This land was always ours..Was the proud land of our fathers
Hello kids. I have a slightly different approach this week…I don’t care about the Cards game…Perch and Hardnosed covered it. It is Patriots week…Everyone has their own unique story for hating the Patriots; I’m sorry once again I don’t care. This week is about me…The Steelers must win this game for me…I have spent around a thousand hours writing these pre games over the years…The Steelers have fucked me every time they played the Patriots…I bet against the Steelers when they won their lone game.
This week should be about you Steelers nation; I admit I am in a self serving place you should be too …This is pay back for the shit eating grins and comments you had to endure over the years; this makes the frozen nut sac from sitting in those bleachers in 2004 worth it…The Steelers must win this game. I don’t live in New England…Some fantastic posters do…They deserve the opportunity to gloat. This new found Patriots fan base disgusts me.
I feel like talking football.
Steelers with the Ball
The Patriots use a ton of different players…They roll eight to nine defensive linemen/outside linebackers….Bill Belicheck is a defensive mastermind…He will win a game of chess against Bruce Arians. Arians has a big advantage in this game…Talent at the skill positions…Belicheck can devise a great defensive scheme…If he doesn’t have the horses he can’t win the race. Heading into this game Arians knows he needs to put touchdowns on the board and control the ball/clock… I believe Arians uncorks the no huddle offense early…It limits the amount of substituting and exotic defensive schemes Belicheck can utilize it also makes the quarterback happy…Ben has been yearning for the no huddle…I think he may get his wish.
The Steelers need to come together and execute offensively; Fans have posted the Steelers need to play a perfect game…A perfect game doesn’t exist…Its hyperbole. The Steelers are going to screw up at some point. The Steelers cannot afford turnovers or dumb penalties …How they deal with the adversity will tell the true character of this team. I understand the Pats are coming off a bye week…Belicheck with 12 days of preparation could be a recipe for disaster…The Steelers have been a different beast at home this season…Most of the heartbreak happened years ago…This game means everything to Hampton LeBeau Farrior and Ward.
I mentioned it on the podcast last week…I think Bruce Arians has been holding back a few things the past four or five weeks…Arians can call the perfect play if one guy screws up the play is dead…It will take 11 guys working as one to successfully put points on the board...The biggest thing…NO TURNOVERS. By the way…The Patriots defense isn’t very good.
Run Game Matchups
Max Starks and Gerard Warren and Andre Carter
I am amazed how many downs Andre Carter plays at 34 end. I expect Warren gets a bulk of the run downs against base formation offensive sets. Warren is a massive wide body who can eat up space in the run game….There is no real reason for Starks to blow defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage when they are lined up outside of him…The Steelers only run left…He walls the defender away from the play with his big body and moves to the second level. I believe Starks may be asked to dominate the line of scrimmage…I expect the Steelers run left a few times this week. Starks and Warren will be an interesting battle. Starks will abuse Andre Carter in the run game…Carter is a fantastic technician…He is too damn small to play the run.
Kemo Pouncey and Foster Vs Wilfork Spikes and Mayo
Vince Wilfork is hell on wheels. Last year Pouncey played pretty well…He needs to be better this season. The Steelers expect Pouncey to handle Wilfork without much help in the run game and I believe he can…The Steelers have issues passing off defensive linemen too early and moving to the 2nd level…You have to block the defensive linemen before you move to the backers. Brandon Spikes is a sledgehammer against the run…He reads and punishes…Spikes can’t beat a block to save his life. Jerrod Mayo is a finesse inside linebacker who makes as many plays with brains as he does with his brawn. The Steelers must find a way to block Wilfork and pick off the inside linebackers at the second level….Part of the responsibility will go to David Johnson…Johnson is best suited for small area attack missions…Johnson does a great job as an in line blocker…He struggles sometimes when he is asked to block moving targets…Johnson must get the job done this week if the Steelers expect to run the football between the tackles.
Gilbert and Shaun Ellis
Key matchup of the game; Gilbert is still feeling his oats as an NFL offensive linemen he is a big strong kid with very good feet…The game is still fast…He has to think instead of react…He is getting better every week. Ellis is a step or two slower than he was…He is nowhere near as explosive or powerful at the point of attack…He can still play 25-30 plays at a very high level. Gilbert has to play this game like a mean bear with a sore pucker hole same thing with Starks…Both must play angry. Gilbert could dominate this matchup he has all the ability in the world….He is close to putting it together.
The Patriots will also play Albert Haynesworth inside…He is not much of a threat playing two gap.
I expect the Steelers tight ends to dominate the Patriots outside linebackers in the run game. Rob Ninkovich and Gary Guyton are both high motor players…The Steelers tight ends should physically destroy them at the point of attack. Wes Saunders is quietly becoming a dominate run blocker…Heath Miller looks healthy…His effort in the run game was never questioned…Miller needs to be a force in this game.
Mendenhall and all the backs must protect the football. I have a feeling Mendy has a huge week…I think Arians is going to run the ball out of no huddle sets…I believe the Pats are going to mix coverages with blitz packages and the Steelers are going to catch them for a few big plays. Mendy has to take what’s there…Get down hill then look to cut or bounce the ball to the edge of the defense. Redman is Earnest Jackson reincarnate…Redman is relentless he will battle for an inch. Mwelde Moore has his warts…He continues to make plays for this offense…The Steelers will need his talents in blitz pickup and the occasional 3rd down runs.
The Patriots safeties are a force in the run game…Hines Ward will most likely play this week…I expect his role may be limited. Antonio Brown and Manny Sanders want to be known as complete receivers…Complete receivers block in the run game… Patrick Chung and Josh Barrett will attempt to lay the wood in the run game…It’s Brown and Sanders job to make sure that doesn’t happen. I have been very impressed with both players in the run game…They will have a big test this week. Mike Wallace’s speed makes his run blocking elite.
If Arians calls a smart game and the player execute…I believe the Steelers could jam the fucking ball down the Patriots throats in the run game.
Starks and Carter
I should be worried about this matchup….Carter is the Patriots best pass rusher. I’m not worried about this matchup at all. Max Starks is a gamer…A big game player. He never lost a playoff game he has started…He has shut down elite 34 outside rushers in the past…DeMarcus Ware anyone? How about a healthy Shawn Merriman twice? Starks plays to the level of his competition…I expect Starks shuts down Carter rushing the passer this week.
Kemo and Warren
This is a bad matchup for the Steelers. Warren is a decent player who has given Kemo fits over the years. Warren is surprisingly quick and agile for an obese man. Kemo is stupid…We all know that…His technique in pass pro has improved greatly…The Steelers need Kemo to play a great game…I have a feeling Kemo plays a good game…I expect Warren does some damage in this game rushing the passer.
Foster and Wilfork/Ellis
Another rough matchup for the Steelers on paper…Foster has been the Steelers best offensive linemen three of the past four weeks in my opinion. Foster isn’t pretty he is very effective…Foster’s technique in pass pro is simple…He lands his punch and then he holds…He keeps his hands inside and rarely gets caught…Foster is massive Wilfork has little chance of bull rushing him into Ben’s lap…Ellis is a crafty vet who may give Foster some issues with quickness. Foster is becoming the lynchpin of the Steelers offensive line; the funny thing…He may be the most overlooked player on the roster.
Gilbert and Mark Anderson
This matchup scares me. Mark Anderson is a speed demon…He is a pure speed rusher off the edge with very long arms and an innate ability to guess the snap count. Gilbert has to get out of his stance and move his feet this week or Anderson will make him look silly.
The Pats will be forced to blitz…The offensive line has to pick it up and Ben must deliver the ball on time….The Steelers can not afford mistakes…They must put points on the board.
The Steelers will look to attack Mayo and Spikes in the passing game…Mayo will draw Heath Miller…I like the matchup….Miller will use his size and strength to get open…Mayo has some issues closing the deal on big ball carriers….Miller could be a major weapon in this game with yards after catch…The Patriots safeties are not the best tacklers…They are big time hitters. Spikes struggles in coverage…He is very good as a Blitzer…The Steelers backs and tight ends are major mismatches over Spikes…The Steelers must attack Spikes when he drops into coverage. Gary Guyton is the Pats nickel backer he will sub in for Spikes in nickel and dime packages…Guyton is a very solid player against the pass…Guyton will be asked to do some things he is not capable of doing against the Steelers…If the Pats ask Guyton to cover the Steelers inside receiver: the Steelers should attack the matchup vertically it should be an instant route adjustment.
Mike Wallace is fast….Notice Devin McCourty spoke about Wallace to the press not Leigh Bodden the player who will be covering him this week. Bodden will be forced to play 10 yards off the ball…I see no way Belicheck allows Wallace to beat his defense over the top…I expect the Patriots attempt to bracket Wallace with Bodden and free safety Josh Barrett. Hines Ward will most likely play in a limited role this week…I expect Antonio Brown and Manny Sanders split most of the snaps…McCourty will have his hands full with both players…McCourty is a ball hawk…Brown and Sanders must fight for every 50-50 ball in the air. I believe the Patriots can take away Wallace…I don’t believe the Patriots can take away Wallace Brown Sanders Miller and Mendy. Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung is a poor man’s TP…Chung is another play maker who must be accounted for.
That leaves 7. I don’t care about the foot injury. I don’t care that the offensive line is putrid at times…Protect the ball at all costs. I would love for Ben to light it up with a perfect passer rating…Protect the ball and deliver it on time is all I ask…The rest will be a bonus.
If the Steelers execute and protect the ball I see no reason why they can’t put four touchdowns on the board against this defense.
Patriots with the Ball
I, like all of you, hate Tom Brady…I seriously hate everything about him. Actually I hate every Patriots player. The Patriots offense is not some big mystery they don’t have a secret formula for success. The Patriots are a passing team with the ability to run the ball out of any set. The Patriots rarely utilize more than 3 wide receiver sets…Brady is deadly accurate and he is willing to take what’s there. Brady has three quality weapons in the passing game…Ron Gronkowski Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker…The Steelers must take away two of the weapons. I have mentioned this before the best way to stop a superstar in team sports…Take away his time and space…Remove him from his comfort zone. Dick LeBeau must show Brady a variety of defensive fronts, blitz schemes, and coverages. Brady is a freaking statue in the pocket if you take away his 1st and 2nd reads. The Patriots offense is good…Not great…The Steelers once again cannot afford mental mistakes…They cannot give the Patriots anything…The Steelers must force the Patriots to make plays to score points.
Run Game Matchups
Keisel and Light
Light is still hanging around the NFL…He is actually having a very solid season at left tackle. The Steelers need Keisel to dominate this matchup. Keisel looks like a different player than prior to the injury…Keisel got his burst back. The Patriots rarely utilize power football principles. The Patriots run game is a byproduct of the passing game…The Patriots will run every draw, delay, or quick counter you can think of. The Steelers main goal will be to attack Brady. They must play the run on the way to quarterback. Light is similar to Max Starks in the run game…He wants to steer the defender away from the ball carrier…Keisel must set the edge forcing the ball carrier back into the pursuit.
Hampton Hoke McClendon Vs Waters Connolly and Mankins
Two Patriots games stick out to me the Cowboys and Jets. In the Cowboys game the Patriots interior offensive line took a beating. They could not handle the Cowboys speed and quickness on the inside. In the Jets game the Patriots offensive line destroyed the Jets odd fronts and jammed the ball down their throats. Anyone who believes Casey Hampton can’t play one gap is silly…I have a strange feeling Casey Hampton is a mad man in this game. Patriots center Dan Connolly is a far better guard than center. Connolly is quick but he lacks pop at the point of attack. The Patriots are expecting the Steelers defensive line to play passive two gap principles…I don’t think that will be that case. I don’t expect Chris Hoke to play…Steve McClendon showed some promise last week…His strength and quickness brings a different element to the Steelers interior run defense. Brian Waters is old slow and dirty…Logan Mankins is middle aged kind of slow and very dirty. Hampton and McClendon must force double teams in the run game or they must make plays in the backfield. Both Waters and Mankins have the ability to destroy players at the second level in the run game if they have a clean release.
Hood and Vollmer
This is a matchup of two of the best young players in the NFL. Vollmer’s play has leveled off after a fantastic 2nd season in the NFL…I guess the same thing could be said for Ziggy Hood. Vollmer is more of a pass blocker than run blocker…Vollmer is not a tough guy…Hood has to bring a nasty element to this game…Vollmer will be happy to play patty cake…Hood has to take the game to Vollmer….He must make Vollmer work in the run game. The Steelers must choke off the Patriots run game early making them one dimensional … that starts with the defensive linemen and linebackers.
The Patriots tight ends are average blockers at best…That includes future rocket scientist and Woody High grad Gronkowski. Aaron Hernandez is a blown up slot receiver who doesn’t like contact. Lamar Woodley and Lawrence Timmons must punish the Patriots tight ends in the run game…The Patriots have a huge advantage with both players in the passing game…The Steelers must beat their ass when given the opportunity in the run game. Timmons Farrior Woodley and Foote can’t miss tackles this week…The Patriots win games by taking advantage of mistakes.
The Patriots have a trio of running backs with different skill sets. Ben Green Ellis is a power back who reminds me of Isaac Redman….Green Ellis will battle for every yard and empty his gas tank…He is a no nonsense runner who attacks the hole with bad intentions. Scat back Danny Woodhead I still view as a novelty…Woodhead makes plays because defenses are so scared of Brady…Woodhead has quick feet and elite vision…He has a ton of play making ability…I believe Woodhead is a bigger threat in the passing game. Stevan Ridley is a combination of both backs…Ridley runs hard and has under rated play making ability…Ridley is the only back on the Patriots roster with home run ability the only back who can score a 40+ yard touchdown run.
The Steelers must tackle or they will be embarrassed by these backs. By the way Lawrence Timmons made a great Gildon type of play last week the rest of the game he was Casper the Friendly Ghost. Tackling is not an option this week.
The Patriots wide receivers are small body high effort type of blockers.
The Steelers need Ryan Clark and Troy to play at a pro bowl level this week.
Heyward Timmons Keisel Carter vs. Light
The Steelers will really miss James Harrison…I really miss James Harrison…I cannot believe James Harrison is not playing yet. The Steelers will attack Light with a variety of players…At this point of his career Light’s best skill is his experience…He has seen it all over the years. The Steelers will attack Light with several different players rushing the passer. Heyward and Keisel will both attack with power…Light struggles with big athletic players…I have a feeling he will have some issues with both players at times. Timmons and Carter both speed rush off the edge…I expect Light shuts both players down. Timmons needs to spend some time with Mendy and Redman…If Timmons added a counter move like a spin back to the inside he could be a deadly pass rusher. Carter flashes potential off the edge…When he is on the snap count his 1st step is as good as you will get…What makes Carter so intriguing to me is his arm length…Those 34 inch long arms keep offensive tackles out of his kitchen…Carter may end up being a solid player…He has very good tools to work with. Generally I don’t have big enough balls to post something like this…I have a sneaky feeling Heyward or Carter smoke Brady rushing the passer….I’m talking about a car wreck without air bags.
Mankins is a former college left tackle that was moved inside because he has cement feet. Keisel won’t beat Mankins up his chest with a bull rush. Mankins and Light have been around the block a few times. I don’t expect the twist stunts to be effective this week. Keisel’s best chance for success is setting up Mankins and beating him with quickness. If Keisel shuts down the run and pushes the pocket I will happy.
This is the matchup I feel the Steelers could own. Brian Waters has lost a step…His quickness is gone. Waters has to be perfect every play to be effective. Hood is a massive athletic man…He is also a big game hunter…Hood seems to shine the brightest under the big lights. I believe Hood can bull rush up Waters chest. If you want to stop Brady you have to pressure him in the interior of the defense…Brady loves to step up into the pocket to avoid pressure…I would not be surprised if Hood is waiting for him with some love.
Did I mention Woodley is streaky? The Patriots will not allow Woodley to beat them this week. I expect the Patriots account for Woodley on every passing play…Belicheck may leave Vollmer on an island early to test the waters…I don’t believe it will last long. The Patriots will help Vollmer in pass pro…Which will open up Hood Hampton Timmons and Farrior on interior blitzes….If Vollmer is left on an island with Woodley…Woodley must hunt Brady and make his day very uncomfortable.
Casey Hampton will have a sack this week.
Now the part everyone is interested in....Which I will most likely be wrong about. The Steelers are a zone defense based team …The Steelers matchup players inside of the zone.
Gronkowski and Hernandez are tough matchups for the Steelers linebackers. James Farrior Lamar Woodley and Larry Foote will be exposed in coverage…Timmons has a shot at covering both (not at the same time)…Actually I believe Timmons could cover both like a blanket. The Steelers will show some big nickel...Clark will play deep center field….I would not be surprised to see Mundy draw Hernandez at times…Mundy understands the defense….He also understands how big this game is to his hometown…Mundy may be the most improved Steelers defender. We need a defensive player of the year performance from TP.
I will now make IC happy. Danny Woodhead is a major weapon in the passing game. He can run routes like a wide receiver…He is deadly on draws and screens…The Steelers cannot afford to dump coverages this week…Woodhead has elite play making ability in the passing game. Ben Green Ellis is also a weapon in the passing game…He is not as shifty or fluid…He has soft hands and a knack for the big play.
Wes Welker will line up all over the field…He is a great player in this offense. Welker will get open the Patriots offense run so many variations out of formations…What the Steelers must do with Welker is limit his yards after catch…If Welker catches a 6 yard out…It cannot become a 15 yard catch and a 1st down.
Deion Branch has chemistry with Brady…Branch doesn’t have great physical tools…He is a quality route runner with solid hands. Branch has enough speed to split 2 deep safeties and score if the Steelers dump coverages.
Chad Johnson is lost in this offense…He is still a scary playmaker and weapon.
Julian Edelman is a poor man’s Wes Welker….He is a quality player
I did not matchup Steelers defensive backs on Patriots receivers intently.
Ike Taylor must play his game…He can shut down any player in the NFL when his head is right.
Willie Gay must learn from last year…He must harness all the hate from last year into this game. Willie Gay is due for a big play or two…Retribution.
Bryant McFadden is the Steelers secret weapon against Hernandez and Gronkowski…Fad is strong…Real strong for his size. He is also being overlooked and disrespected.
The kids at corner must play in the moment…They cannot let the game get too big for them.
Tom Brady is a Hall Of Fame quarterback and the bane of my existence. I hate him with a passion…I hate him because he is great. The way you stop a great player is simple…Force them to play fast and out of their comfort zone.
The Steelers suck…The Patriots are great.
I know I should have used the reverse double secret ju-ju…I don’t feel the Steelers will need tricks or shenanigans to win this game…The Patriots defense sucks…I believe in Ben…I also believe in the Young Money Crew.