Happy Friday, Pittsburgh Steelers fans and welcome to another November weekend.
The Steelers had there bye last week and now that it’s over the team will play their next two games in a span of 4 days. First up, however, is a road game against the Indianapolis Colts, a very depleted team at this point of the season. After that Sunday afternoon game, four of the Steelers next five contests will be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC and thus they control their own destiny right now. Their Week 15 game against the New England Patriots could ultimately decide the top seed in the AFC.
As usual, I have five questions for you to answer on this Friday night and hopeful several of you will do just that in the comments below. Have a great weekend and we look forward to posting a ton of pre and post game content for you in the next few days.
Peace and love to all of you and go Steelers!
1 – Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison was officially ruled out for Sunday’ game against the Colts on the team’s Friday injury report with a back injury. Do you truly believe that Harrison has a back injury, or do you think this is just an attempt by head coach Mike Tomlin to justify him being inactive Sunday?
2 – With it now being the middle of the season, where do you currently stand with running back Le’Veon Bell and his 2018 status? Should the Steelers franchise tag him at $14.54 million with the possibility of him once again not signing a long-term contract, or should they allow him to walk via free agency?
3 – Would you like to see Vance McDonald in personnel groupings that only include one tight end, or are you fine with Jesse James remaining in that role?
4 – Which Steelers defensive player will have the most sacks during the team’s final eight regular season games and how many will that be?
5 – How many touchdowns and interceptions will quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throw during the second half of the regular season?
Question 1 – As a group, we have widely varied expectations of Ben Roethlisberger in the second half of the season. Our predictions for Ben were throwing anywhere from 8 to 20 TD’s & 0 to 18 INTs in the second half of the season. The mean response was 14 TDs and 5 INTs which would give Ben season totals of 24 TD’s & 14 INTs if accurate. Perhaps the disparity reflects either confidence in Ben being able to duplicate past success or that he’s washed up. Ben’s previous season high & lows for passing TD’s is 32 twice (2007 & 14) and 17 4x (2004, 05, 08 & 10). Season high & lows for INT’s is 23 in 2006 and 5 in 2010 (only played 12 games). Least INTs in a 16-game season is 9 in 2014. (PS – the Dave’s predicted 15 TD’s & 6 INT’s for Ben on the Terrible Podcast)
Question 2 – The weakest links going into the next eight games had a lot of comments. On offense the biggest concern is the tight end group with 29 mentions. Jesse James was singled out by 13 folks while 15 said it was the entire unit. Big Ben had the second most mentions as an offensive player with 10 votes. On defense the biggest concerns were with the secondary (41 mentions). Three defensive players were singled out as the weakest link: Artie Burns (23), Mike Mitchell (16) & Bud Dupree (12). (no points)
Question 3 – Overall an optimistic outlook on the Steelers 2nd half record. While the responses ranged from 4-4 to 8-0; the mean response was 6-2. I’d say most of us would be happy if the Steelers ended the regular season at 12-4 … of course there are the outliers.
Question 4 – In a couple days, we will see how Martavis Bryant is incorporated into the offense. We predicted that he will catch from 0 to 9 touchdowns (rushing TD’s don’t count). The mean response is 4. I’d love for Martavis to exceed all our expectations and plunge into double figures.
Question 5 – Marcus Mariota (30 votes) is the quarterback other than Tom ‘cyborg’ Brady who scares us the most on the remaining schedule. He is a starter on a relatively healthy & talented roster. Joe Flacco (11) & Andy Dalton (7) were next based on their familiarity with the Steelers as division foes. Brett Hundley (3), DeShone Kizer (1) & even Tom Savage (1) got mentions. Two folks were scared by none of them. What scares me is that Jacoby Brisset was not mentioned at all. I hope our secondary (we identified them as a weak link) doesn’t let him sneak up on us. For this question there can be multiple winners. Any quarterback credited with a game winning drive or a 4th quarter comeback victory will earn a point. Also, a quarterback that is instrumental in either a victory or a loss that is within the point spread will also get a point. I hope the two guys who said ‘none’ turn out to get the points.
55 folks answered the Friday Night Questions last week, the most so far, this season. There is no change to the leaderboard this week since the questions will not be answered until the end of the regular season. There are 5 points yet to be awarded for Week 9 plus 7 more from Week 1.
Leaderboard after Week 9:
1st Place – Alan Tman with 21 points
2nd Place – Reader783 with 20 points
3rd Place – (tie) Jeff McNeil, Darth Blount 47 & LucasY59 with 18 points
6th Place – (tie) SJT63 & Marcel Chris Chauvet with 17 points
8th Place – (tie) Chris92021 & Josh Cummings, with 16 points
10th Place – (tie) Beaver Falls Hosiery, Matt Manzo, SkoolHouseRoxx, DirtDawg1964 with 15 points
14th Place – Phil Brennenman II with 14.5 points
15th Place – (tie) J., Jaybird, & Johnny Loose with 14 points
18th Place – (tie) Michael Mosgrove & heath miller with 13 points
20th Place – (tie) PaeperCup, RiversTKO & Kevin Schwartz with 12 points