And now your host, Alex Trebek.

Alex: Welcome contestants.

All Three: Hello, Alex.

"> And now your host, Alex Trebek.

Alex: Welcome contestants.

All Three: Hello, Alex.


Wednesday Apple Pie

<b><I>This is "PLAYOFFS IN JEOPARDY!" -- Our contestants today - He's a family man with a big jaw: Bill Cowher. To his left, rich in Irish heritage and rich in the wallet: Dan Rooney. And finally, one-time insurance salesman: Tommy Maddox.<p> And now your host, Alex Trebek.</b></I><p> <b><I>Alex:</b></I> Welcome contestants.<p> <b>All Three:</b> Hello, Alex.<p>

Alex: Let's get to the categories. Starting off with, "Scenarios", then "Football 101", "Famous Numbers", "Hold Onto Your Wallet", "American Presidents", and finally "Pick Your Poison". Bill, you are the returning champ so you start.

Bill: I'll take "American Presidents" for $200.

Alex: Your clue: Jimmy Carter, but not George W. Bush.

Bill: Who was the President of the US when the Pittsburgh Steelers last won a Super Bowl and who won't be the President when the Steelers win again.

Alex: Correct. Choose the category.

Bill: Scenarios for $800.

Alex: "The Cleveland Browns would need to lose 2 out of 3".

Tommy: What is the playoff scenario should Pittsburgh lose to Carolina next week.

Alex: Correct, although you assume the Steelers would lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tommy: I think that's a given Alex.

Alex: Yes, and that's why your scenario is correct. You grab control. Go ahead.

Tommy: "Famous Numbers" for $400.

Alex: The answer is: "6 6 6"

Bill: What are the number of Plaxico Burress drops, sacks allowed, and points scored last week against Houston.

Alex: Correct, I also would have accepted the "Sign of Satan". Bill, you are in second place with $600, pick again.

Bill: "Pick Your Poison" for $200.

Alex: The Pittsburgh Steelers used these to ensure a convincing loss to the Houston Texans while only allowing 46 yards of total offense.

Dan: Over-sized egos.

Alex: No.

Bill: Poor Execution.

Alex: No.

Tommy: Penalties.

Alex: No. The answer was ""What are Turnovers, Penalties, Poor Execution, and Over-sized Egos". Bill, your choice again.

Bill: "Famous Numbers" for $1000.

Alex: It's the Daily Double. How much would you like to risk, Bill?

Bill: My nickname around town is The Turtle. So, I'll surprise no one by risking $1.

Alex: Okay, here is your clue: "27-38".

Bill: What is the combined record of teams the Steelers have beaten.

Alex: Correct. We'll take a break. Bill is in the lead with $1600, Tommy is second with $800, and Dan still can't get a break at $0.

Apple Six-Pack Review

  1. Tennessee 27 Indianapolis 17 – The Titans take sole possession of first place in the AFC South. I just can't get this Titan team. Some weeks they look they're back to their 1999 form, then the next week they lose to Dallas. The Colts can do everyone on Earth a big favor by beating Cleveland next week.
  2. Tampa Bay 34 Atlanta 10 – Michael Vick's speedy feet landed quicker in his mouth than into the end zone. A Bucs vs. Eagles rematch would be an incredible way to end NFC play. A Bucs vs. Raiders Super Bowl would be a great ending to this season.
  3. NY Giants 27 Washington 21 – The Giants stay alive. Amazingly. But don't hold your breath Giants fans. The season ends next week.
  4. NY Jets 19 Denver 13 – This one surprised me only because Denver's playoffs hopes may have run out. They not only are two games back in the division, but they also lose tiebreakers with Miami, NY Jets, and Indianapolis. They also have the worst conference record (4-6) out of all of the playoff-caliber teams in the AFC.
  5. Oakland 27 San Diego 7 – The Raiders lay claim to the best team in the AFC with a thrashing of the Chargers. Remember when we all thought the Raiders' final chance to win the Super Bowl froze last year in Foxboro? Well, looks like the Raiders may have that opportunity this year as they have the inside track for No. 1 seed in the AFC. A win next week over Miami can all but officially shore up home field advantage.
  6. New England 27 Buffalo 17– The Patriots win their 4th out 5 and now have the ability to win the division by winning out. This doesn't mean they have the ability to go all the way, I still think that the Raiders and Dolphins are better teams, but as we've learned, the Patriots tend to win when they aren't the best team on paper.

Power Core Rankings Week 14

  1. Philadelphia Swatted away the Seahawks. Just biding time till the playoffs.
  2. Oakland –Remember when they lost 4 in a row? Me neither.
  3. Green Bay Should beat San Francisco this weekend to grab control of the No. 3 seed.
  4. Tampa Bay – They sure shut Vick up quick. Hey I rhymed.
  5. New England – They win and still get Miami at home. Oh things are good in Beantown.
  6. San Francisco – Another good team wins a sloppy game, although Garrison Hearst had a career day in touchdowns.
  7. Miami – Big game hosting Oakland. Too bad they'll probably travel to the "Black Hole" in January.
  8. New Orleans Two blocked punts and a whole lot of defense. That was the game last week.
  9. NY Jets – They may just inch their way in.
  10. Tennessee – "Good" Steve McNair showed up last week. I guess this week is "Bad" Steve McNair's turn.
  11. Kansas City They'd beat all of the AFC North and most of the NFC at this point.
  12. San Diego – If the playoffs ended today, they'd be out. How quickly things turn in the West.

Missed Prime Opportunity (MPO) Score

Pittsburgh 24 Houston 0

An MPO is when a team fails to score while in scoring range or doesn't take advantage of major swings in momentum (i.e. major penalties/turnovers/settling for field goals in successive series/inability to seal a game with first downs). These are killers because a team only gets so many opportunities.

An MPO Score is like golf: It's best to score low. When a team score's low, it usually wins the game. It's remarkable how accurate it can be.

Pittsburgh's 2002 - 03 Regular Season MPO record: 6 – 6 – 1

Week 14 Mini - Preview: Pittsburgh vs. Carolina

What looked like another hiccup in the schedule now becomes a must-win situation. These same Carolina Panthers went into Cleveland and shocked the Browns. Will it happen again?

5 Keys to the Game

  1. Mentally Tough: It's all about overcoming humiliation for the Steelers.
  2. No Shots To The Foot: The Steelers seem intent on making each week much harder than it should.
  3. Make a RB decision: If Bettis can't do it consistently there is no need to hold Amos back.
  4. Red Zone Efficiency: And I thought Kordell was the problem.
  5. No Defensive Let-Downs: The defense played incredible last week. But Houston's offense was the worst pro football has seen in 10 years.

Outlook: I like the Steelers to eke out the win by 2. Why? Because they have too.

Apple Six-Pack: Week 15

  1. Oakland at Miami: Game of the Week. It's simple; the winner of this game gets a stranglehold on the AFC No. 1 seed. It's also a possible preview of the AFC Championship game.
  2. Green Bay at San Francisco: This game is for the No. 3 seed in the NFC. Not much else to play for - but come on its Green Bay and San Francisco, that should be enough.
  3. New England at Tennessee: Another AFC game with huge playoff implications. Okay, if New England loses this game, they'll fall behind both Indianapolis and San Diego for the final Wild Card spot.
  4. Indianapolis at Cleveland: Okay Browns fans, here is the good news. You don't need to win this week to still win the division. All you have to do is win two out of three. The Steelers need to win two out of three. At this point, all bets are off.
  5. Kansas City at Denver: The Chiefs continue their mad dash to the playoffs by visiting Denver. The Broncos are officially eliminated with a loss. The Chiefs play all three of their division foes in these last three weeks. Amazingly, they could make the playoffs with three straight wins and a little help.
  6. NY Jets at Chicago: And then there are the Jets - the Trump card in all of this. Their tiebreakers over San Diego and Denver are critical. But, they lose the tie-breaker to Cleveland. Oh my head hurts with all of this confusion.

Apple Playoff Watch

Becks (Just Plain In):

AFC Division Leaders (in order of seeding): Oakland, Tennessee, Miami, Pittsburgh
NFC Division Leaders (in order of seeding): Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, San Francisco
AFC Wild Cards: Indianapolis, San Diego
NFC Wild Cards: Atlanta, New Orleans

Yuengling (Could Be In):

AFC: NY Jets, New England, Kansas City, Cleveland
NFC: NY Giants

Coors Light (Probably Won't Be In):

NFC: Washington, St. Louis
AFC: Denver, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Buffalo

Natty Lite (Definitely Not In):

AFC: Houston, Cincinnati
NFC: Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Seattle, Arizona

--The Steel Apple

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