View Full Version : AFC wide-open now

09-14-2008, 03:50 AM
AFC wide-open now
By Joe Starkey
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some grist for the mill ...

Suddenly, I'm seeing a Steelers-Cowboys Super Bowl. The Cowboys were an obvious and popular preseason pick in the NFC. They are by far the most talented team in the conference. But how about the AFC? Has a conference landscape ever changed so radically in Week 1?

Yeah, I know. Fifteen games plus playoffs lay ahead. We're talking gut feeling here, not stone-cold, lead-pipe lock.

Besides, I picked the Pirates to go 82-80 (a day I shall regret for the rest of my life).

If it came to Steelers-Cowboys, might "Hollywood" Jessica Simpson spice things up by claiming the Steelers quarterback couldn't spell "B-E-N" if you spotted him the 'B' and the 'N'?

It's not just the Tom Brady situation that shook up the AFC. Indianapolis looked decrepit at home against the fighting Kyle Orton; Jacksonville lost its starting guards for the season; and star linebacker Shawne Merriman gave up his heroic but misguided attempt to play on a torn-up knee.

Steelers-Jets in the AFC title game? Call it the Faneca Bowl.

Don't forget the Patriots. Bill Belichick lives for these situations. His approach is so flexible that he could easily flip from the spread to the power run game overnight - or even from series to series. The defensive line will still control games. Secondaries still must contend with Randy being Randy, and quarterback Matt Cassel -- the guy who played behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC and three years under Brady in New England -- will be better than people expect.

Among Cassel's housemates at USC were Palmer and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who had this to say earlier this week: "Just knowing Matt, he's a very competitive, fun, outgoing guy. I don't know how far he's progressed in the NFL, but I know he's a great athlete, and I know he's played behind the greatest quarterback, perhaps, to ever play the game. To have that and to have two Heisman Trophy winners (in front of him) in college, I mean, I'm sure he's learned a lot."

Anybody still include Greg Schiano among their hottest young coaching candidates? Rutgers has been outscored 68-19 by Fresno State and North Carolina in its first two games. Both at home. The Schiano-to-Penn State scenario suddenly seems about as likely as Dave Wannstedt taking a yoga class with Ricky Williams.

USF's pulsating win over Kansas on Friday saved the season for the Big East. Seriously, if the Bulls don't survive there, the Big East has no national title contender before conference play even begins. USF (3-0) now has a chance to rise high in the rankings. Its next four games are Florida International, North Carolina State, Pitt and Syracuse.

Matt Wieters, the 6-foot-5, switch-hitting catcher the Pirates bypassed with the fourth pick of the 2007 draft, recently was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, joining the likes of Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez and Josh Beckett as winners of that award.

Daniel Moskos, the guy the Pirates took instead of Wieters, had a 6.30 earned-run average in Class A ball.

It's hard to believe anybody in baseball, including then-Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield, would have drafted Moskos over Wieters if all things were equal. In other words, if finances and/or the fact that Scott Boras represented Wieters were not factors. Wieters signed for $6 million as the No. 5 pick with the Orioles. Moskos signed for $2.5 million at No. 4.

Littlefield deserves criticism for the pick, obviously, but let's agree on this: Any time a gaffe of such crippling magnitude occurs within a business, the owner of said business is indisputably the main culprit. In this case, that would be Bob Nutting.

Bypassing Wieters might go down as the greatest draft-day disaster in Pirates history -- pending resolution of the Pedro Alvarez case, of course.

Only five months til spring training!

Galax Steeler
09-14-2008, 06:40 AM
We have a great shot at it if we can stay healthy and keep playing like we have been we will be ok.

09-14-2008, 08:36 AM
Right now I would say we're the best team in the AFC until proven otherwise.

Patriots - No Brady, they're done.

Colts - Lost to the Bears at home

Chargers - Lost to the Panthers at home

Jacksonville - Lost to Tennessee

Tennessee - Kerry Collins at QB won't get it done.

Jets - Way overhyped. Almost lost to the Dolphins.

09-14-2008, 11:14 AM
Tennessee - Kerry Collins at QB won't get it done.

Might not get it done, but will be better with Collins at QB than with Vince Young. He is horrendous. I get tired of hearing people talk about how he is a winner and that's all he knows how to do. Its not that they win because of Young; its that they win inspite of Young. People need to get real and see past their noses.

Penn St Steelers
09-14-2008, 03:38 PM
still to early for me, but the Chargers started off the season last season in a hole and look where they ended up....playing for the right to the SB....

also the Colts...I still think Mannings knee is more then is being told.....but still the jury is out on them....all the other teams mentioned....Jets, Bills, Titans are pretenders imho....that leaves us the Pats and Chargers imo for the best in the AFC. 1 of these 3 teams will be in Miami imho

09-14-2008, 05:05 PM
would be a nice game for the afccg to play against faneca and beat them...

Penn St Steelers
09-14-2008, 05:09 PM
wow, the Donkeys behind Cutler are looking pretty good right about now....maybe we should replace the Chargers and Jets with the Donkeys huh?.......freakin Phillip Rivers....I knew I shouldn't have played him today on my Fanasty team.....