Ginger Spice and Ben Roethlisberger. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Here it is December 21, 2012 and the world did not end. However, if the Steelers continue their woes of underperforming and being mistake-prone, their season will end this Sunday at home against the Bengals. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Do I have some mind blowing statistical analysis to back me up? Of course not, what do you take me for, some kind of expert? But there are some valid reasons to consider though if you’re willing to believe in my bold statement.
They can draft well and get rid of their dead weight like Palmer and Ocho all they want but they’re still the Bungles. Cincy has not made consecutive trips to the playoffs since the 80’s and haven’t won a playoff game since Milli Vanilli were popular. I realize AJ Green is a talented wide receiver and Ginger Spice Dalton is a giant step up at QB from their previous gun slinger but they’re still wearing those stripes which means they’re still subject to all the mediocrity that comes with them. As good as Dalton and Green have been together along with the addition of Benjarvus Green Ellis they still haven’t been able to beat the Ravens or the Steelers. When the playoffs are on the line there’s one thing you can count on, the Bengals will blow it.
This is not 2009
There has been a whole lot of comparisons made between this year’s Steelers and the 2009 team where Mike Tomlin declared will “unleash hell” in December but lost to horrible teams such as Oakland and Cleveland and failed to make the playoffs. That 2009 team did not control their destiny with 2 games remaining like the Steelers do now. I sat in Dolphins stadium that year and cheered the Steelers final victory of the year hoping they still had a chance and then sat in a pool hall in Ft Lauderdale and watched all my hopes dashed as all the teams the Steelers were counting on losing so they could enter the “tournament” won their games and collectively ended that horrible season. This time around the plan is pretty simple; win the last two games and you’re in, if you do that and the Ravens lose, you’ll even win the division. It’s a whole different scenario than the 2009 team dealt with.
Keys to victory
The Steelers haven’t really put together a signature win all season. Their most dominant performance was against the Redskins at home but other than that there haven’t been games where the passing and running game have both been successful and no games where the defense has turned a game around with a score or big turnover at a key moment. The Steelers need to be firing on all cylinders this Sunday. I’m not sure what happened to the running game, I was all about Jonathan Dwyer starting after his early success but now I’m not even sure the right Steelers running back is even on the roster right now. This should go without saying but the turnovers need to friggin stop. Don’t put the piggy on the ground! The Steelers need to convert their 3rd downs like they did early on in the season and beat teams by the most effective strategy there is; keep the Bengals offense on the sidelines.
This up and down season has been uber frustrating for Steeler Nation. Thankfully, it’s about time for an upswing on that coaster right about now. I don’t think this team is going out like that. 2012 began with the Steelers losing in Denver at the hands of Tebow; it’s not going to end at Heinz Field at the hands of Ginger Spice. It just can’t. I think the biggest issue the Steelers will have other than avoiding turning the ball over is containing AJ Green. In the first meeting, Ike Taylor held Green in check the entire game and limited him to only 1 catch for 8 yards. It happened to be a touchdown catch but that’s all he got that day. Now Taylor will be on the sidelines conducting the secondary (hopefully Keenan Lewis) to repeat his success on Green while he recovers through his ankle injury. We all know the Steelers are good enough to flip the switch and win it all, we know they’re better than how they’ve been playing as of late. This Sunday is all or nothing, everything is on the line and when those are the odds who would you pick to come out on top? Here We Go Steelers!
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