October 15, 2007

[Insert Witty "Mile High" Remark Here]

Bye week, secured! Next up, the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field for a little Sunday primetime action. So in anticipation, OFTOT proudly brings you "5 Good Reasons Why The Steelers Could Beat The Broncos," which in the interest of tempering enthusiasm and not getting ahead of ourselves, will be followed promptly by "5 Good Reasons Why The Broncos Could Beat The Steelers." So without further ado...enjoy the following 5 Good Reasons Why The Steelers Could Beat The Broncos...because thinking about a win is just significantly more fun.

Now let's just get this out of the way up front -- if you're into rankings and what not, consider this: the Broncos are 28th out of 32 in points scored, and 23rd out of 32 in points allowed. But that aside, because those don't automatically translate into a win, why could the Steelers beat the Broncos? I'm glad you asked.

  1. The Broncos 2 wins ~ If you can recall their 2 victories this season, they were -- beating the Buffalo Bills (1-4) on a last second field goal, and an overtime win against the Oakland Raiders (2-3). When the Broncos faced the Bills Week 1 in Buffalo, before the Travis Henry reefer scandal (which unfortunately does not help us), they just barely eked out a 15-14 win on an unprecedented 42-yard Jason Elam field goal. Sure Elam had missed 2 others on the day, which would've made the score a little more favorable, but it is what it is - always a chance he could miss 2 more in any game. As for the Oakland game, the Broncos gave up 200 yards on the ground and despite pulling down 3 picks and Jay Cutler passing for 269 yards, still had to win the game in overtime. And this was a long standing Division rivalry game!! Rather unimpressive if you ask me.

  2. Jay Cutler ~ Jay Cutler's 2007 stat line - 4 TDs / 6 INTs. Yes, more numbers for you. But these actually DO mean something [in theory]. Anytime you have an uneven TD to INT ratio, it's bad. By these numbers, basically for every TD he throws, he throws 1.5 INTs, not to mention he has thrown on average at least 1 pick per game (hard to talk avgs through only 6 weeks but what are you gonna do...). Again, rather unimpressive if you ask me. Note: This is particularly important when you think about how stingy the Steelers D has been in giving up yards on the ground, which could very well force them to take to the air. 'Course we'll come back to that when I write the companion post on why the Broncos could beat the Steelers.

  3. Broncos Run D ~ The Broncos are ranked 31 out of 32 in rushing yards allowed. Conversely, Fast William Parker is top dog (er...#6) in rushing yards. The Broncos give up an average of 5+ yards per rushing attempt, and when you consider the sheer probability of Willie breaking a big one when given the ball 25+ times, this bodes pretty well. Plus, if we're tearing through the Broncos, Tomlin may see fit to give Najeh a few more looks, which could just further wear down the Denver front 7 and keep Time of Possession in our favor.

  4. The last time Pittsburgh traveled to Denver ~ January 2006 for the AFC Championship game, where we steamrolled the Broncos 34-17. Sure, we were on an emotional high after beating the Colts in dramatic fashion the week prior, but we won a big game there against what I think most would argue was a better Broncos team [than the one we face this Sunday], at least Defensively (Jake Plummer vs. Jay Cutler = debatable). Yes, the Broncos came in to the 'Burgh last season and beat us 31-20, but we committed 6 turnovers in that game. Count 'em, 6! Note: this included including 3 Big Ben INTs...

  5. Big Ben ~ piggybacking off that last thought - Big Ben last year through 6 games (the first 6 he played that is): 6 TDs / 11 INTs (an avg. of just about 1 TD and 2 INTs per game...). Big Ben this year: 9 TDs / 3INTs. (an avg. of about 1.5 TDs and .5 INTs per game...) What a difference a year and a new look Coaching Staff makes. Of course, this does not mean Ben will come out and pick apart the Broncos. Any team with Champ Bailey on one side, Dre Bly on the other and John Lynch at Safety makes me just a tad bit nervous...ok, really nervous...but should we continue our offensive production at pace, just maybe my fears will be allayed.
So there you have it. 5 GOOD reasons why the Steelers very well COULD beat the Broncos on Sunday. But every Sunday is different, and on any given weekend, any team can beat you. Especially a team like the Broncos. Hence, I urge you to stay tuned for the follow up, "5 Reasons Why The Broncos Could Beat the Steelers." Till then, talk amongst yourselves...or comment here. That'd be nice for a change. Have I mentioned I like getting and responding to comments? Well I do...so leave 'em.

Denver Stats [ESPN]
More Denver Stats [Pro-Football-Reference]
Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult [Tribune-Review]
Next two opponents play to Steelers' strength [Post-Gazette]


Anonymous said...

By far the most dangerous thing about the Denver Broncos is their head coach Mike Shanahan. Personally, i think the gfuy is an arrogant turd, but professionally he might be the best pure coach in the league. Without him at the helm Denver would've been domne after Elway. The man has a knack for ballsy accurate calls and knows what players can do and how to use them. For that i give him kudos. Remember when he took almost the entire defensive line from Cleveland and made monsters out of the? I do.

That said, i always see Denver as a dangerous opponent. Shanahan can coach, and the Mile-High-Advantage is two-fold: the fans can be a factor as much as the altitude.

That said, I firmly believe our Stillers can do a good job against them. My biggest fear is that they could be overconfident after their shut-out. And, possibly, they might not have time to physically acclimatize to the altitude.

Personally, I think the thinner atmosphere has a lot to do with their home-feild success and the proliferation of the passing game in Denver. If you notice, a lot of teams seem to over-throw recievers there. Especially visting non-conference teams. Might be a good stat to request from Rich Eisen on NFL Network, eh?

Defensively, I think their defenders are more prepared for the long-haul by training and living there. A lot of opposing defenses look worn-down by the 4th quarter in that stadium. Hopefully that won't factor in against out Steelers though. I suspect not.

Looking forward to your next post on the disadvantages of playing at Denver....keep on blogging, my Black-n-Gold brutha...

domski43 said...

mike shanahan can go to hell.., as cotter says, the broncos have not been able to stop the run all year and steelers' running game is on fire, so we SHOULD be able to keep the ball out of air. But, tomlin and arians will not allow the steelers' offense to get one dimensional. The broncos' d will have to respect the steelers' running game, which could open some big play possibilities for the receivers. Lets just hope ward and holmes return healthy. As every team likes to do, the steelers like to get on top early and continue attacking until they have a safe lead, while working the clock with the run game and playing solid d....this year the steelers are not playing as conservative as recent years past, but have not yet proven that they can overcome a deficit, which worries me a little. As for the altitude issue, the steelers proved against seattle that they have a lot of depth, which they SHOULD use to keep players fresh on both sides of the ball. jay cutler...you better watch your back young man!

Cotter said...

Tobinator - thanks for the props!! As I've said before I love comments specifically so we can get the dialogue going.

RE: Mike Shanahan - don't like him, but he does win. Their biggest weapon? Maybe. But I'd venture to say the best thing about Denver is their Offensive Line.

Altitude - I've heard that argument before. But you know, something like that goes both ways. It can be an asset to the Stillers just as much as it is to Denver. Course they're the ones who play 8 games a year there, so...

D getting worn out - Like Domski said, the beauty of our defense is the depth. At every position we're at least 2 deep with strong, talented players. So if they do get worn down, Denver won't benefit much from going against our backups. Think about it. Chris Hoke, William Gay, Timmons, Woodley, Anthony Smith, Tyrone Carter. Not too shabby, plenty of heat on Jay Cutler, that's all I'm saying.

Thanks again for the comment. Cheers!

domski43 said...

Whats polamalu, hampton, and mcfadden's status for sunday night?

Cotter said...

Read the latest post you jagoff

Anonymous said...

The altitude factor in Denver is vastly over-rated. Check out the PG's article regarding the topic. What they need to worry about is recovery after/ between the plays. That of course is where the depth factor comes in. I think the Seattle game hinted at how deep this team really is on BOTH sides of the ball.

As far as the effects of altitude on the passing game, they are playing in Denver not on the moon. The reduced effects of drag on the aerodynamically shaped ball will be so small as to be non-existent. Ben seemed pretty right on when he torched Champ on the fade to Ced in the AFCC, or the TD to Hines in the same game. Besides, Willie and Najeh are gonna have so much room to run Ben might only throw 10 passes.

domski43 said...

that game was awesome...i loved when big ben took out the 6-shooters after that td pass. real excited about ward's return this weekend not only for leadership, but also his hands and blocking...i'd love to see santonio burn champ or bly deep