Steelers vs. Eagles

2016 NFL Week #3

When You Assume, You Make an Ass out of Ume

 Okay. If you read my last game preview, you are probably aware that my upcoming trip to Costa Rica was rife with fear and dread of: 1. Being eaten alive by mosquitos, 2. Being eaten alive by crocodiles, 3. Being murdered by machete-wielding youths.

These were bad assumptions. As you can tell, I am alive.

Mi amigos, Costa Rica is wonderful, the people are friendly and the mosquitos must’ve been on vacation in Honduras. Nary one insect bite. No unexpected stabbings. Not one sighting of a crocodile. Just sightings of howler monkeys, brightly colored frogs (all poisonous), toucans and one sloth.

During our six days there, we experienced two very different regions: the hot (but not that hot) and humid Caribbean coast and the wondrous much cooler and wetter mountain rain forest. Costa Rica, to me, seemed like paradise.

And so green! It was like ten million leprechauns had magically barfed up clovers everywhere, clovers that grew into palm trees and a hundred other fantastic plants I cannot describe. It was a nice escape from parched and brown L.A.

And get this. Another assumption annihilated. Their Wifi and cellphone signals were uniformly faster than anything in the States. Go to hell, Sprint! Movistar™ kicks your ass. I even watched Thursday Night football via Twitter with no connection problems whatsoever, unlike Brock Osweiler who couldn’t connect with anything.

And so Maggie and I bid a very fond farewell to the land of “Pura Vida” — Costa Rica.

Assumptions really do make an ass out of Ume. Ume Fujiwakahonda was a great Japanese philosopher/general who assumed sushi would never become popular in America and that baseball would never be popular in Japan.

Most of us assumed that the Cheatriots would struggle to win games during Tom (Beelzebub) Brady’s suspension. Color us embarrassed. After watching Thursday night’s game, I think the Patriots could start a cabbage at QB, even an undrafted one, and they’d still find a way to win.

Many of us assumed that the Browns would be pathetic this year and… oh okay, they are pathetic this year, but maybe not as hopeless as we expected.

Some of us assumed that Colin Kaepernick’s questionable kneel-downs during the National Anthem would be a passing fad, like the Zika virus or Anthony Weiner, but we were wrong. This protest seems to be gaining strength, like Hurricane Yitzchak off the coast of Belize, with more and more players joining in. Who knew?

Now, if I may, I would like to burst an assumption that many of you might hold regarding me, or as I am known here at Steel City Buzz — “Big Phil.”

You might assume that I weigh over 300 lbs. and that my diet consists of Doritos, Whoppers with Cheese, Cheese Doodles, Yankee Doodles and just about everything in the Doodles family; that I can’t see my feet when I shower, and, for that matter, anybody else’s feet; that when I sit around the house, I sit around the house; and that I apparently have no idea how to use semi-colons.

I’m 5’8” and I weigh, pre-Costa Rica trip, 174 lbs. Yes, to Peter Dinklage and my 6.2 lb. Yorkie-mix dog Mishka, I am HUGE, but I’m really only 12 lbs. heavier than my fighting weight. And when I get to that weight, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna fight Peter Dinklage.

Strange as it seems, now that I’ve set the record straight, I still want all of you to know me as Big Phil because “big” could be interpreted in many different ways: big hands, big intellect, big ego, big other stuff…

Mr. Big Other Stuff, who do you think you are?

I think, after two straight winning predictions, I’m a darn gosh good football prognosticator. However, for some reason, this Sunday’s Steelers game puzzles me. Perhaps I’m too distracted by the upcoming Monday Night Clinton-Trump fight; maybe there isn’t enough oxygen on Alaska Air Flight 283 to Los Angeles right now; or perchance I know little about this week’s opponent.

More likely, it’s because for the past week, I’ve had to deal with more numbers than I’m accustomed to, the numbers corresponding to Costa Rica’s currency, the colones. Having had a memorable colonoscopy last year, I thought I’d be expert at converting the colones to the dollar, but such was not the case. 50,000 colones equals 100 dollars. 50,000! Go figure… cuz I’m tired of figuring. Let’s just say I made our taxi driver Mario way too happy.

But I digress. This Sunday’s game against Philadelphia Eagles seems like a win for the Steelers. That’s my assumption. After all, just how good can rookie QB Carson Wentz be? Two games are not much of a sample size. Let’s explore…


 The Steelers offense is averaging over 400 yards per game and ranks 9th in the league. Big Ben to Antonio may get most of the press, but it’s DeAngelo Williams who is really setting the table, fork on left, spoon on right. He’s our MVP right now. Sure, we can’t wait for LeVeon Bell to return from his wonderful vacation, but we’re not really missing him that much.

The Steelers will need to kick it up a notch this week because the Eagles have a very good defense, currently ranked #3. Their pass rush is pretty fierce led by DE Brandon Graham and DT Fletcher Cox and their secondary, even without Leodis McKelvin, is pretty good, but not great.

Look for the Steelers to air it out early and often and make rookie CB Jalen Mills’ life miserable.


Carson Wentz is the talk of the town in Philly and rightly so. As I love to say, “Where Wentz goes, so wentz the team.” The #2 pick in this year’s draft is playing with confidence and poise, but hey, he’s still a rookie. He’s going to make mistakes.

The Eagles running game is so-so, so the Steelers should be able to contain Ryan Mathews and the ever-shifty Darren Sproles. Stop the running game and the Eagles will have to assume that Wentz can somehow lead them to victory.

And as we all know, when you assume…


 Will home field advantage be the decider?

The Steelers haven’t beaten the Eagles in Philly for a very long time. Like 51 years. Lyndon Johnson was president then and The Beatles had just released Rubber Soul. And I was still in diapers, which is odd because I was seven. No, that’s more than odd, that’s disturbing.

But despite the historical underpinnings of this game, I will assume that Big Ben will throw for over 300 yards and that Mr. Wentz will look more like the rookie he really is.

Again, I turn to the almost infallible and highly inflammable Magic 8-Ball for its predictive powers.

Oh Magic 8-Ball, you of no assumptions, will the Steelers win the Battle of Pennsylvania… and parts of New Jersey?

 (shaking Magic 8-Ball like a man who just drank six Red Bulls)

 Magic 8-Ball says, “Indeed. The Eagles will bleed.”


Big Phil Lebovits, SCB Steeler Blogger,  standing impatiently at baggage claim at LAX