Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pickin' pigskin with Bob and Steve: Week 1, Part 1

In an effort to get some more sports content up, I'll be doing a weekly football picks column with my buddy Bob during the football season. And, similar to the Sports Gal, his wife will be picking games as well. I'll fix the formatting of this entry in a little bit, but because I'm right up against my 7 p.m. update deadline, here is the take on the first game from Bob and I:

PITTSBURGH (-6) over Tennessee

Bob: Tennessee +6

I need to say one thing up front: I hate the Steelers. Well, hate might be a strong word; but at the very least, I severely dislike the Steelers. I was never wild about the team in the first place, but their fans drive me nuts. During Week 1 last year, I was in a bar that had every game on. When Brady went down, almost every fan in the place went silent. Except for, of course, the Steelers fans, who promptly went nuts. They earned some bad mojo that day, which of course they did not suffer during last season. Perhaps finding out their starting quarterback is a rapist will be their comeuppance (or is it too soon for Roethlisberger rape jokes)?

Anyway, my dislike of the Steelers leads me to believe anything negative I hear about them (against, too soon?). And one thing that has stuck with me is that their defense does not perform well against quick, shifty runners. The Titans, with Chris Johnson, have a quick, shifty runner. As a matter of fact, last year Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry against the Steelers defense toward the end of the season; even if you take away his longest run, he averaged a respectable 3.2 yards per carry (the same as his teammate, Lendale "Tequilla-free Diet" White). So long as the Titans have the confidence to give the ball to Johnson, leaving White to stomp on terrible towels on the sidelines (this story gave me a slight man crush on him), I feel as though they can at least cover the spread. In the end, unfortunately, I still see the Steelers winning by a field goal.


See, I think you're looking at the micro-issue of the Steelers being unable to stop the Titans' running game and extrapolating it too much. I don't think this will matter as much, because the Steelers will probably get up by two scores, and the Titans will be forced to pass.

And, I think this is the Titans real Achilles' heel. The best thing that could have happened for them this preseason would have been for Vince Young to play so well that they were forced to start him. Instead, he didn't, so the Titans will have another year of Kerry Collins to look forward to. By the way, the term "game manager" is slang for "this quarterback isn't actually that good, but we don't want to give credit for the win to the defense and running back."

I think the Steelers win by at least a touchdown, and that the game is possibly a romp.

The rest of the games will be posted - hopefully - tomorrow morning or night, depending on when I get a free moment.

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