Friday, September 24, 2010

Third Week

Which 2-0 NFL team is the biggest surprise? Heard that on TV today, Sportscenter or somewhere, and the answer was, Tampa Bay. Not the Steelers, who played their first game with their third string quarterback, and most of their second with their fourth string quarterback, who is now their starter, because all the others are injured or disqualified. But they are 2-0. No surprise, huh? (And while Dixon didn't have a spectacular first game, he did well enough to win.)

Well, that says a lot for the Steeler defense, and from the little I've been able to actually see in highlights and such, the defense is deserving--not just sharp but exciting. So now the less surprising Steelers go to Tampa Bay. Is it the week when their ridiculous quarterback woes catch up to them, or the week that Tampa Bay's young house of cards falls into a puddle?

So far the smart money says the Steelers take this one, too. It's going to be as hot or hotter on the field than in TENN last week, and it's asking alot of the defense to count on them to shut everybody down every week. So Charlie Batch and the Steelers receivers and runners have to score some points and give the defense some breathing room. This game could go either way.

Right now the Steelers are a bit like the SF Giants in baseball, whose pitchers have been absolutely shutting teams down this month, but game by game the offense isn't scoring enough. There have been a couple of easy games, like today's 13-0 over the Cubs, but not many. And they've shown more balance than the Steelers have.

Four teams are fighting for two playoff spots in the NL, and the Giants can still lose out entirely--absent a collapse by Atlanta, their best shot is to win the division. They've got head to heads with Colorado and San Diego, on the road. Their pitching has to hold up, but they need to score runs. Same basic problem as the Steelers. Both of them can conceivably win with just defense and a little offense, but the odds don't favor that.