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Old 02-06-2011, 07:56 AM   #1
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Default The hot team, or the tempered one?

The hot team, or the tempered one?
http://www.profootballweekly.com/201...e-tempered-one
Posted Feb. 05, 2011 @ 3:23 p.m. ET
By Tom Danyluk

DALLAS The winter offensive. The history pages are vivid in their descriptions. Christmas Eve cold, January ice ... shortages, draining armies to a halt. At Valley Forge, it was worn soles and empty flasks and small coal fires. Prayers for an early thaw ... but survivors.

Others collapsed in rubble ... General Paulus and the German 6th, overextended and running dry on fuel at the Stalingrad outskirts. Casualties buried in snow, frozen in their last known positions.

Joe Gibbs, a coach with three rings, said it: "The character of your team is revealed in December."

The Green Bay Packers have launched their own winter campaign; it's been a mighty one. In December they stood at 8-6, wounded and teetering. Then, the call to mobilize. They're unbeaten ever since, and they've collected believers along the way.

The '07 Giants were such a team, the late sizzle that everyone expected to cool right through the fourth quarter of that Super Bowl against unbeaten New England, as they gunned and surged downfield for the winning points. The '07 Giants never cooled off.

Nor did Pittsburgh in 2005 same journey, limping along at 7-5 then the sudden eight-game burst to win it all in sleety Detroit.

Are these Packers of the same thread, in this version of the push, their quarterback lifting his game nearly every mile of the way? Only the Steelers, a thin but hardened club, remain in their path.

I'm convinced the Green Bay surge climaxed two weeks ago, dying out in the gusts of Chicago. The Packer touchdown drives came swiftly and early, a direct carryover from their shock performance in Atlanta the week before. The Bear defenders were taking cover, lightning bursts hurling from the sky.

Then Chicago stabilized. Its cover men found their legs, its linebackers made the right drops, and the only remaining Green Bay threat of the afternoon was killed off by a Brian Urlacher interception.

Even prior to the helmet shot from Julius Peppers, in the third quarter, Aaron Rodgers was out of sync and dialing up wrong numbers. Can't credit the Chicago pass rush for that there was none.

Now he faces a Steeler defense with one apparent weakness in-close pass coverage. After the Patriots murdered Pittsburgh in Week 10, the media ran with the theme dice up the Steelers short, quick throws, lots of them. Dick LeBeau has no answer for it! His corners and extra DBs are sickly; they give ground and play back to survive.

What failed to register with these geniuses is that the Pats' strategy worked only because Tom Brady was making those throws. One of the most pinpoint deliveries in history ... snappy, true, with minimal mistakes. It was like a carnival game, Brady with an armful of plush toys. Most teams don't have that luxury.

Green Bay, with the blooming Rodgers, might. I suspect they'll go at Pittsburgh early in a similar style, the tight routes, forcing McFadden and Gay and Taylor and Madison to work closer to the line of scrimmage. If Rodgers is on, he'll pry open some operating room that will loosen things downfield. And that's where the Green Bay attack has conducted its real damage.

But the gnat attack style is not in Rodgers' DNA. It appeals to certain throwers ... Brady, the accurate old Raider Rich Gannon, Montana ... but Rodgers is no cat burglar. He prefers the big heist, plundering the vaults in big, greedy chunks.

But those plays require a longer pocket to develop. Which introduces the Steeler pass rush to the equation, and now we're talking about a whole different set of problems. A hurried throw or tipped pass, maybe one of those ends up in Pittsburgh hands. Then the Steelers' Valley Forge hardening can begin exerting its influence on the game.

I heard Pat Summerall, the great CBS man, say it the other day. Someone stuck a mic on him down there in the Jerry World media circus, and he kept it simple.

"Pittsburgh wins the best team Green Bay's faced all year." The difference Steeler toughness.

Toughness ... what the hell does that really mean? It's become a throwaway word. Everybody's tough in pro ball. It's more than just toughness. It's when it's applied.

The Steelers, a platoon of roughnecks all year round. They're geared for these high-level battles in July. I like them over a team that suddenly burns hot ... that waits until snowfall to fire up its engines.

Prediction: Steelers 26 , Packers 13
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

Good thing the Steelers have only gone 8-1 in their last 9 games. Wouldn't want them to be hot coming into the SuperBowl.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

here we go steelers here we go!
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

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Good thing the Steelers have only gone 8-1 in their last 9 games. Wouldn't want them to be hot coming into the SuperBowl.


"... but they're playing in a dome..."
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

The problem with being hot is eventually you do cool off.

The beauty of being tempered is that you never lose your poise, and eventually you come through the fire shaped for destiny, forged for greatness!
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

The thing I've always believed about hot teams is that when a team is hot, it generally means that they've already peaked and are riding that wave for as long as they can.

The flipside of that is a team like the Steelers who are (in my opinion) still in the process of peaking and haven't quite gotten there yet.

The difference is that while a team is still peaking, they haven't reached the top of the wave yet while a hot team is in some sense waiting for the wave to break and hoping that it doesn't happen at the wrong moment.

Our peak would be to put together the complete game against a quality opponent which is something we've come close to doing but haven't quite done yet.

Hopefully, that game will come today.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

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The difference is that while a team is still peaking, they haven't reached the top of the wave yet while a hot team is in some sense waiting for the wave to break and hoping that it doesn't happen at the wrong moment.
What Green Bay may've gained (a well-deserved rest) during this 2-week break may've been what they couldn't afford to lose (continuity of the hot-streak they'd been showing), while Pittsburgh has a group of players who learned how to handle this media-hyped vacation during the last 5 years:
this could be a very-small advantage for Pittsburgh
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

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Wouldn't it stand to reason the GB may be the best/toughest team Pittsburgh has faced this season as well?
Well that's a matter of opinion of course.

As far as "toughest" goes, it would be hard to say that any team that we've faced is tougher than Baltimore for a variety of reasons most of which go way beyond X's and O's.

As far as best is concerned, WE'RE the best team in football, so I really can't answer that one.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

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After watching the Ravens choke away a game they should have won, we are tougher than them....no doubt.
Like I said, it's all a matter of opinion, but there is rarely a "choke" in a Ravens / Steelers game.

It's more like a "No mas" moment.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: The hot team, or the tempered one?

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Wouldn't it stand to reason the GB may be the best/toughest team Pittsburgh has faced this season as well?
They are the two best teams in the NFL right now, so yes, I would say they are.

Ravens are definitely tough matchups for us though. Not saying they are better than the Packers, but they are a tough team that the Steelers faced 3 times this season. No team knows us better than they do.
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