By Steven Keys

If the Pittsburgh Steelers chatty guru Mike Tomlin is a “cheerleader” coach as one sport personality recently opinionated, then all I’ve got to say (write) is this:

Give me a W!
Give me an I!
Give me an N!
Give me another N!
Give me… … you get the picture. Mike’s a winner.

...........Tomlin.wc.M.Rooney.9.16.07.405kWhether he’s a skilled tactician in offensive (Sid Gillman) or defensive (Buddy Ryan) scheme, or a leader who prefers delegating those duties to specialize in the mind game (rah-rah), Mike wins alot, regular (.644), post (.615) and 1-1 in Supers. Tomlin & team went through a rough playoff patch in recent period (2012 – 2016 (1-3)) where Steelers went one n’ done, twice, then lost in 2016 divisional.

But Pittsburgh is 2-0 in their 2017 march on Houston (SB51), prevailing over a slightly off-center Miami Dolphins club who were without starter Ryan Tannehill, and then on Sunday won a gutsy road game over a scoring-lite Kansas City Chiefs who are back to the drawing board.

Tomlin’s a bit off-center himself, showing poor judgment in the nationally-televised 2013 Thanksgiving contest in Baltimore, stepping into the pathway of Ravens return-man in a clear effort to disruption, hence the whopping $100G fine. More recently Mike was recorded making crude reference to his next week’s AFCC opponent, the Patriots. Stay classy, MT. Ugh.

...........Halas.1922.wc.Therakishfellow.188kThere’s been speculation that former Steelers Super Bowl QB and present Fox analyst, Terry Bradshaw and his curiously-timed critique of Tomlin, just prior to playoffs, was more than simple opinionating but instead intended to stoke the fires of Steel City players, a crew that’s been fizzling out early in recent playoff ventures.

Whether staged or sincere, Bradshaw’s statement on Tomlin’s coaching style seems to have had no negative impact on the Steelers championship run, one that looks to be unified and motivated to the gills, a necessary group mental state given that their next destination is an opponent’s graveyard-of-dreams in Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts.

.........cherries.ripe.Chirak.wc.605k.6.24.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conference Cherry Picks 2017: Crème de la crème

Packers (12-6) @ Atlanta (12-5): 1.22 Fox 3:05 EST (Halas Trophy)

Conference play presents the best in competition as none of 4 remaining teams is a pretender. Nobody gets this far on smoke & mirrors. Experience over exuberance is how GB got back to the NFCC (2012). A-Birds punched their return ticket (2013 (Smith)) by topping the same Seattle and being the most offensively juggernautious team in NFL16, ranked #2 in YGPG, #1 in points scored and led by MVP-caliber Matt Ryan. Packers ranked at #8 / 4 and were rising at W17. For most of his coach career (‘94 W&M), Falcons Dan Quinn has been a defensive specialist but that skill hasn’t been apparent in Atlanta with poor 2016 team ranks (#25 / 27). Lucky for the hosts, Packers didn’t fare much better on D-side (#22 / 21), a group that nearly served up Cheese-Melt II (See; Seattle 2015) in Dallas divisional game. I like Falcons’ resolve: Behind early to the Seahawks (0-7), roar back with a killer 2Q (19), maintain matriculation and the D bolts it down (2H-10p). Kicker Crosby was cool late for GB (2-50+) but A-Birds Bryant (K) & Bosher (P) are toppers too. Clubs are very comparable, as it should be, except Atlanta’s run game is more est’d, and then they’ll be Benzing, the dome, not the hydrocarbon. Green Bay should’ve gotten hot earlier. Falcons win.

........AFC.Hunt.trophy.A.Kirk.wc.2.4m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steelers (13-5) @ New England (15-2): CBS 6:40 (Hunt Trophy)

Media pounced on New England who lost but one quarter ((2) 10-3) to offensively tepid and defensively cranky Texans (34-16). Only surprise is that Brady’s O-mates failed to pounce on the QB’s crank (Clowney). Not in their job description (ugh)? Tom’s 2 INTs of tipped variety. Pitt had tougher time in KC but like Falcons, showed resolve. Must go back to ‘05 for Pittsburgh’s last AFCC visit to Foxborough, a 41-27 loss. Cowher’s out and Big Ben wants to forget (3 INT). Comparable clubs, too, on both O-side (NE: #4 / 3 – PIT: #7 / 10) and the stoppage (NE: #8 / 1; PIT: #12 / 9). Steelers #1 horse is clear (Bell) but I wonder why Blount (8c (HOU)), Pats proven gainer, fell to #2 behind Lewis (13c)? Pressure on the QB sets the tone: Pats OL is a wall (24sk (HOU 2)), Pitt’s is a bigger one (21 (KC 1)). Putting on pressure, both were…capable, Steelers made 38 sacks (1 KC), New England 34 (3 HOU). Weather folk see Sunday in Boston metro as 42°, clouds and no flakes, not from above, anyway (See; Mike). If not the AP-MVP, Tom should have shot at the Super variety. Patriots win.

Record: 85 – 93 – 3

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: D.Quinn, wc.cca, 2.3.15; G.Halas, 1922, wc, therakishfellow; M.Tomlin, wc, M.Rooney, 9.16.07; cherries-ripe, wc, 6.24.07, Chirak; AFCC-Hunt-trophy, wc, A.Kirk;
Posted: 1.17.17 @ 1:46pmm EST; Copyright © 2017

Filed under: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers

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