This is a rovery (phonetic spelling of an Asian imitation) week for some FOOTBALL!! WHOO!! First off...Illinois. Second off...Auburn vs. Georgia. Third off...ARMAGEDDON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Illinois sucks. I hate them. I hate their uniforms (always the first thing that determines whether or not I hate a team/player. If their unis suck, they suck. Which is why I just cannot root for any Carolina Panther or Minnesota Twin) and I hate their coach. I hate their stadium (thank God we ain't playin' there). I hate their state. I just hate them. I like Mendenhall tho, that kid will be a beast. BUT ENOUGH COMPLIMENTS.
Illinois always seems to be a thorn in the Buckeye's dick. Why not a thorn in the side? Because that's just annoying. A thorn in the dick, however, is a serious SERIOUS issue. Somehow, usually when the Bucks play in Champagne (is that how it's spelled? I know that's how you spell the wine, but I'm not sure about the city. I'm actually positive the city is spelled differently, but you know what? I don't give a fuck. The only thing I give a fuck about is using parentheses as an excuse to go on an ADD-addled side rant.), the Illini give a shit about football and come to play. Fuck them. Fuck Juice Williams. Fuck Ron Zook. Not this week child-bangers.
Next comes an SEC game. The only reason I'm going to watch this is because I'm going be stoned from earlier and it'll be too early to go out. I don't care about either team. I don't really like Auburn all that much and I like Georgia's stadium (the hedges are cool) but the team doesn't do it for me (it's the shitty dog bone good play stickers and odd shade of red, oh, and Matt Stafford, that kid is a douche)...still it's good football and when you're eating 3 dozen wings because you were too stoned to remember to eat...it's a great way to spend a couple hours.
Then comes the Steelers. There will be no hate filled diatribe today. Only paying my respects. The Steelers have positively owned us since 1999. If Monday Night Football was any indication they're playing some good football. OK, I'm going to compliment them...they fucking beat the living shit out of the Ravens. Not just beat up, or dominated, literally Steve McNair's shit was strewn all over Heinz Field. That was vicious. I haven't seen a game with that many big hits in a long ass time, maybe even ever. That was a step above a snuff film. Hey, I hate 'em, but that was awesome to watch.
You know, since the Cincy game happened earlier, I have gone into every game with the expectation to win. Yes, even the Pats game (which we could have if we scored that opening TD, oh well...). This time...my expectations are tempered. Can we keep the run going? Can we continue to play great offensive football? Will our defense show up? The Ravens are a tough team and they got the wood laid to them, can we withstand something similar? I mean the Steelers just looked so much BIGGER than the Ravens. It just seemed like a mismatch. The Steelers D-line was fucking awesome, unreal...They essentially copied the Browns beatdown in Week 1. I just don't know...
Listen, I'm predicting a Browns win. I expect a good, competitive game. Yea, Pittsburgh has a great front 7 on defense. James Harrison looked like the greatest defensive player of all time on Monday. Roethlisberger looked like the second coming of John Elway. Willie Parker looked like shit (THANKS WILLIE!! GLAD I DRAFTED YOU IN THE FIRST ROUND OF MY FANTASY DRAFT!! Fucking asshole.) However, there are a few things that I just can't overlook that bodes extremely well for the Browns. It's a short week coming off a physical game where emotions were running high thanks to the 75th anniversary thing. There WILL be a letdown, but of what degree? There is no way they can replicate that PERFECT performance. And it was perfect. I just don't see how they can do it on a short week.
Second, if the Browns come out and play uninspired bullshit football like they did in the first game, then Romeo must go. I'm not really excited about him having some job security, but if they slip up and lose focus, then shit will really hit the fan. I just don't see that happening though. Braylon and Lt. Winslow just have too much pride to let some bullshit like that happen. Derek Anderson is NOT Charlie Frye. The offensive line has actually played their own positions now and knows what to expect.
Third, all this talk about the Pittsburgh defense is a little misleading. They have an incredible pass rush, granted, but haven't faced a passable offensive line yet. They are 3rd in DVOA for pass defense, yet have faced some "unstoppable" passers like JP Losman/Trent Edwards, Alex Smith, Chad Pennington, McNair/Boller...My point is, their corners and safeties are junk. Yes, even Polamalu (hey Roy Williams is calling from Dallas, he wanted to offer you some coverage lessons). This team is not good defending the deep pass, which is kinda funny seeing as the Browns are pretty fucking awesome at the deep pass. They're also 23 in DVOA against TE's. Last time I checked Lt. Winslow was an above average TE. They can be passed against.
In my eyes, this game boils down to two things...pass rush and pass protection. If the Browns offensive line can keep the dogs at bay, there is no doubt the Browns will score points. The other thing is a little more hard to predict. Peek and Wimbley are phenominal talents and the Steelers' tackles are pretty ordinary (and that's cutting them some slack). These two HAVE to win their individual battles otherwise Fat Ben will just chill back there all day and throw darts.
We have to match the Steelers' toughness. If that LITTLE BITCH Hines Ward tries to pull some of that shit like he did Monday, next time Brodney or Sean Jones sees him, they better fucking give him some of his bullshit right back. The Ravens had their shit kicked in, the Browns can't let this happen.
I haven't been this nervous for a football game since last year's Michigan beatdown (a quick aside: the fact I wasn't nervous about the NC game should have let me know that I was in for a long night). I have no expectations for Sunday, I know what the Browns need to do to win, but I'm not sure if they'll do it. This is a huge stepping stone for the team. Win Sunday, they're legitimate playoff contenders. Lose, then the following week against the Ravens is almost a must win. Let's face it, the Browns haven't exactly been tested by the toughest competition. Granted the Seahawks are a talented, but poorly coached, team, but it's pretty easy to say that the Ravens and Bengals are not nearly as good as prognosticators said they'd be. Dolphins and Rams? 0-8 pretty much says it all.
Last week against Seattle was crucial. It proved that the Browns can stick around in a game, comeback from a deficit, impose their offensive will against a very good defense and protect against a phenominal pass rush. It showed that, when backed against a wall, our defense can rise to the occasion. The Browns are calm and collected. They are confident. They are talented. Can they win? Absolutely. Do I expect them to? I'd be lying if I said I expected them to lose, and that's all I'm going to say on that.
Yea, I predicted them to win in my weekly picks. Yea I was full of bravado and marijuana. Yea I might just be a delusional stoner who's active mind takes him in multiple directions and may, or may not, be a sign of mental issues. As awesome of a beatdown as Monday night was for the Steelers, they aren't going against an aging team with a liability at QB. They're going against a team that's fucking pissed for being embarassed at home, a team that is sick and tired of being called losers. They're going to face a team that now can expect to win games and isn't going to pack it in if they get shoved around.
The Steelers will try and knock you down until you give up. If you give up, you're done. If you get back up and look those fuckers in the eye and hit them back, they fold like cheap suits. The Steelers are classic bullies in the sense that they love to hit you, but they don't like to get a taste of their own shit. Ya feel me?
So much for saying there won't be a hate filled speech. Yea, I rambled on for a long ass time, but it was necessary. This isn't an ordinary week for Browns fans. This is what we've been waiting for since 1999. We have returned to relevance like a comet. We aren't flash in the pans like the 2006 Jets who had narrow wins against awful teams that didn't really show any type of football talent. The Browns are a team that has all the building blocks in place. A team with youth AND incredible athleticism that can be a force for years. This is the first meaningful game that this group will have played in their careers and if they go out and bust ass like they have been all year, they'll fucking reap the glory and bathe in the tears of ignorant writers nationwide.