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Old 02-04-2006, 09:05 PM   #1
marksashton
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Default When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

I spent quite a bit of time this week (like all of us, no?) reading the sports pages, looking at accounts of the Steelers and Seahawks, and looking at the players and how they match up. While I'd be a fool to be super confident of a Seahawks victory, after looking at the matchups I think the Seahawks may surprise.

As we all know, big games are won in the trenches. Ok, let's compare the players in the trenches. We all know the stats pretty well...Steelers one of the toughest defenses overall and particularly against the rush. Seahawks almost as tough against the rush but (save your breaths) played a weaker schedule. As more than one wise man has said on this forum, the regular season no longer means squat (but the Seahawks had the better record by a longshot).

The Seahawks offensive line is widely regarded as the best in football. It's interesting to look and see how they match up against the Piggsburgh defensive line (and some LB's) in terms of size.

Seattle Center Robbie Tobec is 6'4" and 297. Pittsburgh nose tackle Casey Hampton is a LOAD at 6'1" and 325. Edge: Hampon but only slightly. Tobec is a little heavier than 297 and will have the speed advantage and is flanked in his left by two pro bowlers and on his right by two other top notch lineman.

Seattle left guard Steve Hutchison is a pro bowler at 6'5" 315. He's certainly one of the top 2-3 guards in the NFL. He lines up against Oelhoffen and whatever linebacker decides to blitz. Oelhoffen is 6'4" 299. Clear advantage to Hutchison.

Next to Hutchison is Walter Jones - future hall of famer. Jones 6'5" and 315. He'll be responsible for keeping Porter out of Hasselbeck's face. Jones is a very very quick guy for 315 pounds. He and Hutchison have been playing together for a long time so they just do the right thing without a lot of communication. Porter is a stud, no question. He's 6'2" and 250. He'll undoubtedly cause trouble but his problem will be that if he rushes the passer then your DB's are either alone or, if they get help from Polamulu, then another Seattle receiver is open on the other side. Edge: Seattle by a significant margin. I give Porter a lot of credit (despite is childish taunting stuff this week) but I don't see him sacking Hasselbeck more than once if that.

On the other side of Seattle's offensive line are Locklear (RT) and Gray (RG). Gray is 6'4" and 308 while Locklear is 6'4" and about 300. THey'll line up against Smith who is 6'5" and 298. Edge: Seahawks.

To make the matchup worse for Pittsburgh, Seattle also has Mack Strong at fullback. Strong is also going to the pro bowl this year and is one of the top blocking back in the NFL. He'll be there to pick up the blitz or work with the line to open up holes for Alexander. Edge: Hawks by a significant margin.

So, to sum it up, Seattle's offensive line is perhaps Pittsburgh's worst nightmare. They haven't faced a line like this all year - I guarantee it. If Pittsburgh is going to hold Seattle under 30 they're going to have to put a lot of pressure on Hasselbeck and stop Seattle's running game cold. That's a tall order.

On the other side of the ball the matchups are more balanced. Seattle's defensive line was pretty wishy washy early in the year but improve every game. But for the not really a loss against green bay when they rested the team, Seattle would currently be in a 14 game winning streak. As far as defensive lines go, Seattle's is a bit undersized which could be a problem against Pittsburgh's bigger line. However, despite being smallish, they were in the top 5 in yard/game - just 9 yards more/game than Pittsburgh's defense. Here are the matchups.

Seattle has Bernard and Darby at RDT and LDT. Bernard is 6'3" and 293 and Darby is 6'0" and 270. They'll line up against Hartings (C), Faneca (LG) and Simmons (RG). Hartings is 6'3" and 299, Simmons is 6'3" and 319 and Faneca at 6'5" and 307. Edge: Pittsburgh but this is largely offset by Seattle's young, talented and aggressive linebackers - particularly Tatupu. I don't see Pittsburgh breaking any big holes up the middle.

At tackle Pittsburgh has Smith (6'5" and 321) at LT and Starks (6'7" and 377). They'll line up against Grant Wistrom at RDE, a superbowl winner at 6'4" and 275 and Fisher at LDE at 6'3" and 268. Starks is HUGE and Smith isn't far behind! Wistrom and Fisher are very fast but the advantage has to go to Pittsburgh.

Overall I'd have to give Pittsburgh's offensive line the edge against Seattle but just barely. I think the Pittsburgh fans, much of the dumb national press and (hopefully) some of the Pittsburgh players underestimate Seattle's defense. They crushed Carolina last week. Blame it on Carolina's running back woes if you want but...I wouldn't bet on that being the only factor.

So this long ramble can basically be summed up in a few words. While Pittsburgh has a great defense, they're going to be facing the best offensive line in football and a very very good and balanced offensive attack. Pittsburgh's offensive line is good and may cause Seattle some problems but I don't see them scoring tons of points.

May the bset team win.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

So, let me get this straight---- you aren't factoring-in the linebackers? LOL! What about that bothersome hairy guy, that Polamalu?

You are basing your comparison strictly on man-on-man, and assuming a 4-3 defense, evidently, and not factoring in a persistant zone blitz. To your credit, many offensive coordinators this year didn't plan much better than that, and they are done for the season.

I've watched for some inkling of a gameplan from the Squeehawk sources, but I've not seen anything resembling a real plan against the Steeler D. This could get ugly.

Tobec is a plaything for Hampton, to the point he will HAVE to be double-teamed. That will open lanes for Polamalu and Joey Porter might, just might be single-covered, in which case the second-string QB better stay loose.

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Old 02-04-2006, 09:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

That is pretty much the prevailing thought of anybody that knows Seattle's team. Basically as I have pretty much said this game will be close with the edge to Seattle despite what the media says and it being a "road" game. The Super Bowl is a different kind of game home/away doesn't factor into the game to any kind of meaningful degree.

If a blowout happens it will be from the Seattle side given they have a larger advantage offensively than Pittsburgh does defensively trust me you will see this fairly quickly, yes we are an NFC team but statistics don't lie and a team can only play whatever schedule the NFL gives them. Not that SoS means a thing now because the only thing that matters is the team across that line tomorrow not somebody they played week's past.

As I said I think some are going to unpleasently surprised by us but that is why the game is being played in the end because this is all just opinion until then.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

If you are going to do a write up you can't just leave out one of the biggest defensive factors. Which is Troy Polamalu. The guy will create some problems for the Seahawks offense.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

I was once told the match-ups favoured the Bengals, Colts, and Broncos too... I can't remember what happened in those games...
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

I have to disagree with some of what you said and here is why.

Hampton vs Tobeck.. CLEAR, DECISIVE advantage to Casey..he's bigger, stronger, and has done it all year against better centers than Tobeck. Casey will demand a double team nearly all game long.. and that plays right into our hands.

As far as the rest of your predictions.. you cannot decisvely break down matchups without figuring in the LB's. We dont run a traditional defense like you do. We use our 3 down lineman to occupy your blockers first and then let our safeties, CB, and LB's make most of the tackles. If our 3 DL occupy your 5 guys, its FULL advantage Steelers because that means we've got blitzing DB's and LB's coming from everywhere.

and besides that, we use the Zone blitz. You're not always gonna have Casey on Tobeck or Kimo and Arron against Gray or Smith or whoever. You cant account for that scenario staying the same as it has in past games for you because you havent faced the zone blitz 34 defense yet. You may find yourself with Tobeck one on one with Polamalu and before you know Haggans or Porter is already past your tackles and into the backfield.

so you see and believe me Im not trying to be an ass here.. your theory of matchups may hold up against a traditional defense like your offense faces every day in practice and what you usually face in the regular season.. but it doesnt hold much water against a 34 zone blitz scheme.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

Excellent points Matt.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosdo
If you are going to do a write up you can't just leave out one of the biggest defensive factors. Which is Troy Polamalu. The guy will create some problems for the Seahawks offense.
This I agree with wholeheartly Polamalu will be a factor and he will cause us problems. I may not know Pittsburgh backwards and forwards but I am knowledgable enough to realize that man is a freak of nature. I put him in the same class as Ronnie Lott.

I do look forward to you blitzing zone or otherwise we tend to do better just like Rothliesburger no less, this isn't the sad little line that Indianapolis has I mean get real not once in the game did they ever adjust!
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Old 02-04-2006, 10:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlitzburghRockCity
I have to disagree with some of what you said and here is why.

Hampton vs Tobeck.. CLEAR, DECISIVE advantage to Casey..he's bigger, stronger, and has done it all year against better centers than Tobeck. Casey will demand a double team nearly all game long.. and that plays right into our hands.

As far as the rest of your predictions.. you cannot decisvely break down matchups without figuring in the LB's. We dont run a traditional defense like you do. We use our 3 down lineman to occupy your blockers first and then let our safeties, CB, and LB's make most of the tackles. If our 3 DL occupy your 5 guys, its FULL advantage Steelers because that means we've got blitzing DB's and LB's coming from everywhere.

and besides that, we use the Zone blitz. You're not always gonna have Casey on Tobeck or Kimo and Arron against Gray or Smith or whoever. You cant account for that scenario staying the same as it has in past games for you because you havent faced the zone blitz 34 defense yet. You may find yourself with Tobeck one on one with Polamalu and before you know Haggans or Porter is already past your tackles and into the backfield.

so you see and believe me Im not trying to be an ass here.. your theory of matchups may hold up against a traditional defense like your offense faces every day in practice and what you usually face in the regular season.. but it doesnt hold much water against a 34 zone blitz scheme.

[announcer voice] DING DING DING!! We have a winner!

Johnny, tell him what he has won... [/announcer voice]

If you guys think that Tobeck can handle Fat Casey by himself, then you are kidding yourself. Tobeck is known to struggle against the 'big' guys. I'm sure if the Hawks try that, that the big guy will make himself at home in your backfield.

And then you forgot to mention our X-Factor... Tasmanian Troy! Hasselbeck is going to get to know him really well tomorrow. Just ask Kitna, Manning and Plummer about Troy. I'm sure they'll have a thing or two to say about him, lol.
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Old 02-04-2006, 10:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: When all is said and done, matchups favor Hawks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicHawk
This I agree with wholeheartly Polamalu will be a factor and he will cause us problems. I may not know Pittsburgh backwards and forwards but I am knowledgable enough to realize that man is a freak of nature. I put him in the same class as Ronnie Lott.

I do look forward to you blitzing zone or otherwise we tend to do better just like Rothliesburger no less, this isn't the sad little line that Indianapolis has I mean get real not once in the game did they ever adjust!

Its not that Indy, Denver, and Cincy didnt try to adjust.. they did try and it was obvious..the problem is, none of it worked becuz you cant account for everything going on in our defense on every play.
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