A Quick Look Ahead: 2010 Opponents - Pt. 1

Gotta Give Conan some love...

Like any true die-hard, we must not allow the dust (or confetti) to settle on the 2009 season before taking a look at what lay ahead for The Steelers. The NFL does not release their full, date-by-date schedule until around mid-April, but as of last week, we know our '10 opponents. Of course, Free Agency, injuries, The Draft, time of year and tectonic shift could yet serve as significant factors in the outcome of said games, so nothing but a "snapshot" approach is called for: One question and a few comments.

Got your own take? Leave'em in the comments. What else are you going to do, watch the NBA All-Star Game?

"What the hell is Holmgren going to do with this shit pile, besides let their most talented offensive weapon walk?"
-With Cribbs gone, they need to start with the QB situation, for sure. Anderson's likely out and Quinn is a bust. Also, Jerome Harrison's price tag is sure to have shot up following his late-season explosion.

"Chan Gailey. The fuck?"
- TO's numbers rebounded a little with Fitzpatrick under center, but neither are all that great at their respective positions. The Bills do have two servicable backs in Lynch and Jackson and a surprisingly adept secondary (second only to the Jets against the pass) to build on.

"Hardknocks was awesome. What doe the Bungles need to do to win the AFC North again?"
-Linebackers Maualuga (DUI/Rehab), Jeanty (UFA) and Brandon Johnson (UFA) all are questions marks headed into next year. So their defense will need some shoring and they're in need of a #2 to replace Chris Henry and a legit tight end, but that's a relatively short list of issues, considering.

"Just how shitty are the Bucs?"
-Byron Leftwich was not the answer for the Bucs. But there's a chance Josh Freeman is. Cadillac Williams had a small resurgence and Kellen Winslow had an above average season at TE. But a lack of a true #1 option at WR (Antonio Bryant was volatile at best and my not be back) and an abysmal defense that ranked worst in the league against the run, makes the Bucs an ideal road opponent.

"Will we see The Wildcat? I fucking hate The Wildcat."
-Between injury and a caveat in his contract that frees him depending on the collective bargaining agreement, Ronnie Brown will remain a question mark for the Fins for awhile. But, assuming he's back, he and Ricky Williams represent one of the most potent backfields in the league. I don't think either Chad Henne or Pennington is the answer, so watch for a signing at QB. I don't like that we have to go back down to Miami next season, but if we can't exploit their lack of a passing game and average defense to get a W, then we aren't a playoff team anyway.

"Jesus, it's been awhile since we played Atlanta. What do we need to know about them?"
-The last time the Falcons traveled to Pittsburgh, their current quarterback was in high school. It's fair to say Matty Ice had a bit of a sophomore slump last year, but some of that can be attributed to turf toe. And they can run the ball when Turner is healthy; he averages nearly five yards a tote. We'll need to exploit the Falcons' below average, aging defense and shut down a likely healthier Micheal Turner to grab a win.

"Are The Jets really AFC-Title-Game-good?"
-Thomas Jones and an under-the-radar Shonne Greene are another potent running tandem. However, it's likely that other offensive cogs Leon Washington, Braylon Edwards and David Clowney might both be in other jerseys by next season. Rattling Sanchez might be a good backup plan of attack, but solving New York's league-leading defense (all signed through 2010) is what Ben & Co. will have to over come to defend Heinz Field against Gang Green.

"Holy Shit, The Panthers had TWO guys go for over 1,000 yards rushing? How did they go 8-8?"
-Before being placed on the injured reserve in week 13, Jake Delhomme had a QB Rating of 59.4 for the season. He had 18 picks to 8 TDs. At least they didn't sign him to a big contract or something. Matt Moore HAS to be the future, at least for 2010, and there's potential there. He seemed to be able to get the rock to Steve Smith enough to satiate him, so there's that. Still, The Steelers show enough offensively to overcome what should be a decent Panther defense, leaving their running attack as the glaring threat. Like so many of these games, stopping the run should be the priority.

In fact, now that you mention it...

...The Steelers run defenese had better be stout as they face the TOP 6 RUSHING TEAMS OF LAST SEASON. Good Lord.

Part 2 of 2010 Opponents in a day or two...


Spatula said...

Lord, I love the Browns and, especially, their fans: http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2010/02/browns_comment_of_the_day_stil.html

Spatula said...

I guess the link failed, but the article on the Plain Dealer site is entitled, "Browns Comment of the Day: Still some Brady Quinn believers out there"