LenWhale's already making plans for his Super Bowl ring. Not so fast, ersatz Bettis.
I'm freaked out this week because now everyone's high on the Steelers, proclaiming them surefire Super Bowl favorites, which always gets anxiety flowing in paranoid assholes like me. Couple that with the NFL world assuming that the Steelers are going to roll Tennessee just because Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch are out and I'm more than a bit panic-stricken. Even more than I normally am during this season of last-minute nerve-wracking improbable wins.
I will say I think the Tennessee offense is a good match-up for the Steelers. Even though Pittsburgh's defense has slipped out of the top spot for rushing defense (let's see how long the Vikes hold that with Pat Williams out), any team that wants to line up and pound the ball is pretty much playing into their hands. I'm sure that given the way the Titans killed themselves by trying to rely on the pass in critical situations against the Texans that they're going to try to reinforce the run in the this game.
With the benefit of injuries, the Steelers won't have to worry as much about the pass rush this week, though the Titans secondary is certainly no joke. Every week it seems, Santonio is pissing me off more with added mental mistakes. Obviously last week, he got away with the muffed punt, only to cough up the ball on a slant pattern near our own goal line, a turnover that could have cost Pittsburgh the game. Sure, he ended up with the deciding touchdown later on, but it was Hines and Nate Washington (not that Nate is any less prone to mistakes) that got them 86 of those 92 yards. Santonio's obviously a gifted player when he's tuned in and it's probably too late in the season to hope he'll cut out the dumb brainfarts this year. Still, CUT IT OUT ASSHOLE! ARIANS IS ALREADY KILLING THE OFFENSE AS IT IS!
As much as the failures of homefield advantages past still linger in the psyches of Steelers fans ("We got to Super Bowl XL on the road! Why do we want homefield?"), I think we have to realize that was another era and that you can't be afraid of being a frontrunner. Moreover, I want next week's game against Cleveland to be a meaningful one. Two weeks off from serious competition always spells down for teams in the playoffs who are expected to flip it back on against fired-up competition. For that alone, the Steelers need to take this Sunday.