September 12, 2008

Speaking of Clowns...

"I know Coach [Romeo] Crennel. They won't blink because they're professionals. They're good at what they do so based on what happened to them, it will be a winning edge for them...They will come ready to play. We expect that on Sunday night."

- Mike Tomlin
Clowns, Frowns, Gowns, perhaps you've heard that these jokers are the fad pick to win the AFC North this season. Nay, the AFC as a whole. They're destined for a Super Bowl, or so you might think if you asked many pundits and/or Browns fans this preseason.

But we know better.

I've pussyfooted around this all week for no particular reason. But lest I not remind you - it's Browns week! We are but a mere 56 hours from another exciting matchup with the recently-lauded Browns and their "new look Defense," starring Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams. Not to mention their "high-powered" Offense, fueled by Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, Kellen Winslow Jr., Jamal Lewis, and undoubtedly crystal meth. Yeah, "high-powered." Right....

Anyways, all kidding aside, this should be a great game. The Browns seem like, at least on paper, a more worthy adversary than they have been for the last, oh, 10 years or so. They are apparently still riding high off of last years success (read: a winning record) and feel poised to supplant our Steelers as the division's most formidable foe.

Throwing caution to the wind, they traded away a sizable chunk of their valuable draft picks, not to mention the second Cornerback on their depth chart to get pass rushers Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams. And they gave Donte Stallworth a rather hefty payday, hoping that he'd add a threat to the already fruitful passing game. So this "rivalry" has even more renewed interest than last year.

If you can't get psyched for this game, you're clearly not a Steelers fan.

Now, let's briefly discuss a few things to watch on Sunday, namely...

1. Shaun Rogers vs. Justin Hartwig
Much noise has been made about Shaun Rogers' arrival as savior of the Browns D line. Personally, I don't see it. I mean, you gave up a draft pick (3rd round I believe) and Leigh Bodden to get a guy who's had question marks basically since he stepped on NFL turf? But whatever. All I have to say is, the Cowboys rushed for 162 yards last week, each of their THREE running backs averaging at least 5 yards per carry. Some savior, huh? Do they think Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore will be any easier? Dumb question, of course they do, they're Browns fans...irrationality knows no bounds in Cleveland.

2. Ike Taylor vs. Braylon Edwards
Donte Stallworth or no, Braylon Edwards is still the biggest weapon on the Browns Offense. The good news is, last week the Cowboys limited him to just 2 catches for 14 yards. The bad news is, that was last week. Certainly not enough reason for me to believe it will happen again this week. So Face Me Ike is gonna have to be on his Face Me Game. Is he up to the task? Well last week he did a pretty good job on Andre Johnson. So that's promising. But let's be honest, if the D line and Linebackers play like they did last week, we won't even need to worry about Stone Hands Ike.

3. The Steelers vs. Cleveland's Enthusiasm
Make no mistake, this is going to be a high energy game. The Browns haven't beaten the Steelers since 2003. And with all the hype surrounding their squad this year, Browns fans will likely be as unruly as ever. Plus, the Browns themselves recognize that we are the team they need to beat in order to be part of the conversation on league dominance. But we cannot let this unbridled enthusiasm get us so riled up that we start playing undisciplined. Keep focus. Sack Derek Anderson 10 times, put up approximately 102 points, and burn that stadium to the ground. Done.

So of course I'm going to be going out of my mind from the time I wake up until the 8 PM kickoff. And in my heart of homer hearts, I think they'll crush the Clowns. But at the same time, I recognize that this will not necessarily be a walk in the park. All I can say is, we had better beat them on Sunday or we'll never hear the god damned end of it. Am I wrong?

I ask you all - What/who will you be watching? Predictions on the score? And is Kellen Winslow as soft as Joey Porter always said he was? (see below)...

Oh, and for you weekend warriors, TSW has a tasty treat for you this weekend - Chicken Yakitori, Sparkling Sake, and Flat Earth Chips. So check it out and try something new.

Also, for the record, Steely McGnome has spoken and he has predicted a Steelers victory, 34-13. So we've got that going for us...which is nice.

And finally, keep your eyes peeled for Tecmo and Cotter's Pre-Game Show Extravaganza, which should be up sometime on Sunday well as Tobiathan's Liveblog Extravaganza - come and discuss the game as it's happening while OFTOT friend, Tobiathan liveblogs every drive.


domski43 said...

Some food for thought:

1.) Last year the Browns got demolished by the Steelers week 1 and then hung 51 points on the Bengals week 2. The NFL changes week to week, right now last week means nothing.

2.) Although this is a short road trip for the Steelers, last year Pittsburgh struggled on the road. Hopefully that changes this year.

3.) Joshua Cribbs is back. Last year's game still gives me nightmares. Special teams needs to do their job.

I see this game being close, with the Steelers winning 21-17.

tobiathan said...

I see this as a close game too. The Poop-Colored-Ohioans are coming off a serious embarrassment last week, and they have *vendetta* against Pittsburgh(despite the fact that they're more like Piscopo in "Johnny Dangerously" than Brando in "Godfather").

So- i'm looking for them to try to start fast w/deep passes. Maybe a couple short runs then a play-action fake deep to Edwards or Winslow. If they hit it, they could go up fast and hold a lead into the fourth qtr.

However- i don't think the Poops have the heart and persistence to close out a championship-caliber team like our Stillers. They'll give up big plays late in the 3d and mid-4th to our offense and we'll close it out a TD and a FG ahead of the Poop-Colored-Ohioans.

It'll be closer than we'd prefer, but ultimately will provide both teams will fuel to move forward with hope. I personally WANT the Turds to succeed some, because a rejuvanated Crap-colors will give our common opponents more to deal with.

So- as much as i hate to admit we might have a game on our hands- i think the Browns will be up for a fight on Sunday night. It'll be our first real test of the year. We'll win- 24 to 21- but it'll be a hard-fought game.

Cotter said...

domski ~
1) Well said.

2) This will be even more relevant since Browns fans will be all liquored up and fueled by delusion as much as ever...maintain composure, please.

3) Fuckin' A

tobiathan ~ So long as we win, I'll be happy. I think the key will be scoring first and controlling the flow of the game. I mean, that's nothing mind blowing. But still, we ought to be able to come out strong, run the ball early, mix in a couple of surprises in the passing game and play solid D. Which, in theory, ought to seal it for us. Perhaps not without a fight, though.

Big Snack Silverback said...

I think you dudes are right on to not take these guys lightly, especially after last week's embarrassment. I think as long as we can avoid the early onslaught (let's hope we win the toss and take the ball, and slam it down Rodgers & company's FACES), we just need to stick to our game plan and not turn the ball over, and we should be fine. The game plan, so long as we aren't playing form behind, should be to tire their front seven as early as possible, so when the late third and fourth roll around we can just pound them into the ground. I predict 28-17 Steelers. I predict 4 sacks from our D.

Big Snack Silverback said...

BTW Cotter, what about doing Q&A for the pregame show? If you need material we can always post some q's to keep you busy...

Cotter said...

That'd be awesome! I mean we try and come up with topics that are relevant and interesting. But the one true way to do that is to get them directly from those who might be enjoying (or spontaneously vomiting at the site of) the finished product.

We'd love to get some ideas for next week, Big Snack Silverback!