Wednesday Apple Pie

On the First Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: A Huge Missed Opportunity.<p> On the Second Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.<p>

On the Third Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Seven Division Titles, Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Eight Spits a Sentence, Seven Division Titles, Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, And a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Nine Razzle-Dazzles, Eight Spits a Sentence, Seven Division Titles, Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, and a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Ten Wins This Season, Nine Razzle-Dazzles, Eight Spits a Sentence, Seven Division Titles, Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, and a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Eleven Seasons Coaching, Ten Wins This Season, Nine Razzle-Dazzles, Eight Spits a Sentence, Seven Division Titles, Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, and a Huge Missed Opportunity.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas Bill Cowher gave to me: Twelve Play Drives, Eleven Seasons Coaching, Ten Wins This Season, Nine Razzle-Dazzles, Eight Spits a Sentence, Seven Division Titles, Six Nickel Backs, Five Field Goals, Four Tight Ends, Three Kordell Picks, Two Porter Sacks, and a Huge Missed Opportunity.

Merry Christmas Steeler Fans!

Apple Six-Pack Review

  1. Cleveland 14 Baltimore 13 – I don't think anyone in America thought the Browns would march down the field against the Ravens in the final 2 minutes. But, the Browns did just that and won by scoring on their first and last drives of the game. Chris McAlister continues to remind me why I never want to see him in a Steeler uniform. His personal foul on Jamel White gave the Browns full momentum. William Green made it count two plays later. Next week, everyone in Pittsburgh roots for Atlanta.
  2. Oakland 28 Denver 16 – Brian Griese gets hurt and the Raiders open up a 21-point lead midway through the second quarter. The Broncos refused to go away and put together a futile second-half rally. With the win and the Chargers loss, the Raiders win the division and currently hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
  3. NY Jets 30 New England 17 – The Patriots' offence is falling into a rut where they either aren't having any success stretching the field or don't have the will to do it. They attempted to do it once in the game, in the 4th quarter, and Tom Brady was intercepted when he threw into double coverage. Brady, as the ESPN announcers pointed out, looked uninspired in the game, especially the first half. I think the magic is gone.
  4. NY Giants 44 Indianapolis 17 – True story. I was bouncing between this game and the Buffalo-Green Bay contest. Every time I clicked back to the RCA Dome, someone was scoring a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Colts, more often than not it was New York. The Giants proved what everyone in the NFL knows already - the Colts are too small on the defensive line.
  5. Kansas City 24 San Diego 22 – For the second year in a row, the Chargers crumble down the stretch. It could be part growing pains and part coaching. Personally, they need a top wideout to compliment LaDanian Tomlinson. And while we're on the subject, I hate when commentators call Tomlinson by the nickname "LT". There was only one "LT" and he didn't run the football; that "LT" was too busy knocking Joe Montana out of the 1986-87 NFC Divisional Playoffs.
  6. Tennessee 28 Jacksonville 10 – I thought the Jags would have a chance. I really did. I thought the Titans would come off of their short week a little too confident and a little too aggravated by the Pro Bowl snubs. But, Mark Brunell and Fred Taylor were both knocked out early and the Titan defense played like they all belonged in the Pro Bowl.

Power Core Rankings Week 17

  1. Philadelphia Big game against the NY Giants. A win gives them the No. 1 seed. A loss might move them all the way down to No. 3.
  2. Green Bay – Outlasted a feisty Buffalo team at Lambeau.
  3. Oakland – Almost let the Broncos sneak up on them. Almost.
  4. Tennessee – That chip on their shoulder is as loud as a Dorito crunch.
  5. San Francisco The Niners could end up with the No. 3 seed if they're lucky.
  6. Pittsburgh – Monday night showed why the Steelers may still be the best in the AFC.
  7. Tampa Bay Someone forgot to tell Warren Sapp when the game started.
  8. Miami If they have to play on the road in the playoffs, it will be goodnight Gracie.
  9. Atlanta – Rebounding from the hiccup at home two weeks ago.
  10. NY Jets – And Gang Green just may win the East.
  11. Kansas City – Big jump because the Chiefs have a great shot at the playoffs.
  12. NY Giants – Big win in Indy puts them on the list.

Missed Prime Opportunity (MPO) Score

Pittsburgh 3 Tampa Bay 5

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: 8 – 6 – 1

Week 17 Mini - Preview: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore

The division is secured and by Sunday the Steelers will know if they have a chance for the bye.

5 Keys to the Game

  1. Control the Line of Scrimmage: The offensive line played their best game of the season on Monday.
  2. Bettis Between the Twenties: The Bus needs to bang inside the 20's with efficiency.
  3. Don't Lose the Momentum: It will be important for the Steelers to keep their momentum going into the playoffs.
  4. More Blitz, Blitz, Blitz: The Steelers are successful when they blitz. I think it's a simple approach.
  5. Stay Away From Injuries: The Steelers must avoid major injuries. Knock on wood.

Outlook: The Steelers will win going away. Can I take a mulligan on last week's Outlook?

Apple Six-Pack: Week 17

  1. Miami at New England: Game of the Week. This is the game to watch because not only is it for the AFC East title but also it will determine the fate of many of the teams playing at 4 p.m. Denver, NY Jets, Indianapolis, and San Diego will all be watching this game.
  2. Philadelphia at NY Giants: The fate of the Giants will also determine the fate of both Atlanta and New Orleans. The Giants face off on Saturday, so by 5 p.m., the Falcons and Saints will both know whether they are in must-win situations.
  3. Kansas City at Oakland: Oakland has already clinched the division. The Chiefs can end the Raven's season with a win. And it gets even more confusing, so I'll just end it here.
  4. Green Bay at NY Jets: If the Patriots win and the Jets beat Green Bay, Gang Green is the AFC East champ. If the Dolphins win, the Jets beat Green Bay, and the Chiefs and Browns both lose, the Jets are in as a wild card. This is giving me a headache.
  5. Atlanta at Cleveland: If the Giants lose, the Falcons are in. If the Falcons win, they're in. If Cleveland wins, and the Chiefs lose, the Browns are in as a Wild-Card. Amazingly, the Browns have the easiest road to the playoffs among wild card teams.
  6. Arizona at Denver: A Bronco win is likely. This win with a Patriots win, a Chargers loss, a Jets loss, and a Browns loss, puts the Broncos in. But if any of those teams win, the Broncos are out.
Other Wacky Playoff Scenarios:

  • Baltimore is in with: Losses by the Browns, Broncos, Jets, Patriots, Chiefs, and Chargers.
  • Indianapolis is in with: A win or losses by the Patriots and Chiefs.
  • Atlanta is in with: A win or a loss by the Giants or a loss by the Saints.
  • New Orleans is in with: A win and a loss by the Giants or Falcons.
  • NY Giants is in with: A win or a loss by the Saints.
  • Kansas City is in with: A win and losses by the Broncos and Jets.
  • San Diego is in with: A win and losses by the Chiefs, Jets, Patriots, and Browns.

Apple Playoff Watch

Becks (Just Plain In):

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

Yuengling (Could Be In):

AFC: New England, NY Jets
NFC: New Orleans

Coors Light (Probably Won't Be In):

AFC: Denver, San Diego, Kansas City
NFC:

Natty Lite (Definitely Not In):

AFC: Houston, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Baltimore
NFC: Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Seattle, Arizona, St. Louis, Washington

--The Steel Apple


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