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The Native American Tribal Leaders vs. Steelers   2016 NFL Week #4

For Whom Le’Veon Bell Tolls

 I’ve been distracted this week, my friends. The DEBATE, the train wreck in New Jersey, and the Pitt-Jolie custody battle have taken a toll. But perhaps, after last week’s hiccup against the Philadelphia Wentzniks, distraction is just what the doctor ordered; the doctor, in this case? Dr. Kevorkian.

Dwelling on last week’s game may be good for the makers of Prozac™, but it undermines our very human need for redemption. Presidential candidate/goofy guy Gary Johnson sought redemption after flubbing a question about Aleppo last week and then compounded the problem a few days ago by failing, when asked, to name even one world leader he admires.

“Aleppo? A leprechaun?”

Most people gave him a pass on Aleppo (I thought it was a skin disorder, like a-leprosy) but not knowing the name of one world leader is a bit concerting for a guy running for the White House. When pressed, I can name about six: Benjamin Netanyahu, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, that Trudeau guy (Pierre? Gary?) in Canada, Kim Jung-il (mentally ill) and the lady in England who is now prime minister. Of course, I only admire about three of them, but that’s still pretty good for a person from America.

In sports however, redemption is easy. Hit a timely homerun after striking out three other times in a game and all is forgiven. Make that game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer and nobody remembers that you shot 2 for 20 during the game. Smash that shuttlecock past a diving opponent at match point, and the world will forget that you actually play badminton.

And so, this week against the Kansas City Native American Tribal Leaders, our beloved Steelers will seek redemption after an uncharacteristic drubbing last Sunday. What went wrong? Just about everything. The defense was offensive and the offense made everyone defensive. It was so bad that my (formerly) trusty Magic 8-Ball stopped watching the game and rolled over to the other side of the room to be comforted by Mr. Potato Head.

If revenge is best served cold — with a side of coleslaw — then redemption must be served up piping hot, burning away the memory of losses past. And who better to lead the charge than Le’Veon Bell, he of the annual suspensions? Suspensions and redemptions. They’re like soup and sandwich or soup and… more sandwiches!

So what would Bell’s redemption look like? A game-winning touchdown scamper with 23 seconds left in the game? A yeoman’s workload of 21 rushes for 117 yards? Or perhaps something in between? The Chiefs are somewhat porous against the run, so redemption is on the menu, tossed in a light vinaigrette with a sprinkling of Bell peppers.

Redemption is also on the menu for Big Ben and PARTICULARLY, the offensive line. Ben’s sacking last Sunday was reminiscent of the Vandals sacking of the Roman Empire in 455 A.D.  but perhaps with less historical significance.

Redemption or not, this is a tough game to pick.

WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE THE BALL

 Run. Pass. Run. The Chiefs picked off Ryan “I’m Tryin’!” Fitzpatrick six times last week. The Chief’s secondary is good and although A.B. will have his usual 100 + game, Le’Veon needs to redeem his vacation points and get a LOT of carries. Control the clock, control the game. The Steelers found that out the hard way against Philly, losing the time of possession duel by 10 minutes.

Ground and pound is the mantra for this game, although I hear the “Ground and Pound” at Capital Grille is really excellent.

WHEN THE NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBAL LEADERS HAVE THE BALL

 Look out, old Jamaal Charles will be back for this one. He may still be a tad gimpy (trivia: Tad Gimpy played for which AFL team from ’61 to ’67?), but even at 88.2%, he’s better than most of the backs in the league.

The real danger, however, is the tight end Travis Kelce. He’s no Gronk, but he’s capable of making the Steelers LB corps look silly. He needs to be shut down!

The rest of the KC receiving corps is pedestrian at best, so if the Steelers can stop the run, make Kelce look like Chelsea (Handler), then redemption time is nigh.

PERILOUS PREDICTION

As many of you know, Magic 8-Ball had a tough game last week, but so did everybody. What you may not know is that Magic 8-Ball missed every practice this week because of a sore AC joint.  He’s good to go now and ready to… SEEK REDEMPTION!

Shaking Magic 8-Ball like a mofo on crack…

 Oh wonderful (and once questionable to start) Magic 8-Ball, will the Gods of Redemption smile down upon the Steelers?

 Magic 8-Ball says, “Most probable, but more than likely and less than certain.”

FINAL SCORE: Steelers 19, Native American Tribal Leaders 16.

Phil Lebovits, SCB Steeler Blogger, in van down by the river

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