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Old 10-21-2008, 06:58 PM   #1
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Post Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview
Two NFL Standouts Face Big Meeting in Pittsburgh
By ALLEN BARRA


Is Sunday's game between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers a Super Bowl preview?

If quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can lead an offensive surge to go with Pittsburgh's stellar defense, the Steelers could become the class of the AFC.

It's a legitimate question. The Giants go into the game 5-1, the best record in their conference, and rank second in the NFL in points per game. The Steelers also are 5-1, tied with the Buffalo Bills for the second-best record in the AFC, behind the surprising 6-0 Tennessee Titans. But record aside, Tennessee has not acquitted itself like the best team in the conference, and for that matter, neither have the Buffalo Bills. Both have feasted on easy schedules. Someone has to stumble out of the current mess of undecideds among AFC contenders, and it might as well be Pittsburgh. After all, the Steelers were 10-6 last season and Super Bowl champions just three short years ago.

Many assumed before this season that the AFC had the best team in the league in the New England Patriots. If they weren't the best, the Indianapolis Colts team that shadowed them all last year were. And if the Patriots and Colts failed to reach the Super Bowl, the San Diego Chargers would. The Chargers became the NFL's best team during the second half of 2007. They outscored their last seven regular-season opponents by an average of 17 points per game, eliminated the Colts in the playoffs and fell to the Patriots in the AFC championship.

After New England's Monday night win over Denver, those three teams are a collective 10-9. With Patriots quarterback Tom Brady out for the season, the Colts' great safety (and reigning NFL player of the year) Bob Sanders lost for several more weeks and the Chargers reverting to form, the path suddenly opens for the Steelers. Their primary concern is maintaining home-field advantage for the playoffs, and that means focus.

Last year the Steelers won their first three games and seven of their first nine and looked ready to challenge New England and Indianapolis for AFC supremacy before losing four of their last seven games. The Giants may prove to be the best team the Steelers face until they travel to Tennessee in the penultimate game of the season.
In their hearts, New York Giants fans know their team wasn't the best in the NFL last season. If they were honest, they would probably not have seeded Big Blue in the top five before the playoffs, in back of the AFC powerhouses and the Dallas Cowboys. But now Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a broken finger and the Dallas secondary looks less than reliable. The Giants could be the best team in the conference by default.

The Steelers haven't heard many experts describe them as the best team in their conference, but they probably will if the Steelers beat the Giants this week. Right now, there's no doubt that the Titans have shored up their defense -- they're leading the league in fewest points allowed, just 11 per game. But a Colts team desperate to salvage its season will represent Tennessee's biggest test yet. For the time being, the Titans will try to answer a question which has puzzled football experts for years: Is the best defense in the league enough to overcome having Kerry Collins at quarterback?

The Steelers have unquestionable defensive bona fides. What's baffling is their inability to top their average of 23.5 points per game with a quarterback as good as Ben Roethlisberger. He is considerably better than his current NFL ranking of seventh among league passers would suggest. A better indication of his effectiveness? His nine touchdown passes against just three interceptions.


New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has not put up great numbers in 2008, but it hasn't slowed his team's attack much.

An even bigger mystery is how the Giants have been able to maintain the league's second-most potent offense with a quarterback as mediocre as Eli Manning. He ranks 15th in the league in quarterback rating and 13th in the vital statistic of yards per throw. (Though it's an improvement from last season, when he ranked 25th and averaged a truly dismal 6.31 yards per throw.) That may not seem fair considering Mr. Manning's stellar postseason performance, but statistically he's only a few bad games away from reverting to the passer everyone was ready to run out of town most of last year.

The easy answer is that New York leads the NFL in rushing with 169.7 yards per game, but you don't score a lot of points by running the ball. Most teams get those impressive rushing totals by running out the clock when they already own a lead. Teams score points in the NFL by passing.

Mr. Manning's numbers aren't good enough to inspire confidence if the Giants' defense should have an off day. They must give Mr. Manning and the offense the ball in good field position where they can pick up cheap scores. That's been happening for the Giants with amazing regularity from last season's playoff stretch through Sunday's 29-17 win over the 49ers.

The Giants are the once and maybe future kings. A win in Pittsburgh would solidify their position in a conference full of also-rans. But the timing couldn't be worse for a slip in Pittsburgh, coming two weeks after a loss to a sad-sack Cleveland team. The back stretch of their schedule includes two tough non-division games against Arizona and Carolina. Plus five games remain with angry division mates Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, all ready to pounce on any sign of weakness from the defending champions.

http://online.wsj.com:80/article/SB1...googlenews_wsj

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Old 10-21-2008, 07:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

I hate when the media starts talking about Superbowl " match ups " so early in the season. Remember they had the Cowgirls already in the Super Bowl before a single regular season game was played!
Not that I mind when the Steelers are shown some love, but Superbowl Preview? Anything can happen.
Good read, though, especially the part about Mangirl's mediocrity.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

Were in the tough part of our schedule and we def. need to take it one game at a time, heal up and prepare for each opponent.
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:28 PM   #4
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Angry Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

ESPN's Chris Berman said he liked the Seattle SeaChickens going to the super bowl too. Could he have been any more wrong. We are only halfway through the season, we should not be talking about super bowl match ups yet.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

Still, it'll be a good game nonetheless.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

LOL "Manngirl?" LOL Whatever. He is only the Super Bowl MVP. I don't like Super Bowl talk early in the season either. One game at a time.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

Quote:
Originally Posted by beSteelmyheart View Post
I hate when the media starts talking about Superbowl " match ups " so early in the season. Remember they had the Cowgirls already in the Super Bowl before a single regular season game was played!
Not that I mind when the Steelers are shown some love, but Superbowl Preview? Anything can happen.
Good read, though, especially the part about Mangirl's mediocrity.
I'm with you... Way too early to start talking SB...

IMO there is no clear #1, just a lot of pretty good teams...
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

Quote:
Originally Posted by missedgehead View Post
LOL "Manngirl?" LOL Whatever. He is only the Super Bowl MVP. I don't like Super Bowl talk early in the season either. One game at a time.
Still not getting that this is a Steelers message board, and it seems like you never will.

Please, do us all a favor and pick a team already.
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

Has the media ever actually gotten a "superbowl preview" game correct? Especially in week 7? Seriously...bunch of tool bags.

Just win this one game and get my team to 6 wins. Nothing else matters.
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Giants-Steelers Could Provide Super Preview

I don't think Eli can lead the Giants to another Super Bowl. It is their defense that did it and with injuries and retirement, that defense just is not as good as it was. Eli is Mr. Inconsistent and will always be that way.
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