Less than three years ago, the Arizona Cardinals were one of the prominent teams in the NFL. They were the NFC’s reigning Conference Champs and had beaten the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers in a shootout. A victory over the Saints would get them back to the NFC Conference Championship, where a win over the Vikings or Cowboys would get them back in the Super Bowl and another chance as the NFL’s best. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be, as the New Orleans Saints crushed them 45-14. Following the game, QB Kurt Warner retired and the Cardinals organization has been on a downward spiral ever since. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘steelers’
Posted in NFL Team, tagged steelers, nfl, shrederdude63, Ashwin Anbu, nfc, intotheendzone.com, John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals, QB controversy, O-line, NFC West, Kurt Warner on September 1, 2012 | 1 Comment »
Posted in NFL Preseason, tagged Andrew, Ashwin Anbu, broncos, colts, football, intotheendzone.com, Luck, Manning, myths, nfl, Peyton, preseason, shrederdude 63, steelers on August 15, 2012 | 2 Comments »
After five months without football, it feels great to see a live NFL game again even if it is preseason. Despite the games being played at half speed, having minimal game planning, and the starters playing only a few series, there’s a lot to be taken from them that show what to expect in the near future. Unfortunately, many journalists and so-called ”experts” have misinformed the public by spewing their propaganda or at least over exaggerated the performances. Today, I will be dissecting their observations in an effort to see whether or not they are true. This week, I will analyze three myths I heard several times in the aftermath of preseason week one. (more…)
Posted in NFL Post Season, NFL Regular Season, tagged 49ers, afc, Ashwin Anbu, bengals, broncos, chiefs, cowboys, falcons, football, giants, jets, nfc, nfl, packers, patriots, playoffs, raiders, ravens, shrederdude, shrederdude63, steelers, texans, titans on December 27, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Hello everyone, and welcome back to Into The Endzone. Shrederdude63 is back. With the season winding down, several teams have already made the playoffs. For others, they’re guaranteed a spot on the couch following Week 17. As of now, here are the standings if the season ended today:
AFC Playoff Picture:
1. New England Patriots (12-3) – Y
2. Baltimore Ravens (11-4) – X
3. Houston Texans (10-5) – Y
4. Denver Broncos (8-7)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) – X
6. Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
In The Hunt
Oakland Raiders (8-7)
Tennessee Titans (8-7)
New York Jets (8-7)
NFC Playoff Picture:
1. Green Bay Packers (14-1) – Z
2. San Francisco 49ers (12-3) – Y
3. New Orleans Saints (12-3) – Y
4. New York Giants (8-7)
5. Detroit Lions (10-5) – X
6. Atlanta Falcons (9-6) – X
In the Hunt
Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
Z = Clinched Home-field Advantage Y = Clinched Division X = Clinched Playoff Berth
How The Rankings Could Change:
I’m going to start with the AFC, since next week could change the entire positioning. The New England Patriots are the top seed, and clinch home-field advantage if they win the season finale vs Buffalo. Due to tiebreakers, the Pats need the Ravens and the Steelers to lose in order to keep the top spot if they lose the game at home vs the Bills. The lowest the Patriots could be is the second seed, since they already have clinched a first round bye.
The Ravens have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, so they will play following Week 17. The question is when. If the Ravens win against the Bengals, they win the division and get a first round bye. If the Patriots lose, the Ravens get home-field advantage as well. But if the Ravens lose and the Steelers win, the Ravens drop from the second seed to the fifth, lose the bye, and venture on a harder road to the Super Bowl.
The Texans have the division title and No.3 seed. Even if they win their Week 17 game, they can not get a bye. They are guaranteed their spot. They should rest their starters in Week 17.
The Denver Broncos have not wrapped up a playoff berth yet. The only reason they are the No. 4 seed instead of the Raiders is because of strength of schedule. In order to clinch their division, they must defeat the Chiefs in Mile High Stadium or the Raiders lose at the hands of the Chargers. They can be no other seed; it’s either No.4 or at home.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have already wrapped up a playoff berth. They can only go up. If the Steelers win and the Bengals miraculously win against the Ravens, they get the division, first round bye, and No.2 seed. If the Patriots lose on top of that, the Steelers have home-field advantage. The Steelers can not get knocked down to the sixth seed, so its either enter the playoffs as a fifth, second, or first seeded team.
The Bengals have not clinched the playoffs. A win versus the Ravens will get them into the playoffs. In the first post Palmer season, the Bengals are playing better then they have in years. They most certainly will give their all versus Baltimore.
The Oakland Raiders is the best team in the hunt. In order for them to capture the division spot from the Broncos, they need a win vs San Diego and a loss by the Broncos vs a Kyle Orton led Chiefs. In order for them to achieve the sixth seed, the Raiders need to win, the Broncos lose and either/both a Titans loss and/or a Jets win.
The New York Jets will have to be very lucky if they are to get into the playoffs this year. They need a win, a Titans loss, and a Raiders loss. No other way.
For the Packers, they have already got the top seed locked up. They can rest their starters.
T he 49ers have clinched their division. In order to lock up the No. 2 seed, they need to either win or the Saints lose due to having a better conference record. The lowest the San Francisco 49ers can go is the No.3 seed.
The Saints have locked up their division. They can have the No.3 spot at lowest, but a win and a 49ers loss will get them the first round bye.
The New York Giants are the current division leaders due to a victory against Dallas in a head-to-head matchup earlier in the season. They will clinch the division and the No.4 spot if they beat Dallas in their second head-to-head matchup next week.
The Lions have locked up a wildcard spot. They maintain the No. 5 seed if they beat the Packers or if the Falcons lose to Tampa Bay.
The Falcons clinched a wildcard spot. To get the fifth seed however, they need a win and a Lions loss.
The Dallas Cowboys are on the outside looking in. Their only chance of making the playoffs is if they can somehow walk out of New York with the W.
The playoffs are approaching. Here’s how I see the season ending:
1. New England Patriots
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Houston Texans
4. Denver Broncos
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Oakland Raiders
1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. New York Giants
5. Atlanta Falcons
6. Detroit Lions
Looking at my predictions, Green Bay automatically gets the top spot. I feel the Ravens will beat the 49ers because they have a chance at the division crown for the first time in more than 3 years. They will not blow it. Because of this, the Bengals will not clinch the playoffs due to not having as good of a conference record compared to the teams in the hunt. I feel the Broncos, Giants, and San Francisco 49ers will win, along with the Falcons. I will be putting Keys To The W post for the Giants-Cowboys game, Bengals- Ravens game, Broncos-49ers game, so my prediction may change over the next few days. But until then, here’s what I think. Comments, questions, feedback? Type it in the comments, and I will respond. This is Shrederdude63 signing off. ~
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Posted in NFL Regular Season, tagged 49ers, alex smith, Ashwin Anbu, ben roethlisberger, football, frank gore, jim harbaugh, nfl, shrederdude63, steelers, timmons, woodley on December 19, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Steelers. 49ers. Two teams that dominated and changed the game in the post 1970 merger. Yet the past is the past. The San Francisco 49ers have had the best season in almost eight years, going 10-3. The Steelers have been their usual self, going 10-3 as well. Both teams have clinched playoff berths. But with the Ravens being upsetted by the Chargers on Sunday night, the Steelers have one last chance to win the division. If they win out, they clinch the division for the fourth time in Mike Tomlin’s five years as head coach. With the season coming to close, this is a golden opportunity for the Steelers. Yet, injuries have derailed the team. But is it enough to cost them this game? Lets find out.
First and foremost, here are the Keys To the Game:
You knew this was coming. The winner of this game will have to do well in this department. For the Steelers, the offensive line has been a huge question mark for year. This year, the team has been in sync, doing better then ever in line play. Yet with Pro Bowl Center Maurkice Pouncey out, the line will struggle. Add to the fact that Marcus Gilbert is also injured, and the line is in trouble. The 49ers are known or their ferocious defense, and have looked like a younger version of the Steel Curtain. But with Patrick Willis questionable with a hamstring injury, the Steelers have dodged a bullet.
As for the 49ers O-line, they’re in for trouble as well. Although dominating most of their opposition’s D-line, the 49ers have struggled against elite D-lines. Take a look at the Ravens shellaking on Thanksgiving Day. And with the Ravens being a carbon copy of the Steelers, things to not look well in San Fransisco.
Deciding who wins this one is tough. But ultimately, the fact that an injured Big Ben is going under center behind a decimated line and that James Harrison will not be in the backfield for the Steelers, you know who I’m picking.
Edge: 49ers, but barely
This one is an important one as well. The Steelers have one of the best WR cores in the game. With the speed and toughness each wideout posses, the 49ers have a huge task to them. The passing game is also the biggest weapon the Steelers have, and they have relied on the pass since 2008. Sure the Steelers will be sacked several times, but this team will not give up. At worst, they will do what they did against New England, and throw quick passes and run a West Coast Offense. As I said earlier, the 49ers will most probably get more sacks. But they will give up more big plays. Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Antonio Brown, and Co. strike fear in the hearts of anyone. The 49ers dont have the secondary to defend these guys. This will cause the LB core to drop back in coverage, and that’s when the Steelers run.
As for the 49ers, they wont do well in this area. Alex Smith is having the best season of his life. But he’s still a game manager. The 49ers rely on their run game, and it has worked throughout the season. Again, the 2011 49ers remind me of the 2005 Steelers. But the elite teams need a QB that can carry the team. Im sorry, but Alex Smith is not that. Plus, who is he gonna throw it to? Vernon Davis is probably the biggest threat. Crabtree will be shutdown by Taylor. Polamalu will be attacking the line of scrimage. Woodley could cover Gore. Basically, the 49ers passing game is non existent. If they cant run, they wont be able to run the play-action . If they can’t run the play-action, then the 49ers are in trouble.
I think the main factor despite the two I’ve named are the injuries. Roethlisberger, Sanders, Pouncey, etc. are injured on the Steelers side. The 49ers really only have Willis injuried. On top of that, Harrison is suspended. For more info on that, read my previous post. If the Steelers want to win this game, they need to overcome these adversities. But for now;
Steelers win. Im sorry, but the 49ers dont have the offense to compete in this game. Sure, the Steelers have a ton of injuries. Yet the standard is the standard in Pittsburgh. Score: 34-17. Expect the Steelers offense to erupt and their defense to dominate.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced today that Pittsburgh Steelers OLB James Harrison ‘s appeal for his one-game suspension was denied. The 2008 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year will miss the Monday Night Game against the 49ers, a game that hold serious weight in the playoffs. Harrison tweeted following the league’s decision, ” When the grass is low the snakes will show! I guess I cut it too short!” Harrison was suspended on a helmet-to-helmet hit to Colt McCoy. You can view it here:
James Harrison has had a clean year up until this hit. I feel he should have gotten a fine at the very least. It’s not like he was doing something uncalled for (i.e stomping on opponents) or punching an opposing player (Richard Seymour who only got fined). Harrison was making a football play. Although leading with his helmet was not the best thing to do, the helmet-to-helmet was accidental and Harrison didn’t go out intending to hurt someone. But if you’re the poster boy for illegal hits and the NFL is looking to make a statement, then I guess it’s inevitable. But how much will it cost the Steelers? Join me, Shrederdude63, as I break down what the 4x Pro Bowlers absence will affect the Steelers against the 49ers.
The San Francisco 49ers are hosting this game. Having lost only two games, some would say they would dominated the Steelers. Yet, after being blown away by the Ravens (who are carbon copies of the Steelers) on Thanksgiving, the 49ers have shown that they haven’t beaten an elite yet. Sure they’ve beaten the Giants and the Bengals, but those teams are good, not great.
In the Ravens game, the game was not as close as the game indicated. Baltimore blew San Francisco out of the water. If the Ravens were any good offensively, they would have killed them. But I’m not here to talk about the 49ers defense. That’s gonna be in my Key To The W post. For now, let’s talk about how the 49ers offense will perform without Harrison stopping them.
The 49ers are a run-first oriented offense. In a lot of ways, they remind me of the Raven’s offense of 2000: Run the clock out, make a few throws, and rely on your defense to destroy. And it’s worked well for them. Frank Gore is the all-time rusher in 49ers history. With the numbers he’s been putting up, it’s hard not to imagine. On 234 carries, he’s ran for 1054 yards at 4.5 per carry. that’s pretty amazing. In the past, I would have said this matchup would have been a win for the Steelers. This year however, the rush defense has allowed 205 yards out of their three matchups vs the NFL’s elite backs (Rice 2x, Foster). I was going to include Chris Johnson, but he was a bit rusty at the time. Without James Harrison to rampage the left side, the Steelers will have to commit to that side. This shouldn’t be a problem, as Troy Polamalu has been doing this for years. I think his hamstring is fine and will be 98% by Monday.
I’ll be honest with you, any other year, this would have been a problem. The Steelers D-line is great. But their d-line’s biggest strength is to consume multiple blockers, so that the LBs could make the play. That’s what made them great. They couldn’t have brought Troy Polamalu in the box, or they would have given up a huge gain through the air. With the pass defense being top-notch this year, the Steelers can take this risk. Does Harrison’s absence in the line up hurt the run defense? It does a little bit. Anytime a team loses one of its star players, it won’t be as good. But I believe it will be enough to contain Gore. Frank Gore’s a beast, but he’s only played to great run defenses (Lions and Ravens) and has struggled against them.
With the run game neutralized, the 49ers will have to rely on the pass. I think Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career (that ain’t saying much, but oh well), but things do not bode well for him. I mean, even without Harrison the pass rush is ferocious. Just ask Tom Brady. If the Ravens sacked Smith for 5+ sacks without Ray Lewis, can you imagine what the Steelers will do with a run-stuffing safety aswell? James Harrison is great, but the Steelers will manage. I also don’t think th 49ers O-line will stop them.
The only concern I see for the Steelers is the absence of Harrison’s coverage skills. Harrison is easily the Steeler’s best LB against pass, and that’s amazing. With out Harrison, who will cover Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis? Lamarr Woodley is the Steelers best pass rusher with Harrison out, so he’ll stay as a pass rusher to disrupt the right side of the field. Farrior gets abused in the pass, a main reason why he is no longer playing a significant role on the defense. If Timmons covers Davis, the middle is left wide open. And Troy Polamalu isn’t the same anymore. The Steelers will have to come up with something.
Harrison is one of the best players in the NFL. Many of the so-called “experts” believe the Steelers will suffer without him. Will they not do as well without him? Yes. Will they do bad? No. Harrison’s absence can be masked with many schemes, and Dick Lebeau can do it. The only challenge will be Davis. Shutdown Davis, and the Steelers won’t miss Harrison. What many people are forgetting are that the Steeler played weeks without Harrison when he had the eye orbital injury. I don’t think that the 49ers pose a big enough threat to the Steelers other than Davis and Frank. Crabtree won’t do anything against Ike Taylor, and Willie Gay and Co have been doing their job. Jason Worlids is no where near the talent of James Harrison, but he’s shown flashes of brilliance. Basically, the Steelers are coming to San Fran, and they aren’t going home with a loss, no matter who gets suspended.