Perilous AFC Championship Prediction – Steelers vs. Patriots
The world seems a little off-kilter today. We have a new President whose campaign is under investigation from all our intelligence agencies. It’s pouring rain here in Los Angeles and not just today; six of the last seven days. Our once dead lawn is now sprouting a lot of curious green things. It looks like Ireland here. And Rick Perry, the guy who once wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy, may now become Secretary of Energy.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice in Wonderland might say.
The NFL isn’t helping either. Los Angeles, bereft of an NFL franchise for years, now has two football teams. What did we do wrong? I’ve lived in L.A. for almost 25 years now and I have never had more than a mild interest in any of the teams here. The Lakers? Nope. The Clippers? Not really. The Kings? Who? The Dodgers? Only when I used to get free $1200 “Dugout Club” tickets. Don’t ask me how, but I can assure you it didn’t involve the Russians.
Los Angeles Metro area (and it’s an area bigger than Bulgaria) has over 12 million people, 2/3 of whom are starving actor-waiters. Now logic would dictate that L.A. could easily support two NFL teams. But there’s nothing logical about this region. 99% of the people I know come from somewhere else. My girlfriend is one of the few people I know who was born here (and she wants to leave!).
So, this 12-million figure is deceptive. I would guess at least half of the people here have allegiances to other teams, the teams they grew up with. Go to an Angels-Red Sox game and you may find nearly half the crowd wearing Sox hats. Same thing goes with the Yankees.
Let’s review: 12 million people minus 8 million actors minus 6 million people from other places = minus 2 million people. How can you fill two stadia with negative people? Okay, my math may be off a bit but you can see that L.A. cannot support two NFL franchises, particularly the Rams who suck mightily. One of them is bound to fail.
Football is made for blue-collar cities built on hard work and beer… and more beer: Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago; not cities where people enjoy kale and Pinot Noir too much.
This Sunday, the Steelers march into Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on Beelzebub’s favorite team, the New England Patriots, for the AFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl.
If you recall, Satan’s brood defeated the Steelers 27-16 in Week #7 at Heinz Field. And you probably remember Ben Roethlisberger was out of the game with a torn meniscus, replaced by underrated Landry Jones.
Well, Big Ben will be playing. Good news! BUT, the Dark Prince works in very devious ways. This week, a “mysterious” stomach bug hit 15 players and front office personnel. Four players missed practice Wednesday with the illness, and TE Ladarius Green joined the list on Thursday.
Arguably, no head coach in the NFL is better with the X’s and O’s than Bill Belichick. And, certainly, no coach can draw a pentacle around himself and summon the Devil better than he. Although there is little video proof of his weekly Satanic incantations, somebody did overhear this on Monday in Belichick’s office:
Oh, evil one, I humbly beseech
A plague released into the breach
Of Bell and Brown and Boswell too
A stomach bug much like the flu!
Let us pray we can prevail.
WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE THE BALL
Le’Veon Bell is once again the key. The Patriots “held” him to 81 yards in the first meeting, but I doubt they will keep him under 100 on Sunday. The Steelers offensive line is much improved with guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro leading the way. The Patriots will do what they always do when facing a great running back: they’ll play a 5-man front. You can get away with that when you’re facing Landry Jones; it’s harder to do against Big Ben.
Antonio Brown will be double covered most of the day, but he should get his requisite 100-plus yards. Hopefully, Jesse James will continue his outlaw ways, particularly in the red zone. He had a big game last week against a pretty good Chiefs defense. I think the 6’7” tight end will have a breakout game.
And let’s not forget last week’s hero Chris Boswell. Let’s hope he’s not asked to kick six field goals this Sunday. I’ll take two and four extra points.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL
Blitz Brady. Get in his face. He doesn’t like getting hit. The New York Giants know this is the way to beat him. Let him throw his 15 eight-yard passes to Julian Edelman, but make sure Brady has little time to sit back in the pocket. That is a recipe for defeat.
NOTE: If you’re looking for a great recipe, try this one. I made it this week and my GF loved it!
But I digress.
Magic 8-Ball is back and he looks very shiny today. Hmm, I’ve never seen him so excited for a game. He looks strangely calm and confident and ready to give you his best prognostication. True, an intelligence dossier emerged this week that indicates Magic 8-Ball may be under the influence of his Russian counterpart Магия Путин бал (Magic Putin Ball), but that is mere hearsay, say I… here.
Okay here we go… (Shaking Magic 8-Ball like Rasputin would)
“Oh, Magic 8-Ball, ye of the suspicious connections, will Ben, Bell, Brown and Boswell be able to overcome Brady, Belichick and Beelzebub and move on to the Super Bowl?”
Magic 8-Ball says, “Da. Da.”
Phil Lebovits, SCB Steeler Blogger, Standing under a bridge in LA avoiding the rain drops