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Old 09-05-2019, 07:04 PM
Airman Doors, USAF is offline
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The Sweet 16 Addition By Subtraction LOL RAIDERS Steelers March to the Super Bowl Thread


So there I was, holding off until opening day, trying to find the appropriate angle for the opening of my annual thread, and as he has so many times before when he was with Pittsburgh and wasn't a CTE-afflicted lunatic who no longer has any control over himself, Antonio Brown came through for me. After all the stuff about Big Ben and Mike Tomlin not having control and deep-freezing his feet and not being able to find a helmet big enough to fit that ego-swelled melon, he is about to be suspended by the Raiders and may lose all of his guaranteed money before even playing a game. This idiocy has not only vindicated my beloved Steelers, but getting a 3rd and a 5th-round draft pick for a guy who couldn't even make it to week one has to go down as one of the Steelers' best trades of all time. Tomlin had no control? He kept this under control for years. Gruden couldn't do it for a month. Ah, it's such a relief that this is now someone else's problem.

Also a relief is that football is back, and this year there are none of the distractions of the last few years for Pittsburgh. You could argue that objectively they are a worse team than they were two years ago without Bell and Brown, but this is a genuine case of addition by subtraction. Conner is a Pro Bowl player, JuJu is a bonafide number one receiver, and in the preseason Washington showed he was much improved from last year. Ben is still Ben, Mason Rudolph is looking like a solid backup and (potential) future starter, the offensive line is still beast, and there's little reason to doubt they'll still put up tons of points. Hopefully Boswell's yips are gone for good. They seem to be, but these things are unpredictable so it will still be a bit of a wild ride for a while.

The real story, though, is the defense. Pittsburgh traded up to get Devin Bush, something they almost never do, and my God, he is everything they hoped for and more. He is a true replacement for Shazier, and with him out there it will make everybody better. Look for career years from Watt and Dupree. The secondary is the best it's been since the glory days of Polamalu. This defense can be as great as it wants to be.

The pundits on aggregate have the Browns and the Steelers duking it out for the division, with the Rats maybe pulling it out and the Bungles pursuing the number one pick. I think they pretty much have it right but they're giving the Rats' run-only offense too much credit. If Jackson throws 25 times a game they'll be 6-10, and if he doesn't the league will figure it out quickly and they'll be 8-8 at best. As for the Browns, they haven't played a meaningful down yet and Cleveland is already all-in on a Super Bowl. As the Iggles proved a few years ago, so-called Dream Teams don't always work out as hoped. Lots of egos to feed, lots of questions to answer, lots of maybes. In the Factory of Sadness, those historically turn into losses, annually at the hands of the winningest QB in the history of the stadium, Big Ben. We'll see, but when in doubt, remember it's Cleveland. If you don't, they'll usually remind you sooner or later.

I'm always excited for the beginning of the season (as the previous 15 of these will attest to), but this year I'm really hyped. It's not exactly a fresh start, but now that the trash has been taken out and the damage has been repaired things are looking up. I'm more optimistic than usual about Pittsburgh's chances, although I can't account for the blown calls that screwed them out of the playoffs last year (blow me, Saints fans, the Steelers missed the playoffs because of two horrible DPI calls against your team, so suck that schadenfreude down deep and hard). Bring on the Patriots. Bring on the Chiefs. Just bring it. My beloved Steelers are ready for you.
 

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