Belichick as their head coach, although to be fair, that was the "old" Browns of Art Modell that made that move.
In any event, good luck to whomever the poor guy is that the Browns hire to right this sinking ship.
And speaking of predictions, how did Sports Illustrated do in it's pre-season NFL forecast?
Well, the twelve teams that they predicted, in order of playoff seeding, were:
AFC: Broncos, Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Texans, Steelers
NFC: Eagles, Packers, Seahawks, Panthers, Cowboys, Rams
They were right on four teams in the AFC, three in the NFC. In the AFC they were wrong in missing the Bengals and Chiefs, and they were way wrong in calling for the Colts and Ravens, who both pretty much stunk this year. In the NFC, they were way wrong with the Eagles, and the Cardinals, who are the #2 seed in the Conference, were going to be a last place team according to SI. They also had the NFC East champ Redskins assigned to last place in that division. They also had there Ravens winning the Super Bowl.
Well, as Yogi Berra might have put it, when it comes to predicting the NFL, you don't know nothin'. Nobody does.