By Michael K. Reynolds
Say what you want about this year’s edition of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but fans have much to be grateful for as we head toward Thanksgiving. Hope is still alive and the games still matter.
Last week’s thrilling victory over the Detroit Lions essentially bought Steelers fans at least two more weeks of playoff action. Lose to the Cleveland Browns this weekend and it’s probably over, but the fat lady won’t be entirely ready to sing.
But a win over the Browns will make for one of the most enjoyable Thanksgiving feasts for Steelers fans in decades. A Pittsburgh and Baltimore match-up with just about everything on the line.
For those of us watching on the West Coast a 5:30 p.m. game time will provide the perfect complement to a day of stuffing our gourd with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Which makes this Browns game all the more essential. Heck…most of our Thanksgiving 2013 pleasure is up for grabs this weekend.
Unfortunately, this confrontation Sunday is one already providing for indigestion. Cleveland comes into this game with their backs up against the wall as well and they are touting this as their most important game in a decade. Yes…more a testament to their sad history of recent, but nonetheless an indication of what a maelstrom the Steelers are facing.
The storylines are many.
Will Steelers fans invade the stadium in full force? Or will the Dog Pound be in full bark? Jarvis Jones struggling to put a dent into Joe Thomas. Antonio Brown trying to continue his All-Pro worthy season against Joe Haden. Ben Roethlisberger attempting to dominate again in Ohio. The Steelers Offense trying to establish the run against Cleveland’s #4 ranked defense.
Yes. Two 4-6 teams and it’s…a full-blown playoff atmosphere. Two seasons on the line. Which brings us back to a spirit of Thanksgiving for Steelers fans.
No. Regardless if the Steelers somehow miraculously win out this season and stumble and bumble into the post-season, this squad will never be confused with the truly talented teams of Pittsburgh past.
But is it possible…just possible, that we may be enjoying the longest playoffs in Steelers history.